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If your dog is barking excessively and you want to stop it...

DON'T hit or yell at the dog; dogs don't understand this type of message.

DON'T pet and talk soothingly to the dog.  Dogs may think you are praising the barking.

DON'T ignore the barking. See if you can't remove eye contact with other dogs. 

DO get the dog's attention by giving Instructions and treats. 

DO take the dog outside.  Interrupt the barking, then give quick praise and attention when the dog is NOT barking.

Use the suggestions below to stop the barking; then give praise and attention when the dog is being quiet.

DO: (Try any or all of these suggestions...)

  1. Try to determine if the dog is barking at a specific target - person, dog, cat, etc. If so, try to move the dog to where it cannot see the object of the barking.
  2. If it is a little dog, pick it up and turn its head away from the object of the barking. It is okay to gently hold the mouth closed. The pet can breathe through its nose. Praise ANY quiet.
  3. Give the receptionist your name, and consider going for a short walk. Change the stimulus and environment for your dog. Also, walking is a stress reliever for dogs.
  4. Some people carry a water mister, and squirt the dog when it barks to divert attention just long enough to stop the barking, then immediately begin stroking and praising the quiet behavior.|
  5. If responsive to a collar correction, give a moderate snap on the leash and say, "Quiet". Immediately praise any silence.  Give the dog a new Instruction and praise.
  6. Most importantly, when the dog does stop barking, give praise and positive attention.  If your dog likes food, bring treats with you to the visit for rewards.

If this is a recurring problem, talk to the veterinarian about a mild sedative for next visit. It will be much less stressful for the dog. The vet may be able to give a more thorough exam, plus you can be more relaxed. Do not use a tranquilizer if the dog is showing any signs of illness or aggression.  Use only for vaccine visits or routine physical exams with a healthy pet.

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