Can my poodle's bark be curbed?


Q: I have an 8-year old French poodle. He listens to most commands - except for barking. If I have a visitor he barks from the time they come into the house until they leave. It is very annoying to both the visitor and myself. I put him in the other room, however, he continues barking in there and I worry he may get a heart attack doing so. How can I curb his constant barking if at all? Thank you. A: The good news is that the excitement is unlikely to give your dog a heart attack. However, the excitable barking might give your visitors a heart attack.

While I can’t see exactly what going on in your home, based on your description your dog is likely afraid of the strangers visiting your house, even if there is an aggressive front. I suppose since you’ve apparently lived with the problem for maybe eight years, you can do it for another eight years if you know your dog isn’t going to likely have a heart attack as a result. You can do as you’ve been doing and sequester the dog into another room. Of course, your dog learns nothing, but moving your dog away keeps everyone safe.

A preferred option is to bring in an expert to assess the situation, a veterinary behaviorist (, member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior ( or dog behavior consultant, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (

Also, you might possibly, unknowingly, be rewarding the barking with your responses. Obviously, reacting to the barking by reprimanding (if indeed that is what you are doing) isn’t helping, and could - in fact - serve to reinforce the barking.

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