It was 5:00 AM and Timmy would not stop barking. Timmy is a Jack Russell Terrier and belongs to my mother-in-law. We were watching him for the weekend and his barking was already driving me crazy.
I rolled over in bed and informed my wife that Timmy would be learning the word “Quiet” today.
Barking is a normal, natural behavior in dogs. Barking becomes a problem when it becomes excessive. You can bring your dog’s barking under control. The easiest way to do this is to teach your dog the word “Quiet.”
If your dog is barking and you start yelling at your dog “Quiet,” “Shut up,” “Stop barking,” all you are doing is giving attention to the barking which can reinforce the behavior.
Training boils down to applying a consequence to what ever word or command you give your dog. The rule of thumb is when you want your dog to do a behavior for you i.e. sit, down, stay etc, you apply a positive consequence. When you want your dog to stop doing a behavior i.e., stealing, begging, jumping or barking your apply a negative consequence.
Let me say that when you decide to apply a negative consequence you have to be careful. Applying positive consequences do not have any side effects. Applying negative consequences do.
Back to the barking. Your dog is doing a behavior that you want to stop so we are going to apply a negative consequence. The easiest negative consequence to apply in this situation is breath spray.
Go down to your local drug store and pick up some binaca breath spray or Listerine breath spray. Now you can pair the word “Quiet” with the negative consequence of the breath spray.
You see, your dog will not like the sound, smell or taste of the breath spray. It is a simple negative consequence that won’t harm your dog. Now when your dog starts to bark you can firmly say the word “Quiet,” and then reach down and spray into your dog’s mouth.
Repeat if your dog starts barking again. It’s important to remember that we want your dog to learn the word “Quiet.” This is done by pairing the word with the spray. “Quiet,” spray, “Quiet,” spray. After a few times your dog will get the picture.
Once your dog learns the word “Quiet” and you don’t need to use the spray, your dog has now learned the word. Once this happens you can start to reward your dog for not barking. So if you say “Quiet” and don’t need to use the spray, you can reward your dog by saying “Good Quiet,” and give your dog a reward.
Needles to say, little Timmy learned the word “Quiet” and we had a much more enjoyable visit with him.