Loud dog? What to do

As a “new” dog owner for the first time since my childhood, I can’t claim to know a lot about training dogs. Last year when I acquired my dog Lila, I did spend hours in the library scouring the shelves for any viable information to assist my parenthood. As it turns out, I was the recipient of a 3-year-old dog with acute separation anxiety. Every time we closed a door in her face, she erupted with harsh, incessant barking, and would not stop for hours.

Her former owner’s solution had involved a “shock collar”, which administers a jolt of electricity every time the dog barks. She bestowed the torture mechanism on us the day we adopted her. Upon inspecting this device, I was unwittingly on the receiving end of its amazing efficacy and now understand why it’s called a shock collar. It’s a horrible instrument, and if you love your dog it should not be on your inventory.

My husband and I are very fortunate to be in the position of taking our dog almost everywhere we go. We spend as much time as possible everyday with her. Dogs are pack animals and in the wild, they are never alone. Every species of canine has established packs. Dogs are not loners. Even a lone wolf is not alone for long. It’s not necessary that you are actively engaging the dog, the point is to be physically together. This includes sleeping, much to the shagrin of many pet owners. Lila was never allowed to sleep with her former owners, never allowed on the beds. Since coming to our house, she has slept on the foot of our bed every night.

Within a short amount of time (a couple of months), Lila realized that we were around to stay. She gained new confidence and even a spirit of independence. She knows that we are together and will always be together. Simply this assurance of the existence of her “pack” has calmed her. She never barks anymore when we leave her. At no time was it necessary to try to “train” her not to bark. She responded to our attention and love, and settled into the household as a protector and companion, not just a barker.

It is unfortunate that in our scurry-about society, this method is not an option for most people. However, it reaps the highest rewards, and is certainly the best solution for our best friends.

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