Here is question #3 from a local dog owner:
Why does my dog bark at everything? He is 4 yrs old. I have had him since a puppy.
Karen Payne Dog Behavior Consultant from Positive Praise answers:
Dogs bark for various reasons. Believe it or not some bark to hear their own voice. Mostly, they bark to protect their territory; they bark for attention; they bark to get the things that they want (i.e. toy, treat, to go outside, etc…). When your dog barks at moving things like the UPS truck, mailman, people walking by your house, squirrels, they are telling that “thing” to go away. Inevitably, those “things” do go away and the dog wins. He thinks he was successful in “scaring” that big bad UPS truck to leave his territory.
The key to barking is not to get them to never bark (which is virtually impossible once they find their bark) but to let them know that it is “OK” and they can stop. If you tell the dog to stop barking, they should follow your order. If you do not tell them, then they have free reign to keep going. Now to make them stop on command, own the space. If the dog is at the window or door barking at the mailman, get in between the door and the dog, walk into him backing him off the door and tell him to “Quiet” or “Quit” in a strong firm voice (no yelling or hitting). Body Block the dog from the door until they relax. Once they are relaxed, praise the dog. You are letting the dog know that if I tell you to be quiet, you need to be quiet and you are not allowed near MY door until you settle down. If the dog immediately goes back to the door and barks, repeat exercise. YOU OWN EVERYTHING.
If you would like some assistance in working with your dog and some unwanted behavior look up Karen at http://positivepraise.blogspot.com/