If you’ve recently seen puppy Digby on This Morning, you may have also seen that he’s been rather ‘chatty’ while he’s on screen. Obviously Digby is still a puppy, and just like young children, he’s learning about the world around him and what gets a reaction from people.
Why do dogs bark?
For a dog, barking is a way of communicating and dogs bark for different reasons. Digby’s bark when he’s on set is a mixture of attention seeking and being separated from his puppy socialiser who’s behind the cameras.
Therefore we need Digby to learn that he’s not going to get rewarded for the barks, nor is his Puppy Socialiser going to return to him when barking. Instead he’ll get rewarded when he doesn’t bark, and when he’s quiet, the reward – his puppy socialiser, will return back to him.
Changing unwanted behaviour
There are several things that we’re working with Digby on at the moment to re direct and change this behaviour:
- Ignoring the barking completely so that Digby learns that it doesn’t get him anything or mean his puppy socialiser or any other person he’s barking at will come over to see him.
- Giving him a treat or attention when he is quiet so that it reinforces the good behaviours.
- Distracting him from barking in the first place. This could be by giving him a really tasty treat such as a stuffed kong or a chew when he needs to settle. Digby is fairly food motivated so for him this could be the key, while for other dogs it might be a game or a favourite toy. Its important we give him the distraction before any barking takes place.
- Being consistent with the approaches used with all the family, so Digby fully understands what’s being asked of him and what he needs to do to get attention from anyone. The last thing we want is Digby getting mixed messages.
Digby’s still a young pup and his socialiser Helen is never far away from him when he’s on set at This Morning. He’s obviously forming a strong bond with Helen and wants to be with her, but learning to settle is an important skill for any puppy, and we’re confident that with consistent training Digby will soon start to learn that a few woofs won’t get him anywhere.