Dealing With A Barking Schnauzer
There really isn’t a much difference between a barking schnauzer and a regular schnauzer. Both will do quite a bit of barking, but the former may do it excessively or all too often at those times when you wish it would not.
Barking, Not An Abnormal Act – The first thing one must realize when confronted with a barking schnauzer is that its actions are completely normal. Barking is what dogs do, although admittedly some dogs don’t do too much of it, while others can’t seem to shut up. Trying to train a schnauzer not to bark so much involves trying to train the dog not to do something which is natural for it to do. What that means is dealing with a barking schnauzer is going to take some work. It’s like trying to train a beagle not to walk with its nose constantly on the ground, the natural position for a hound’s nose. With patience and persistence you can make some progress, and working with barking is probably much easier than working with sniffing.
Selective Barking Habits – Another issue that can complicate matters somewhat is that there are times you might want your schnauzer to bark, especially if it is expected to have watchdog duties. You also want it to bark at those times when it’s feeling good, such as during play. What we are talking about is training the dog not so much to stop barking but to bark more selectively, and it is indeed possible to train a dog to bark selectively, if not all of the time, at least most of the time.
Not all of the training efforts need to focus on stopping the barking. It’s just as important to understand those things that encourage the dog to bark, and two things that encourage barking are a lack of play and exercise where the dog becomes bored, or too much alone time, which will cause many breeds to start barking. The key to training most any animal, especially dogs, is they are social animals, and need to be treated as such. Given the right amount of attention, dogs will more often than not respond appropriately (cats are a whole different ballgame).
So, you exercise your schnauzer, give it a good amount of play time, and try not to leave it alone too often or for too long. That’s a good first step. Now for the actual training.
Body Language Can Be A Powerful Tool – Body language can often be used to good effect. We usually train dogs to obey voice commands, but in this case we’re trying to train a dog not to do something. Voice commands are appropriate when teaching a dog to sit or stay or retrieve, but fall short of their intended purpose when trying to teach a dog not to do something. That’s not to say you can’t teach a schnauzer to stop barking when you say “stop”, but the dog first has to realize that you’re saying stop because you’re displeased with what it’s doing. Dogs love to please and often become quite unhappy if they know you’re displeased.
One good way to teach a schnauzer, or any dog to stop barking is to ignore it. Ignoring it does not mean leaving it alone. That will only encourage more barking. A good step in teaching a barking schnauzer to stop is to turn your back on it. You’re effectively teaching the dog two things. One, it can’t get what it wants by constantly barking, and more importantly, its barking is displeasing you, which dogs are very reluctant to do.
Selective Barking Training Takes Time – Training requires consistency and patience above all else, but you also have to take care not to teach the dog the wrong things. When it barks because it needs to go outside that’s one thing, and when that is the case the last thing you want to do is ignore it. When it’s hungry it may bark as well. That’s OK if it’s dinner time and the barking is a gentle reminder to you the owner, that it’s time to fill the dish. Teaching a dog when to bark and when not to bark requires a great deal of time, but one of the truly nice things about all the effort is you’ll learn quite a bit about your schnauzer, and about yourself as well.