A POPULAR dog grooming business which featured on a pet makeover show has offered advice for people training new puppies.

With the demand for puppies soaring during the coronavirus pandemic, many people welcomed a new four-legged friend into their homes.

But many novice owners may now find themselves needing extra advice as their puppies grow and develop, particularly with barking.

Bone Idol, who run a training a grooming academy in Hove, said excessive and persistent barking can be “a tough and stressful experience” for dog owners.

Fresh from appearing on BBC One show Pooch Perfect, the expert pooch-pamperers have now turned their attention to offering ideas and methods for dealing with barking.

Understanding Why Dogs Bark

The Argus: Bone Idol dog groomers have offered advice to new owners on dealing with barking puppies

“Before we go any further, let’s get one thing clear, and that is barking is a completely normal behaviour for dogs,” a spokeswoman said.

“They can’t speak, so barking is an essential vocal type of communication both with humans and other dogs.”

Bone Idol say it is “unreasonable” to expect your dog to never bark, but excessive barking could indicate an underlying issue and needs addressing.

The Argus:

Barking can be triggered by various causes and stimuli, including:

  • Territorial and protective barking - if a person or animal comes into what your dog considers as its territory, this may trigger barking.
  • Alarm or fear - a dog may bark at any noise or object that catches their attention or takes them by surprise.
  • Boredom, loneliness and separation anxiety – dogs who are left by themselves for long periods of time will because they are bored, unhappy or anxious about being left alone.
  • Compulsive barking – compulsive barkers often display repetitive movement, such as running round and round in circles or running back and forth
  • Greeting or play bark - a lot of dogs bark when they greet people or other animals. Usually, it’s a "happy" bark, which comes with much tail wagging and possibly jumping up.
  • Attention seeking and over excitement - sometimes dogs get into the habit of barking when they want something and because they are rewarded for doing so, a pattern forms, for example, going outside, getting a treat or playing.


Ask For Help With Persistent Problems

The Argus: Bone Idol dog groomers have offered advice to new owners on dealing with barking puppies

“If your dog’s woofing has got to the point where it’s driving you barking mad, the first thing to do is to have your dog checked over by your vet”, Bone Idol advises.

“This allows you to rule out any biological causes. Especially in the case of the older dogs, excessive barking could be a sign of chronic pain or cognitive decline.”

The groomers also recommend consulting a qualified animal behaviourist.

Redirecting Behaviour

The Argus:

Bone Idol advises dog owners to use simple obedience training to help retrain their dog’s brain to not associate the trigger with a need to bark.

“Barking is a self-rewarding exercise – the more a dog barks, the more they enjoy it and the more they will continue,” they said.

“Redirecting behaviour involves using rewards-based, or positive reinforcement, to teach your dog what ‘good’ behaviour is.

“In order to phase out an unwanted behaviour, you need to redirect before the barking starts.”

Teaching Your Dog To "Speak" – Barking On Command

The Argus:

Bone Idol say another effective way to teaching your dog to be quiet is to teach them to "speak".

Once they can reliably bark on command, teach them to stop barking with a different command such as "quiet".

Reinforce the command with a hand signal (such as putting a finger up to your lips).

Practise the "quiet" calm when the dog is calm and free from distraction so that in time he will learn to stop barking on command.

Bone Idol’s no-nos and Things To Avoid

•Never scold your dog - for a dog, that’s still considered to be attention. The key is to ignore the undesirable barking until they stop.

• Do not shout at a barking dog - it is likely stimulate him to bark more because they think you’re joining in,

• Do not use aversive techniques - there are various kinds of "anti bark" collars but these devices are ineffective and may also lead to other behavioural issues such as aggression.

• Never use a muzzle or other forms of restraint to keep your dog quiet.