Fur the love of pets

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Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Really Do Hate the Mailman

First, how did this whole barking business even get started? Long ago, early humans allowed wolves to come close enough to their campfires to eat scraps. Eventually they welcomed the wolves to live with them, and one of the benefits was that wolves were, not surprisingly, very good guards. But now that caveman days are gone, how can we modern folk deal with incessant barking?

So, just who does this mailman think he is?

From your dog's point of view, the mailman is the "enemy," and worth a good bark. And hey, it works—the "intruder" always retreats in defeat! Plus, the daily delivery means the mailman is part of your dog's routine. And almost as much as she loves a tasty and healthy snack, your dog loves a good routine.

What to do about unwanted barking

It is up to you, the leader of the pack, to tell your dog what is and is not a "danger." When your dog barks at something out the window, she is saying "Hey boss, come check this out!" To yell at her simply sounds like more barking: to her, you are agreeing with her choice to do it. To get her to stop, try looking out the window with her to acknowledge that "something" is out there. Then, if it's nothing to bark about, lead her away from the window and have her stay beside you. That's you saying, "I checked it out and we're good." Or, to take it to the next level, when your dog barks, gently close her mouth with your hand and softly say "Quiet." That technique might take a few repeats, but eventually it will work. Why? Because it is pretty close to what a mama wolf would do to a pup. Pack leader, take charge!

The barking truth?

Your dog barks today because thousands of years ago that is the "job" we gave her ancestors. If there is no genuine threat, give your dog a rub and let her know everything is okay. She'll settle down and thank you with quietness.