The following is a recent question coming in from a dog owner who reads our site:

Dear Ty,  Our 1.5 year old Norwegian Elkhound is shaping up nice but has two problems we can quite change yet.   1) Barking:  we use a bark collar to curb his enthusiasm but he does “bark” through it.  He is free in our back yard and we try to correct him as often as we can “catch” the moment.  I would like him to at least stop barking on command.  The only thing that currently works if for me to approach him and growl at him.  Not too attractive.

2) I need to review your videos and info on sit and stay.  Stay would be so useful.  He does a wonderful job of “sit” and “down” but he doesn’t get “stay”.  Again we need to learn to curb his enthusiasm.  Please point me to resources and we will work on this with better tools.

My response:

Thanks for the question.  In answer to your first question here are a few thoughts:

1- What type of bark collar are you using?  I wonder why he’d bark through it?  Do you have it on snug enough with a proper fit?  You say that you ‘correct’ him when you catch him; how are you doing that?  If the dog is going to be loose in the yard with no supervision the only way to curb barking is through some sort of bark collar or citronella collar.  It’s got to be a good brand and well fit, though.

2- To get a dot to stop barking on command I usually do that through obedience.  For example, the dog starts barking at the squirrel or dog next door and I’ll call the dog to me and have him stay put.  With enough repetition most dogs start to ‘self-regulate’ and stop barking on their own because they realize there is no point in barking…because you’ll simply call them back right away.

In order for that to work, though, you’ve obviously got to have a perfect recall and stay behavior.

As far as your second question goes, teaching a dog to stay put is simply a matter of what you do when the dog DOESN’T stay.  Our dog training DVDs have numerous videos showing how to properly correct the dog when the dog breaks the ‘stay’ behavior whether it is to sit, lie down, or go to a bed.

Happy Training!

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