The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to quiet a barking dog

LucyA good dog is very important on the farm, and Lucy is definitely a good dog.  But she does have a few bad traits.  A couple of nights a month, she goes on a barking jag and it's extremely difficult to stop her.  I pull the covers over my head, turn on the fan, and remind myself that folks in the city have to deal with noise every night.

I think I discovered the solution, though, yesterday while listening to Science Friday.   A dog expert explained that when a dog is barking like this --- "Woof woof! pause Woof woof! pause" --- she's saying, "Pack leader!  Come over here and check this out!"

My response --- "Lucy!  Shut up!" --- sounds to her just like "Woof woof! pause Woof woof!"  Which makes her think that I've joined with her in calling for a pack leader, and that she should definitely keep barking.

Instead, the dog expert suggested that I call her over and thank her for barking and ask her to settle down.  That is supposed to make her realize that the pack leader has come out and checked on the problem and deemed it no threat.  I'm looking forward to giving it a shot!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thank you so much for posting this suggestion. I'm going to try this with my ever-so-lovely, but frequently-barking dog.
Comment by Patrice Sun May 17 19:24:58 2009
I should have added in my post --- she can be barking "Woof woof pause" or "Woof woof woof pause". Let me know if you try it out and it works! Lucy has been nice and quiet the last few nights... :-)
Comment by anna Sun May 17 20:09:02 2009

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