Why dogs barks at FedEX/UPS trucks?

 In the previous entry titled "Why dogs bark? ", and " Look at the world through a dog's point of view;barking,chewing and more " I wrote that most of common dog behavior problems you would like to stop or curb them are natural canine behaviors or something we kept reinforcing the behavior without any intention,and barking for example, from dogs' point of view,it is their natural way to communicate each other. 

 Dogs' Barking,however, is also useful sometimes.They can tell us when someone approached to our house,or when phone rings,or when laundry machine is making funny noise or when they see FedEX or UPS trucks coming to our house.

 However, their prolonged excessive barking is not something we would be appreciated for.

 In case of when stranger come to your house, you do want them to alert you with couple of barks for you to notice someone is coming to your house, but you do not want to stop their alert barking completely. Not all barking is bad.They need to communicate with us too. They growl, bark, whine,howl.. Everything has its meaning behind it.We just need to learn the Dogs.

 Our dog "Palette" loves to go for a walk. Each day is different route or same route but with different direction, and we stroll around the neighborhood, we do brisk walk sometimes, we jog sometimes and we race to the home occasionally when we come to straight road toward the house.

 Every single time, same dogs behind the fenced yard or inside the house start singing loud to us "Woof,woof,woof..", and the tone is real high pitched so, I would imagine that the their mom/dad would hope they would stop singing sooner.

 The singing dogs keep singing until they cannot see us in their sight, and me and Palette keep walking with their high pitched woof on the background. Palette is care-less. She is too tired to sing along, and her mind is set to yummy cool down frozen yogurt treats I make for her and she rather wants to go home sooner.

 However, when table is turned, she would become a singer when she sees/hear the sound of UPS truck. Her woof for them are so high pitched, and excessive barking is not something we would be appreciated for. She "thinks" UPS guys would bring something for her every time she sees them coming to our house,so it adds more excitement for her.

 Why dogs barks at FedEX/UPS trucks?

 Our dog "Palette" is now 5 years old, and she got used to all kinds of noise from outside whether it is via trash truck,USPS car,neighbors' cars... but it seems she sings for UPS trucks every time whether it passes us or come in to our driveway.

 Interesting thing is, she does not sing at FedEX guy's truck when it passes by us.Maybe the sound the FedEX guy's truck is much similar to neighbors' truck. When you think about it, UPS truck is much bigger, and it makes rumbling sound when the truck is moving,and it also make squeaking sound when they stop. It is definitely different from the sound of regular trucks/cars Palette got used to hearing.

 When UPS trucks or FedEX truck turn to our driveway, I see her coming toward the little window at the entrance and starts woof,woof,woof..

 Times when FedEX guys,UPS guys walk up to our house with boxes AND they ring the doorbell,which I think many dogs would think they need to woof at, is hardest one for me to keep Palette being quiet because she is excited and she wants to sniff the box NOW, and she wants to come to greet them.. All kinds of thoughts are in her head.

 Usually,when FedEX/UPS trucks turn to our drive way, I allow her to observe and woof a couple of times and then I come to check and acknowledge of their presence and say "Thank you". Then, Palette goes on top of the stairs.

 She willingly goes to the spot but, she is too excited for their presence and boxes, and she barks until door is closed. After the door is closed,her attention will be shifted from FedEX/UPS guys to boxes they brought,and she stops barking and sit pretty so that she get to sniff at them. She does great after the door is closed, but I would still need to work on her being quiet on the spot when she still see them in their sight with open door.

 When we open the door and receive the package, the FedEX/UPS guys usually turn around, running back to their truck and drive off.

 I am guessing that many dogs find FedEX/UPS trucks bark-worthy,and many dogs would be woofing at them until they cannot see in their sight,but can you see the pattern here with the scenario when I wrote about neighbors' dogs barking at us on walk?

 Imagine you are a dog, and see the FedEX/UPS trucks turning into your house's drive way. You would think that you would need to alert your mom/dad. Woof,woof,woof..

 Despite your woofing, someone comes out from the truck with boxes and rings the door bell. So,you would feel more need to woof. Woof,woof,woof..

 But then, after door is opened and boxes were handed to your mom/dad, they would turn around,running back to the truck and the monster truck that makes strange noise would disappear!You made it disappear! With woof. So, you would woof at them again and again because you know that woofing worked,and monster truck with strange sound disappeared.

 When you think about it, FedEX guys,UPS guys,Pizza delivery guys.. all those people are strangers to your dogs, and these strangers would come toward your house so, I can see why they feel the need to bark.

 While I am still working on keeping Palette being quiet on the spot when FedEX/UPS guys come to our house with boxes, but other times like when neighbors' kitty trespassing our yard or someone walking their dogs or USPS car stops at our mail box etc. the occasions that are with low intensity,I can now say "Thank you" to Palette after a couple of times of barks and she stops barking and come trot to me.

 How to allow a couple of barks and stop barking on cue

1. As I stated above, there are always reasons why dogs bark at things. So, first thing I did with Palette's bark was come to the window she is looking through, and look outside so that Palette can see me looking outside and acknowledge the cause.

**I think it is important not to yell at your dogs "QUIET!".For dogs, it becomes fun game of barking match. Raising the tone of your voice or yelling does not help. Simply say nothing, being calm and find the cause of barking

2.I then stand up in front of her and block the view.Say nothing, no touching your dog,just simply stand in front of them and block the view.

** This body block enable you to block the cause of the bark

3. First couple of times, Palette has tried to pass through me or tried to put her body between the window and my body so that she get to see through the windows to see the cause and then bark,but eventually, she figured out that it does not work, and she sat down in front of me and watched me and being quiet.

4. Right when she sat down being quiet, I clicked the clicker and gave her the treats. Over some more occasions that triggered her barking, I did the same and eventually I waited to click the clicker for a second or two longer of quiet time with sit.

5. When she becomes quick to respond of my body block and sit and being quiet right away,I started adding the cue. For her case,it is "Thank you", and I clicked the  clicker and gave her yummy treats.

6. After more of repeating practice of step 5, I started coming to see the cause of barking and turned around facing toward her, then when I see her being quiet and sit,I removed myself and moved to about some inches away from her.

Then I said "Thank you" and clicked the clicker if she could hold being quiet and sit and gave her treats, and I added distance after she sat and being quiet,although I always made sure to let her know that I acknowledged her cause of barking.

 Eventually, I could come up to see what she was barking at, and after a couple of barks,I say "Thank you" as I walk away from the window she was looking through without her keep barking.

 Rather, she follows me to collect her rewards.

 It becomes different story with more higher level of intensity with UPS guys' visit.I am still working on that one.

 I think you can also teach your dog to "bark" on command ("speak")and then teach to be "quiet" on cue, and you could use that "quiet" cue when you needed after a couple of barks.

 How to teach your dog to speak on cue..

1.Find something that trigger the barking such as squeaking the squeaky toys in front of them, and when they bark, click the clicker and give them a treat.

2. Eventually, you can say "speak" to label the barking behavior right before they bark and when they bark,click the clicker and give them a treat.

** Ignore all other barking, but the ones you ask them to "speak"

 How to teach your dog "quiet" on cue

1.Find something that trigger the barking such as squeaking the squeaky toys in front of them, and when they may start barking,but ignore the barking and say nothing,no touching, no eye contact and just keep standing still in front of them, and wait till they stop barking.

2.Right when you hear no bark,click the clicker and give them a treat.

3. You can gradually increase the time of them being quiet such as 2 second of quiet time,3 second of quiet time and click the clicker and give them a treat

4. When you can keep them being quiet for about 3-4 second,start labeling the behavior "Quiet" and click the clicker and give them a treat.

5.Repeat the process

6.When your dogs become pretty good at speak on cue,quiet on cue, you can match the two together to practice controlling both on cue.

7. You can ask your dog "speak",dog "woof",you say "speak",dog "woof, you say "speak",dog "woof"and you say "quiet" and your dog "being quiet",then you can praise your dog.

 Just like when you like to teach your dog to give up on something they have in their mouth such as bones,toys etc.. it is much easier sometimes to teach your dogs "give" (give up the object) if they knew the cue "take it".

 There are electronics device that are marketed to use on dogs to keep them from barking, or some people jerk/yank the leash to get the message across to their dog, or some people yell at their dogs in effort to make their dog being quiet, and some people use the water to splash at dogs in effort to get them point across,or some case, some people suggest in their articles to hold the dog's mouth and say "quiet".

 I think that it is partly human nature that we tend to teach what are not right as opposed to what are right.

 With clicker training, you can mark the behavior with timely manner and no physical correction is involved, and always praise the good behavior from dogs and ignore the bad behavior from your dogs.

 Therefore, clicker training enable your dogs to "think" what they are supposed to do as opposed to what not to do,so it is much faster learning and you would see the doggy smile on their face with more eagerness to want to make you click for the reward.

 If you were not familiar with clicker training, you can read in the previous entry titled "Clicker training:Clicker is your friend" here.

 Also, you can get GDK clicker, Dog bone clicker, and Wrist coil attachment at Yassy's Gourmet Dog Kitchen here too.



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