why does my dog bark in the morning
Barking in the morning for the purpose of waking up the owners and eliciting them to start their day early is a form of nuisance barking. What increases this form of barking is obviously the act of getting up and attending to the dog by giving it food or attention. To better understand though why a dog continues to bark in the morning despite not getting up and attending to the dog, it helps to understand all the mechanisms that come into play when a behavior is about to extinguish. To better understand the process of extinction which is the process of a behavior diminishing and eventually ending, we can compare a dog's behavior to a big fire. Giving in to a behavior as barking in the morning is adding fuel to the fire. The behavior increases, becomes stronger and is harder to extinguish. If the fuel is not added, the behavior over time, will likely become smaller and easier to extinguish. Because extinction undergoes some interesting processes, it is worth learning why the act of not getting up still causes your dog to bark or even causes it to increase in intensity and duration. This behavior can be explained as ''extinction bursts''. What happens in an ''extinction burst'' is the behavior increases temporarily, enough to have dog owners believe that the act of not getting up is not working. Let's take a look at what happens in the dog's mind during an ''extinction burst''.
The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and fed the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding. Then one day you decided not to get up and ignore the barking thinking this would nip the behavior in the bud. It did not work, your dog very likely barked even more than before. Why is this? It is because of the process of ''extinction burst''. Basically, your dog is thinking ''My owners this morning are not getting up as usual. I need to INCREASE, my barking in intensity and duration so they get up since just barking a little is not working''. She therefore barked more and perhaps you or somebody else in your family finally tired of hearing her, finally got up. This only aggravated the behavior. Extinction bursts, take place when an owner tries to stop a behavior by not giving in and the dog increases the behavior to obtain whatever it wants. As much as an extinction burst sounds like an annoying problem, in reality it is a sign that not giving in is working. Giving in, when an extinction burst takes place will only add more fuel to the fire.
Respected trainer and president of Legacy Canine Behavior Training Inc, Terry Ryan, explains in her book ''The Toolbox for Building A Great Family Dog'' Once you recognize what the rewards are (in your case getting up and feeding) and take them away, the behavior will likely increase immediately. This is known as an ''extinction burst''. In plain words, Gus will get worst before he gets better. It might be frustrating, but take it as a good sign. It's working! You've got his number! Stay the course and the behavior will drop off over time. ''. The secret to stopping the behavior is therefore to never give in. The worst thing that can be done is giving in some days and resisting others. This puts the dog on a ''variable schedule''. What this means is that if the dog barks and gets fed one day and not the next day, the behavior of barking only puts more roots because it works in the same way as ''playing the lottery''. People get hooked on playing the lottery because of the variability of it. Slot machines are based on this principle.
I got my black lab puppy at 8 weeks old. I immediately created a routine with him for bedtime or for when I leave the house and also immediately crate trained him. The easiest way to do this is to feed him his meals in his crate. This makes him go into the crate on his own.
I put the bowl in said 'go to your crate' and when he was inside I closed and locked the crate while he ate. Once he was done I would wait for him to turn around and patiently sit to be let out and I would immediately unlock the crate and let him out with praise. We did this for two weeks every meal time. He sleeps in the living room away from me, in his crate. This creates a space for him to sleep (and I) peacefully. I know that sleeping time is a bonding experience but he's going to get much bigger and there's simply no room. I am also a light sleeper and he gets up and repositions himself 300 times a night so. He's crated. I did not miss out on my 'bonding' experience my dog loves me and is very loyal to me. Our routine is that when it's time for bed I grab three small treats out of the cubbord and point to the crate. I turn off the TV and day 'okay babe time for bed' he knows to go in and he gets the treat. He knows that going in is a positive experience. I give him treats and lock up the house and we go to bed. Unfortunately for me he wakes me up everyday at 7am. By this time his bladder is full and I walk him and out him back in his crate. All I'm saying is create a routine at night. My dog is fed twice a day on a routine, walked on a routine and sleeps on a routine and he is very happy.
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