Hunters often have issues with Catahoula dogs barking unnecessarily on a hunt, but they can also have issues with their dogs barking at home. A bark deterrent is a command that you give or an action that you take to stop Catahoula dogs barking unnecessarily. When hunting dogs are taught to understand a bark deterrent signal at home it makes it easier to stop nuisance barking on a hunt.
If you’ve decided it’s time to teach Catahoula dogs a bark deterrent signal to be used at home, and on a hunt, you will likely already know that there are only so many things you can do about the problem. After all, Catahoula dogs are born to bark. Regardless of breeding and refinement over the last several millennia, every dog still has that urgent desire to vocalize their feelings and needs. In fact, there is only one breed of dog – the Basenji – that does not bark at all.
So, before you can implement a bark deterrent in training Catahoula dogs, you need to understand why they bark and what forms of barking you can control.
The Triggers for Barking in Catahoula Dogs
Catahoula dogs bark for any number of reasons. They bark when they are angry. They bark when they are excited. They even bark when they are scared. Here is a rundown of when you might expect your dogs to start barking:
As you can see, barking is a major part of the personality of Catahoula dogs. It’s impossible to stop them from barking completely, and as a hunting dog you need them to communicate with you at certain times. They’re going to want to express themselves at times, regardless of what you do to inhibit their behaviours. How to Implement a Bark Deterrent in Training Catahoula Dogs
Before implementing a bark deterrent for Catahoula dogs, first determine if the behaviour is warranted. Nine times out of ten, it’s excessive and can be controlled. If you decide that your dog’s barking can and should be controlled, ask yourself these three questions;
When does the dog bark?
What is the dog barking at?
Does the dog have a specific trigger?
These three questions apply to barking at home, and barking on a hunt.
Let’s say that you determine that your dog is barking because it wants to protect its territory or is simply alarmed by something. In this instance, yelling at Catahoula dogs to stop is counterproductive and not a good bark deterrent. In fact, negative reinforcement for territorial barking can often lead to biting, or aggression in other forms. Catahoula dogs don’t understand what you’re trying to tell them. They may stop the barking, but the territorial issues are still there.
Instead, you need to create a situation in which your dog will not feel that territorial urge to defend itself when it is not appropriate. This starts by taking control of your household. Be the alpha leader of the pack and show Catahoula dogs that you are the one in charge of protecting that space. Another bark deterrent is to physically reducing the ability for Catahoula dogs to see those incursive threats to its territory. Draw your blinds so dogs cannot see the mailman, or put up an opaque fence so they cannot see outside the yard. Catahoula dogs can be taught a bark deterrent signal to teach them to stop barking at threats outside the fence. They can be taught that barking at threats inside the fence is acceptable, but when your bark deterrent is signaled the barking stops. This is where your alpha leadership comes into play. As the alpha leader you teach your hunting dog how to speak, and then be quiet. By creating a command that allows you to control the barking behaviour, Catahoula dogs will learn to stop barking when it is not necessary. This means that if you do not see something as a threat, then your hunting dogs will also see it as non-threatening. Do you see how you can train Catahoula dogs to not bark at all when appropriate, bark when appropriate, and stop barking when appropriate? Use a Bark Deterrent to Stop Catahoula Dogs with Anxiety
If Catahoula dogs have anxiety issues, the barking is likely a symptom of something much greater. They want to reach you and will continuously bark until you return. Most of the time, this is because you have rewarded them for this behaviour in the past. When you return home and they are excited, do you immediately give them attention? Rather than rewarding them in this instance, you should use ignoring your dog for as long as 10-15 minutes as your bark deterrent. Ignoring Catahoula dogs, and making your arrival home insignificant, will help stop them associating your return with attention. It will also reduce the dog’s anxiety.
Nuisance barking from Catahoula dogs does not have to be the bane of your community or a hunt. Learn how to implement a bark deterrent at home first, and then apply the same strategies to when your dogs are on a hunt. As the alpha leader you will have developed a relationship where your Catahoula dogs respect your authority and they will obey all of your commands at home and when on a hunt.