Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Sir Barks-a-Lot

By
From page A5 | December 07, 2012 | Leave Comment

Barking is as natural as breathing. Triggered by a state of excitement, barking is a dog’s means of communicating anger, loneliness, fear, playfulness or a need for something.

Excessive barking is barking’s obnoxious and intolerable cousin. It’s an exaggeration of natural canine behavior that can only be eliminated by either giving in to the dog’s demand or reconditioning the dog. I’d advise doing the latter — yesterday.

The excessive barking of an overindulged or neglected dog has ruined friendships, destroyed relationships and added to the overwhelm of courts already jammed with frivolous concerns that are largely solvable without the aid of lawyers and judges. Time and money are wasted. Friends and credibility are lost. Furthermore, if you’re a renter, you may come home to find yourself staring at a notice to vacate.

So don’t ignore your neighbor’s complaints about your dog’s barking. Instead, first find out whether you have a dog problem or a neighbor problem. Do a little sleuthing. Leave the dog with a friend or relative, or board him at a local kennel for a few days. During that time, ask your neighbor whether the barking has been a problem. If he complains even when the dog isn’t there, you have a neighbor problem. But if the dog turns out to be the culprit, there are adjustments that can and should be made to your approach, to the dog’s environment and/or to the dog’s temperament.

Possible reasons behind excessive barking are vast but rarely mysterious: tethering, improper confinement (e.g., in a room behind a closed door), outside distractions (e.g., construction, stray animals, lawnmowers, a steady stream of strangers), bad weather, separation anxiety, heightened territorialism, lack of exercise, genetics, temperament, hunger.

There’s a great cartoon that features an impatient pup sitting next to an empty food bowl at the feet of his master, an artist consumed with the masterpiece-in-the-making on the easel before him.

The caption: “And how about some dinner, huh? One of the great masters, indeed.”

The cartoon makes it clear that some problems come with simple solutions:

• Keep the dog in a fenced backyard or dog run, rather than tethered to a tree out front.
• Ensure he gets sufficient exercise — two or three vigorous walks every day, with some spirited games of fetch thrown in for good measure. The amount of exercise depends on the breed of dog.
• When inside, keep him confined to an area of the house with a baby gate so he can see his world, rather than shutting him off from the world in a room behind closed doors.
• While you’re gone, close window blinds and drapes, and play soothing music or low-level talk-radio to ease the pain of separation and dull unpleasant exterior distractions.
• Give him a Nylabone toy to while away the hours until you return. Boredom can contribute to mindless barking.
• Don’t make a big fuss out of every goodbye. This only heightens his anxiety when you leave, which can result in a long tedious barking session on the heels of every departure.
• Keep him well fed and thirst quenched. A satisfied dog is a quiet dog.

Barking problems that are more a matter of DNA than environment are less likely but more complex, and require a reconditioning of the dog as opposed to a mere adjustment to the dog’s environment. This demands patience and persistence on the part of the dog owner. Considering the problems brought on by excessive barking left unchecked, the effort is worthwhile.

For information on effective reconditioning techniques and tools — including the Margolis Maneuver and the proper use of the human voice in dog training — visit unclematty.com or read “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things,” available at your local library or online at unclematty.com. Remember, don’t get rid of the dog. Get rid of the problem!

Woof!

Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis is co-author of 18 books about dogs, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and host of the PBS series “WOOF! It’s a Dog’s Life!” Read all of Uncle Matty’s columns at www.creators.com, and visit him at www.unclematty.com. Send your questions todearuncle.gazette@unclematty.com or by mail to Uncle Matty at PO Box 3300, Diamond Springs 95619.

 Copyright 2012 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Matthew Margolis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

No quick fix for California’s highways

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

 
Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

.

Letters

Misquote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
.

Sports

Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8