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A Dogs Guide To... Getting Your Dog to Stop Barking

I like to bark. I mean, I like to bark A LOT. So, whattya gonna do about it? Well, if you're Amber and Terry, you're going to do NOTHING about it. Ain't nobody going to silence the Rubinman, you know what I'm sayin'? If you're NOT Amber and Terry, though (i.e. you're smart) and you want to know how to get your dog to just freakin' shut up once in a while, here's what you need to know?

Why is your dog barking?

I'll be honest here: I bark because I like it. And because it gets me some attention. I'm all about the attention. Now, you coulda probably guessed about the attention thing, but the fact that we actually ENJOY it? Who knew?

It's true, though. Sometimes I just get a kick out of it. It's like, I start barking because I'm excited, and then after a while I'm all, "hey! This totally rocks!" So I bark some more. And then some more after that. Then I finish up with a quick round of barking. Sometimes I come back for an encore. The truth is, by this time, like Justin Timberlake, I'm lovin' it. So, how're you gonna stop me? (Clue: you're not. You'll NEVER stop the Rubinman. But you know what I mean.)

Well, if you want to stop a dog that's barking just for the hell of it, you're gonna hafta get clever. Cleverer than Amber and Terry. Whatever you do, DON'T shout at me. You want to know what I think when you shout at me while I'm barking? I think, "Coooool! They're totally barking with me! This SO rocks!" Ha! Amateurs!

No, what you need to do is, you need to distract me. You could play with me. You could feed me. (Actually, you should totally feed me. That's the best thing to do. End of article.) But it's better if you TRAIN me. Uh-huh. TRAIN ME.

Now, I know what y'all are thinking. You're all, "But the Rubinman is cleverer than me! I'd NEVER train him!" Well, you're right. You totally wouldn't. But if you have a NORMAL dog, you can train it. Mebbe.

I am what's called "clicker trained." Clicker training is when you, like, get this CLICKY thing and get your dog to believe that if the thing clicks, something good happens. Could be a goodboy. Could be a big cuddle. (Note: the Rubinman is NOT a sissy. But a cuddle can be nice). Could be playing with your toys. Whatever it is, it's GOOD. The clicker is power, and once ya got power over the dog, you're the boss of it.* If you're REALLY clever, you can teach your mutt to bark on command, and then stop barking on command too, using the clicker. That's probably too advanced for you lot, though, so?

Understand why YOUR dog is barking

So, yeah, now you know why the Rubinman barks. It's important to know why YOUR dog barks, though. Here are some possible reasons:

· He is bored. · He is scared. (I mean, I'm NEVER scared, but then I WAS raised by wolves?) · He is lonely. · He has seen the postman. · Little Timmy is stuck down a well and your dog wants to lead you to that well, rescue little Timmy and get a reward. I'll tell ya, that happens to me a LOT.

Soooooo many reasons for barking there. First thing you need to do is, you need to find out which reason is the right one. I'll be honest here: it's probably the postman.

A word about the postman

Most so-called "exerts" will tell you that your dog barks when he sees the postman because the postman is intruding on your property and the dog can't tell the difference between "friend" and "foe." What a lot of crap experts talk, no? If I talked crap like that, man, I'd be ashamed to call myself the Rubinman, I really would.

As any dog will tell you, we bark at the postman because we hate that sucker. In the wild, postmen are our natural enemies. Walking up our driveway day after day. Stuffing things through our door. Ringing the bell. I mean, honestly, do YOU think that's acceptable behaviour?

Stopping the barking

You ain't never gonna stop the "me against the postman" mentality. All you can do, really, is bribe your dog to stay quiet. Remember: we have no morals. (I mean, we sniff other dog's butts IN THE STREET, do we look like we'd turn up our noses at a spot of bribery?) We won't be offended if you bribe us.

Now, I'm not saying you should always bribe us with chocolate goodboys. (I totally AM saying that, by the way). I'm just saying the best way to get us to behave is to reward us handsomely when we behave ourselves. Goodboys. Cuddles. Rubbing our furry bellies. Do this and we will stop barking. Mebbe.

* Amber and Terry, obviously, are NOT the boss of me, though. No one's the boss of me.

Rubin is a wolf in Bichon Frise's clothing. Read his blog, the Dog's Diary

Rubin's owner, Amber, is a freelance writer. Visit Amber's website Hot Igloo Copywriting

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