If you’re a small or toy dog person, you know the littlest canines are downright adorable. They cost less to care for, and they fit in your favorite designer bag. Everything about them is cute and cuddly. Even when they try to protect and defend, all you can do is smile.
While small dogs earn lovable points in just about every category, training them to follow your directions or stop barking isn’t one of them. Small dogs are indeed harder to train than large dogs, but it’s not their fault; it’s most likely due to genetics … and you (their owners).
Let’s take a look at how to get control of your small dog barking.
Why Small Dogs Bark (Hint: Size Does Matter)
Imagine being so small that you fit comfortably into a purse or teacup. Now envision looking out at other animals and humans, everything and everyone is huge!
As a human, if you stand as you speak down to your dog, she may view you as threatening, merely because you’re a giant to her. Instead, when you need to address your dog, kneel and keep your hand motions in front of her, not above her.
Tiny Bodies, Tiny Tummies
Pet owners and pet professionals alike rely on treats-based training. They are easy to use and reinforce good behavior in dogs. The problem is, small or toy breeds have much smaller stomachs and may have more sensitivity to fatty foods than medium or large breeds. This can make them harder to train.
What seems like a single kibble to a 20-pound bulldog may be more like a full day’s meal to a little canine. Plus, offering treats meant for larger breeds, or fatty foods like cheese might leave your little one with digestion issues. Instead, offer her low-fat crumbs or a lick of baby food off your finger.
How to Train a Small Dog to Stop Barking
You might expect your small dog to perform new skills as smoothly as her larger counterparts. However, she might have more trouble learning moves that bigger dogs have no problem mastering. Break tricks into steps and reward as she accomplishes them. Another approach is to watch your dog throughout the day. If she performs a skill such as “sit” or “lay down” on her own, use a verbal command that she’ll associate with that behavior, and reward her.
Likewise, when she exhibits unwanted behavior, you can distract her with a tool like The BarxBuddy, which will get her attention so you can stop unwanted behavior and teach her better behaviors.
Anti-Bark Strategy for Tiny Dogs
Small dogs tend to be quite energetic and, in turn, bark, or in the case of most tiny dogs, yelp excessively without regard to your orders. If you yell or punish your dog for her barking habits, she might not understand that this is you telling her to stop; she may think you’re joining in on the fun!
Instead, learn why your dog barks. One way to reduce barking is to make sure she gets plenty of exercise during the day. A regular exercise routine might help calm her down enough to focus on your commands.
Be Consistent With Training Commands
Small dogs rely on you for a lot of things. Unlike larger dogs that can quickly get around, say to jump up on the couch, your little one needs you to lift, carry, and watch out for her. However, her size and cuteness are no excuse to give in to her bad behaviors like excessive barking.
Remember, any attention you give, good or bad, to your dog’s unacceptable behavior, guarantees she’ll repeat it. Instead, ignore your pet when she is acting up and reward her good behavior. Train, treat, repeat.
About Ultrasonic Training Devices
If even after you practice these tips and find your dog is still struggling with barking issues, proper training might be the answer. The safe and effective BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool makes it easier to train a dog, even the tiniest ones. An alternative to bark collars, the BarxBuddy distracts your pet without any contact between it and your dog, allowing you to give a verbal command and reward her when she stops the unwanted behavior.
As a small pet owner, you understand that your adorable and cuddly teacup breed requires some adaptation and patience in your training. Like training medium and large breeds, plenty of patience, persistence, and practice goes a long way when training your small dog — it may be easier than you think.