Ialways recommend another dog as dogs are pack animals and lonely when the rest of the pack are not their so they start stressing, and when dogs stress they dig, bark, chew and do all the things that get them into trouble which just make them feel better at the time. Unfortunately it becomes a vicious cycle. Owner goes out... Dog digs... owner returns... owner gets cross... dog looks guilty. So all that is happening is the dog is digging to destress himself because he knows when the owner returns he is going to get into trouble. He does not know what he did wrong because if you do not catch a dog in the act you cannot punish him as the punishment is for the wrong crime and in the dogs eyes he got punished for the owner coming home. Never shout or smack your dog for doing something wrong as it just makes him nervous of you. My clients often say that their dog looked guilty when they were shouted at for digging so they must know what they did wrong. Unfortunately they dog was reacting to the angry energy the owner was showing and not for the hole he had dug. If your dog loves digging, give him a sandpit. Put his toys and bones in it and reward him for digging in it. Send him to puppy daycare where he can play with other dogs. Leave him with yummy chews like bones and rawhides. And do not ever get cross with him on your return, no matter what damage he has done to your garden. With regards his barking you need to work out why he is barking.Here are some reasons for excessive barking:
Lack of exercise.Insufficient activity is a very common reason for excessive barking ,regardless of the size of your property, your dog still needs to be walked every day. It’s about providing a variety of ongoing stimulation so that your dog doesn’t get bored.
Lack of stimulation. When owners are away at work for extended periods of time and the dog is left without company, it just gets plain old bored. When they’re bored they bark, and when they bark, your neighbours will complain or even worse, may hurt your dog.
Excitability. Dogs love to bark when they play and often owners (in their own excitement) love to make their dogs bark. Out of respect for your neighbours, it’s prudent to limit this as much as possible. You need to be consistent. Your dog won’t understand if you encourage barking one day and then berate them the next. Also, some dogs are more excitable than others – a falling leaf may be enough to set them off.
Attention. Dogs can be like children; if they feel you haven’t paid them enough attention (perhaps you have but they just like a lot of it) they will become noisy until you attend to them. Regular interaction is what they need - otherwise they’ll demand it from you by barking.
Separation anxiety. This is more common than owners would imagine and this condition is normally stress related. We look at the separation anxiety first and then tackle establishing new habits around how to deal with stress.
Protecting territory. Dogs that are left outside may feel it’s their responsibility to protect their (and by extension, your) property.
Positive reinforcement. This relates to dogs that bark at passers by – postmen, joggers, cyclists etc. In this instance, the dog inevitably has their barking reinforced. See jogger, bark, jogger runs away. And all the while the dog is thinking, “Yeah, I showed him! Bark, look a little scary and the jogger will go away”.
One thing that is totally counter productive, is shouting. Even just saying NO is enough to make the dog believe that you’re actually joining in. Using sound to combat sound works by far better. This is a well established approached that is highly effective.
Another counter productive approach (which I also find rather inhumane) is punishing your dog for barking. It’s just trying to communicate; it feels it needs to communicate. Excessive barking is the owner’s problem, not the dog’s problem. Punishing a dog, whether it is physical punishment or isolation, will only make your poor dog fear you. In the end it will destroy the loving bond that you are trying to create with your dog.
If you decide to go for another pooch please have a look a all the dogs you can choose from of the furkidz website. And of course, have him sterilised as soon as possible if you have not done so already as his testosterone can make a dog more hectic and destructive. All the best and hope you get a friend for him soon.
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