why does my dog bark at other dogs on tv
I m still working on this issue with my 1yo pup. But I was able to watch the Westminster Dog Show last night without much fuss, so he s coming along. When I researched this issue online I found an about canine vision and how with newer HDTV s with refresh rates of 120hz, this is the first time dogs have been able to see what is on the a television as fluid movement, before, at lower refresh rates, they just saw images that dogs perceived as flickering static images, without fluid realistic motion. What I ve been doing is desensitizing my dog to the TV. My dog reacts most strongly to seeing other dogs on the screen, so I made a point to record some dog competitions and shows. so I have a few agility competitions and a some dog shows on my DVR so I can work on it whenever I want.
I started off with a bunch of high value treats, and no volume on the TV. I got my dog sitting comfortably and started playing the show. I basically just tried to keep him focused on me and the treats and fed a treat any time he was able to not lunge at the television, or would look at the TV, start to get agitated, but would redirect his attention back to me. Barking was naturally reduced because he couldn t bark and eat treats at the same time. I did this about a half dozen times and he started getting pretty good at not lunging and barking. so I upped the criteria and turned the volume up. not normal listening levels, but enough that he could hear barking.
We worked on it at low volume and then worked our way up to normal volume. He still reacts to the dragons on Game of Thrones, and some violent action sequences, but nothing as bad as it used to be (he ll jump up and growl at the TV, but that s about it). I keep treats by the sofa so we can still work on it on the fly if he gets riled up about something. It s still a work in progress.
Finally, transfer these skills to some real television watching.
Use the sounds on the television and calmly toss a treat to the dog each time you hear a bark. The goal is to teach the dog that these sounds are nothing to kick up a fuss about. My puppy shakes and kills his toys. He also loves playing tug. Is it safe to let my dog do this, or is he learning to be aggressive? Many behaviours that we see in dogs are predatory-based behaviours. There is chasing, pointing, herding, shaking and killing toys. Just because a dog kills a toy, it does not mean that they will kill another animal. It is a little like father and son wrestling.
Playing is good. While it may mimic a fight, it does not mean that the game will transfer to a life of crime and violence. When it comes to games, it s more important to ensure that dogs are directing their energy into outlets that are safe and have rules. For example, killing the couch cushions is unacceptable behaviour. Shaking a rope toy is a good way for young dogs to use up energy. Incorporating games and play into a dog s life allows owners to use these games to better train their dogs. Playing tug or giving a toy can be a great reward for good behaviour. Yvette Van Veen is an animal behaviour consultant. Write her at
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