You love your dog, you really do. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be annoying at times. Like when you want to enjoy a relaxing time on your comfy couch.
And like a constantly crying child, a constantly barking dog can try the patience of a saint. But, unlike a child, a dog may be harder to quiet.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Me While Sitting On My Couch?
Frst, you must understand that barking is a natural function in the canine world. It’s the way they speak to one another, and to us.
A major problem occurs when we simply don’t understand the language. A child, no matter how young, can usually express their meaning in a few simple words. This is not the case with our canine companions.
So, in order to understand how to deal with the problem, we must first investigate the underlying causes of the behavior.
A dog will bark when it is behaving in a territorial or possessive manner. This is usually a shorter, higher pitched bark. Something may have alarmed him, which will lead to a defensive series of loud, fast barks.
If your pet is simply bored or anxious, he may emit a series of monotonous and repetitive barks.
A dog will also bark when he wants to greet someone, or is trying to engage them in play. He may even do it to attract your attention, or to express separation anxiety.
A major part of dealing with the problem is finding what is causing it in the first place. But what could possibly be causing your friend to carry on barking when you sit on the couch.
The answer may be as simple as the fact that your pup thinks you are encroaching on his territory. He could be fighting a territorial war that you didn’t even know existed.
Perhaps you have not made it clear enough that you are top dog in this house, and that everything in the house is yours, not his.
You may have no problem with his using the couch occasionally, but he must be made to understand that his canine protests of ownership will not be tolerated.
This may be more difficult if he is normally allowed access to that particular piece of furniture, but he must understand that this is only with your consent. You have made the decision to share with him, and you expect the same courtesy from him.
But, perhaps it’s not the couch itself setting him off, but merely the fact that you are relaxing instead of playing with him.
He may simply be bored, and requiring a bit of attention from his beloved master. Or, as unlikely as it may seem, he may believe the couch poses some kind of threat, and he is being protective of you.
Maybe he’s afraid of the couch for some unknown reason, and is trying to warn you of the imagined threat.
Odds are he simply wants you to play rather than relax, and barking is his primary way of getting your attention.
But, no matter what the cause, before this behavior gets out of control, requiring the purchase of multiple pairs of ear plugs and the fielding of several noise complaint calls from the neighbors, you will find it necessary to deal with the problem.
And, unless you plan on becoming fluent in canine dialect, you must learn to understand his doggy signals and how to read and control them.
How To Stop It?
So, how do you stop your dog from barking inappropriately?
The methods are as complicated as the reasons behind the behavior in the first place. But, no matter what the reason for the barking, there are a few things that are common to all de-barking training.
First, never yell. To your dog, this merely sounds like more barking. He will assume you are interacting with him vocally, and will continue the conversation with more and more barking.
Second, remain positive and upbeat. Your dog will pick up on your mood and act accordingly.
And lastly, BE CONSISTENT. Not only you, but every human in the family must follow the same training method.
You can’t let your pet get away with inappropriate barking on one occasion, but hold him to a higher standard the next time. This will only confuse him and undermine any progress you have made.
Now, it’s time to address his motivation.
If your dog tends to make a fuss about those he sees as intruders, such as passersby on the street, simply remove him from an area where he has a view of that street. Or simply close your curtains.
If the behavior occurs when he is in the yard, bring him inside. And remember, your dog should never be left unattended all day in the yard.
This can add to his insecurity and territoriality, and bring on excessive barking, as well as neighborhood complaints.
If your dog is one of those needy creatures who constantly barks, simply for attention you must be careful not to reward him with that attention. Let him bark. He will eventually stop, if only to catch his breath. Once he does, immediately reward him with a cuddle and perhaps a treat.
If you give him the negative attention of speaking harshly to him, it will simply reinforce the notion that his barking has been successful.
But for this method to be successful, you must have patience. Remember, you must ignore your pet until the barking stops. And that could be quite some time.
But if you lose your patience and try to shush him after a period of time, odds are the next time he will bark even longer, You simply must show who has more willpower and stamina – and that must always be you to complete a successful training session.
If your dog has a problem with barking at other dogs, you should embark on a training regimen that involves introducing him to other pets.
Invite a friend to bring their dog over. As soon as the intruding animal comes into view, start giving your dog treats and positive attention. Continue this until the other pet leaves.
This may take a number of introductions and visits, but eventually your dog will pay more attention to you and the treats and cease barking at the intruder.
It may seem counterintuitive to train your dog not to bark by teaching him to bark on command, but it works. Teach your pet to bark on command by using the word SPEAK, and rewarding him with a treat when he complies.
Once he has mastered this behavior, teach him the QUIET command. As your dog is barking, hold a treat in front of his nose and stay QUIET. Once he stops barking to sniff the treat, give it to him and lavish some attention on him for complying.
Practice using the new command in increasingly trying situations until it becomes natural for your pet to comply.
This command can be used in virtually all situations.
Your pet barks at the doorbell? QUIET! Does he bark when you sit down? QUIET! This one learned behavior can solve a multitude of problems.
Another way to deal with barking, especially in a well trained pet, is to distract him with another incompatible behavior that he has been trained for.
Barking too much? Toss him a treat and tell him to go lie down. A well trained animal will comply.
Another basic thing to remember is that a tired dog is a quiet dog. Make sure your pet gets enough exercise. And never allow the unwanted behavior to go on for an extended period of time, as it will only become ingrained and more difficult, or impossible, to rectify.
Keep in mind that there are some physical reasons why your dog barks too much. He could be in pain from anything from a bee sting to arthritis.
He could be suffering from a form of canine senility. If the behavior develops suddenly and your pet has proven resistant to training, a visit to the vet may be in order.
And there are other ways to train your pet not to bark. Some people will employ an anti-bark collar, which delivers a small jolt to your pet. Some will employ a muzzle.
So, I’ve given you some tips on how to stop your pet’s inappropriate barking. Read up a bit on the techniques covered, and I am sure that your house will return to the peaceful refuge you, and your pup, long for.