Weimaraners are not really a barky breed per se, but they are usually very good watch dogs, which most of us desire and appreciate.
They can also be very demanding and they get bored easily (sound familiar?) — a recipe for recreational barking.
The training problem here is that we want conflicting things out of our Weims. We want them to bark to keep the house safe, but recreational barking is annoying and undesirable. How’s your Weim supposed to know the difference?
The best solution to this dilemma is to teach a “quiet” command. It gives your Weim the latitude to bark, but he must be quiet (or shut the *bleep* up, depending on the circumstances, eh?) when you command him to.
Here’s how you do it:
- Get Some Soft Treats
The texture is important here. Cheese is good, but you can use anything your dog likes that is somewhat chewy.
- Make Your Weim Bark
Usually ringing the doorbell will do the trick. But you probably know what triggers him already, so use that to set him up.
- Be Ready with a Treat
You will have to be with your Weim when you set him up to bark. After he barks a couple times, divert his attention with a treat.
- Give Treat While Introducing Command
After you’ve diverted his attention with the treat and are giving it to him, tell him “Quiet” or whatever your command word will be.
Your Weim cannot bark and chew at the same time. This is why a chewy treat is important. While he’s chewing, praise him for being quiet.
Use another prompt to get him to bark and go through this process again.
- Fade Treats Away
Don’t forget this part so you aren’t forever dependent on treats. Fade them away slowly and on an intermittent schedule as you practice this.
Tips on Controlling Barking
Your Weimaraner wants to please you, but do not expect him to understand what “quiet” or any other command means without showing him what you want. Treats help facilitate communication.
If you investigate the source of your Weim’s barking (look out the door or window), this usually helps with the “quiet” command. If you already have the leadership role with your Weim, which you should have (or God help you) then this does help.
I use the word “enough” for my command and taught one of mine to generalize it to mean “stop what you are doing.” This girl is a kiss-aholic. I love it, but others, eeehhhh not so much. I don’t get it either, but there are people in the world that don’t like getting tongued by your dog, so this command has helped in other ways.
Training for attention and self-control in general will help you big time with barking control.
What about Bark Collars or Spray Bottles?
I do not recommend using a bark collar on your Weimaraner for barking control, unless you have a serious problem with nuisance barking.
As with any training, and especially when it comes to Weimaraners, it is best if they think it’s their idea. Teaching them what you want and having your dog happily comply because they were correctly taught that obeying is beneficial to them is the best way to teach your Weim.
If, however, you have a Weim that already has a bad habit, and you are about to get evicted due to nuisance barking, then use the tools that will help you get over the hump while you train.
The biggest caveat with using bark collars is that the dog ends up respecting the bark collar, and not you. But it is very effective, and at the very least takes you out of the punishment picture and the unpleasant association goes to the collar itself.
Spray bottles use the same principles to keep your dog from barking. In some ways, spray bottles are worse because it is easy for the dog to associate the spray with you, since you are the one operating the bottle and must be near the dog to spray him.
Other Distance Training for Barking Control
Once upon a time, the biggest problem when trying to train a dog to stop barking was trying to control the behavior in our absence. Ah technology, how things have changed!
I am a fan of the Furbo because it allows for distance training. It has a camera and microphone built into it, along with a treat dispenser. It is an excellent tool for dogs that have separation anxiety, and barking can be symptom of SA.
Part of the problem with barking is that it can be self-rewarding, especially if it is a symptom of anxiety, stress or boredom. Barking relieves the stress of being alone or being bored — both of which mostly happen when you aren’t there. And since you aren’t home, you cannot interrupt or divert the behavior to something more positive.
So, instead of a dog having no feedback or self-rewarding feedback for the undesirable action, with a camera like the Furbo you can reward your dog with praise and/or treats at the correct time. This is huge in keeping up the consistency with bark control training when you are absent!
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