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What’s All that Barking About?

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Someone approached me for ideas on things to do to get her two Jack Russell terriers to stop their excessive barking.  Before determining the best course of action, it’s important to determine the root cause of the barking.  Is it lack of exercise, boredom, or looking for attention?

One suggestion I gave her was to be sure her dogs got plenty of exercise, Jack Russells need a LOT of that, failure to provide enough activity can result in behavior problems like excessive barking.

If boredom is the problem, providing some mental challenges for the dogs, like puzzle toys or a treat-filled toys like a Kong may help.  Another game to keep him busy is hide and seek, try hiding bits of his food or treats and let him find them.

If you determine the dog is barking for your attention, don’t tell him to be quiet, as he may interpret that as joining in.  Instead, make a noise to distract him.  If he gives you his attention and the barking stops, reward that behavior. If the dog starts barking again, turn away and ignore him.  When he stops, reward him with your attention.

Be sure to reward the silence, not the barking.  Continue this practice, be consistent and he’ll put the pieces together.


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