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Barking at the Mailman

At one point we’ve all been the neighbor to someone with a dog who barks at everything. Walk out your door, and you are assaulted with the roaring challenge of an aggressive bark. If you’ve ever delivered door to door as a mailman, pizza delivery, or even a paper carrier you know how many households that explode into howling, barking madness when a stranger approaches them.

So why is our dog doing the same thing? Dogs bark for a lot of reasons. It could be they are simply talking to other dogs they sense down the street. Did you know Boxers are one of the most popular dogs known for howling? Sometimes, dogs are frightened or want to get your attention and will make a higher pitched bark that can sometimes be shrill or piercing. They want you to know they need let out, are hungry or would like to play. You may hear a lower tones throaty woof woof bark. This usually means your dog perceives danger because a threat is nearby, even if it is just the mailman.

How do we stop this behavior? The first thing we must realize is that dogs bark, period. Nothing we do will stop all barking, nor should we try, barking is just talking for dogs. However, we can train our pups to not get so worked up around strangers coming to the door. Here is a method we find works best.

Enlist a friend’s help in this exercise. Begin by having a special treat for your dog prepared, we recommend baked chicken or crisp turkey bacon. Have the treats cut up in bite size pieces, you want your dog’s maximum attention and not a basic dog biscuit usually is not good enough. Have your friend knock or ring the doorbell once every 15-20 seconds. When your Boxer starts boxing say in a calm, soothing voice, “it’s ok,” but only say this once. While your dog barks completely ignore them, do not make eye contact and do not talk to them or touch them. Whenever your dog stops barking for a long ‘5’ count, then give them a treat and praise. Your friend will continue knocking and ringing and each time the dog barks go back to giving them ZERO attention. Eventually, usually 10-20 minutes later your dog will tire out and sit or lie down, immediately give a treat and praise. Then and only then open the door, encourage your friend to give them a treat too if the dog remains calm. For best results repeat this exercise daily, your dog will catch on pretty quickly, so you won’t have to do this for long.

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