Using Counterconditioning to Stop a Chow Mix From Barking at Sounds

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 18, 2019

For this West LA dog training session, we use counterconditioning to stop 6 year-old Chow Retriever mix Mishka from barking at sounds outside his door.

Knowing that Mishka has a habit of barking at people he doesn’t know when they first come to visit, I called ahead and asked the guardians to meet me outside so I could use a dog behavior expert trick to ensure he had a good experience and formed a positive association with me.

When one of the guardian’s said she was so pleased to see Mishka cuddling up to me minutes after coming inside, I knew this was the right approach for them to repeat with other people. I outline how to do this in the roadmap to success video at the end of this session write up.

Another dog behavior problem the guardians wanted me to help with was Mishka’s habit of barking at sounds outside of his guardian’s apartment’s front door. Stopping dog barking is best accomplished by creating a situation where you can control the elements and help the dog practice the behavior you want. In this case, stopping the dog from barking at sounds. I explain how to use counterconditioning to stop a dog from barking in the free dog behavior training video below.

In a perfect world, we would have had someone else outside the apartment making sounds as Mishka was animated due to his leaving and the sounds outside the door. When fixing a dog behavior problem, you want to address one issue at a time.

But the guardians should be able to stop the dog barking by enlisting the help of a friend who can make the sounds outside, provided they can find the right distance. Close enough so Mishka can hear it, but far enough away so that he can focus on the positive reinforcer (treat) instead. Exercising the dog ahead of time can help quite a bit with this counterconditioning secret to stopping dog barking.

I also showed the guardians how to teach Mishka to stay and shared other dog behavior tips on stopping separation anxiety. You can watch a video of this approach I did with the client I worked with after Mishka by clicking this link.

There were some other dog behavior issues we covered. I summarize the highlights we covered in this West LA in home dog training session in a roadmap to success video you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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