Pit Bull Owner's Guide to Barking

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Nobody likes a barking dog, but barking is often used as a method of communication – between your dog and other dogs, your dog and you, as well as with anything else they may encounter. However, barking can become a problem when it’s constant and disruptive.

Responsible dog owners must ensure that their pitbulls are good citizens, so problem barking should be curbed as early as possible.

By taking an early measured response you can stop this problem before it gets out of hand. But first you have to understand why your dog is barking, so you can find the right solution.

What are the Causes of Barking?

If your dog has a tendency to bark when you are not home, then they may be barking due to boredom. Dogs can also bark when they are afraid of something, such as when they hear strange noises.

Finally, dogs also bark when they are frustrated – which can occur when they cannot reach something or someone. By spending time understanding why your dog barks you can then take the appropriate action to correct the behavior. Look at various factors – such as the time of day, where your dog is when it occurs, and what it barks at.

Correcting Fear Barking

Generally, if your pitbull is barking out of fear you’ll have a good idea what the cause is – sirens, bicycles, people in hats, etc. The best way to correct fear-barking is to gently introduce the thing that causes a fear-barking reaction under controlled circumstances. You may wish to enlist the help of a professional trainer, or follow these steps:

  • Place the person or thing that causes a fear reaction on the far side of a field, far enough away that your dog can see it but is not reacting.
  • As long as your dog is calm, praise him and give him treats.
  • Slowly move your dog closer to the item, but be prepared to step back should your dog show a stress response.

Desensitizing your dog can take time, even weeks. You need to remain patient and controlled. If you try to rush the process you may end up making your dog more fearful. Eventually, your dog will happily be able to be in the same area as the thing it used to bark at without a response.

If the fear-barking is in response to something that rarely occurs, try to distract your dog with a treat and get it to sit. Offer praise for the good behaviour, but do not try to comfort the dog as this will merely reinforce the barking.

Correcting Barking out of Boredom

When the majority of barking occurs while you are gone, then your pitbull is probably barking due to boredom. The trick to solving barking for boredom is to ensure that your dog is not bored.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

Regular daily exercise helps, as does ensuring that your dog has lots to do while you are away. Hide treats and toys around the house, make sure it has things to chew on, and think about employing a dog walker to take your pitbull out for a quick romp in the middle of the day.

Frustration Barking

Dogs bark when they want something that they can’t get. The best way to stop this type of barking is to get rid of whatever causes the frustration, if you are able to.

It can also help if you enrol your pitbull in obedience classes, as this will help give your dog more control over their impulsive reactions. Teach your dog basic commands as this will give them a base to build from.

The Key to Preventing Barking

It is much easier to prevent barking by raising a happy and healthy dog that does not bark regularly, then to try to stop a barking dog. You can ensure that your dog has no reason to bark excessively by keeping it exercised and exposing it too many different types of stimuli.

Your dog should get attention when it is behaving well rather than when it is barking, as this will only serve to reinforce the behavior. While occasional barking is your pit bull’s way of communicating, excessive barking is distracting and disruptive.

Don’t expect an overnight result when you start retraining your dog. Any type of corrective behavioural training takes time, and a whole lot of patience. If you find that you get frustrated, or are not seeing progress after a few weeks, then it is time to hire a professional.

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7 comments

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sherry0917's picture
sherry0917
Fri, 12/31/2010 - 4:52pm

My pit bull insists on jumping up on people not to hurt them but for attention. I try to correct him and he always playfully bites at me cause he knows I am a pushover. And helpful hints

i luv my pitbull's picture
i luv my pitbull
Thu, 03/31/2011 - 7:02am

The knee thing works well. Sometimes turning away and refusing to interact with the dog until it stops jumping helps too. Herman, for some reason, has started jumping up on people again to get attention, so we are starting with the basics again also. Hope this helps.

geesspots's picture
geesspots
Wed, 03/30/2011 - 8:16pm

as for the playfull biting this is something you need to deal with because even playful it can hurt

i read a couple of articles in one of the other threads they suggested that every time you dog mouths you to react as if it really hurt. I know for my self what worked when griffin was a puppy was everytime he would mouth play I would use a trick that i learned about ten years ago it was to grab him around the neck as if you are a mother dog scolding her pup not hard just hard enought to let him know that i disaproved.

 

As for the jumping up when we adopted our dog he would jump on us all the time and it only took about two weeks to break the habit ( most of the time ) it is a s simple as when the dog starts to jump up the knee goes out blocking his path and we would use the command OFF not down as this is a differn"t thing all together we even trained our two daughters to do the same. and there is nothing cuter than watching a 2 year old block and correct a dog.

 

hope these help

i luv my pitbull's picture
i luv my pitbull
Thu, 04/07/2011 - 7:28am

I agree on all points. You obviously have experience with this. When any other dog jumps up on people its just annoying, when a pit jumps up, even just to play, people freak out, so the issue can be a bigger deal with a pit than it is with some other breeds. The play nipping thing is also a big problem. Still working on that one.

RockoParents's picture
RockoParents
Fri, 04/22/2011 - 12:28pm

I have a 3 month old Pit Bull who hates to be away from me or my boyfriend. When we cannot supervise him properly he is either in his kennel (which he doesn't mind especially if he is sleepy) or what he hates is when he is sectioned off in the room. He has room to run around in, fresh water, toys, etc. but he still wants to pull up on the gate (sometimes jumping over it) if not he will whine, which grows to barking. It's like he always wants to be able to come to us whenever he wants.We stay in an apartment and do not want to get in trouble for unnecessay barking when he is just doing it for attention.

Any suggestions?

Rocky21's picture
Rocky21
Sat, 06/04/2011 - 7:48am

pit bulls are very high energy dogs and your dog could be reacting to not having enough attention or exercise throughout the day. I have a 4yr old and a 2 yr old, they also get very frustrated if they are bored. Try taking him for a walk or play fetch before putting him in the kennel or the other room.

geesspots's picture
geesspots
Sat, 04/23/2011 - 12:02am

One good thing about the whinning is it tells you he has accepted you as his family 

as for curbing it dogs are social animals his whinning is telling you that he wants to see you

I understand that you may not want him hanging around you all the time especially in an

apartment where space is limited but have you tried to put his kennel in a common area our

dog has a kennel in the main living room in our house which is just off of the kitchen/dinning 

area so if we are hanging out cooking watching tv etc his is still part of the family even if he is

across the room in his kennel.  when we first started this we would ocasionaly have to close

the gate on his kennel when we were eating because he would get up and wander around

our feet  ( I dont think this is good )  I would never get angry at him for this I would just lead

him back to his kennel and give him a couple of chances before closing the door. as not to

give him negative feeling towards his kennel.  this seems to have worked for us.