Training Tips to Minimize Barking
Pomeranians are highly intelligent, cute and fluffy dogs who bring so much joy to their families. However, their curious and protective nature can often lead to excessive barking. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize this behavior. These approaches can vary from one situation/root cause to another.
It may take some time to get your Pomeranian to break the habit of excessive barking. Remain calm and patient, and eventually you will notice a difference. Here are some key tips to keep in mind while you work on the different training techniques:
Do not yell at your Pom to be quiet—it will just sound like you're barking along with them.
Always keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.
Be consistent so you don't confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your Pom barks inappropriately. Consistency is key.
Ignore the Barking
If you believe your Pom is barking to get your attention, ignore them for as long as it takes for them to stop. Do not talk to them, touch them, or even look at them. Your attention- even just asking them to stop, only rewards them for being noisy. When they are finally quiet, even to take a breath, reward them with a treat. Timing is important- so make sure that you’re quick to reward the quiet so that you don’t confuse your Pom and inadvertently reward them for barking.
Desensitize the Stimulus
Gradually get your Pom accustomed to whatever is causing them to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes them bark) at a distance. It must be far enough away that your dog doesn’t bark when they see it. Feed them lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats)!
Teach an Alternate Behavior
When your Pom starts barking, ask them to do something that's incompatible with barking. Teach your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits them from barking, such as lying down on their bed. For instance, when someone is at the door, toss a treat on the dog bed and tell your Pom to "go to your bed." When they're reliably going to their bed to earn a treat, up the ante by opening the door while they're on their bed. If they get up, close the door immediately. Repeat until they stay in bed while the door opens. Then increase the difficulty by having someone ring the doorbell while your dog is in bed. Reward them if they stay in place.
Keep your Pomeranian Active
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired Pom is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on their age and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
When you do walk your Pomeranian, here are some steps to help them feel better on-leash:
Practice getting your dog’s attention before you go out. Say their name and reward them for looking at you. Start in a low-distraction environment, like your living room. Gradually move to busier areas as you are able to get your dog's attention regardless of what's going on around you. This will teach your Pom to look at you regardless of the environment.
When you're out on your walk, as you see another dog approaching, wait until your Pom notices them. When they do, get their attention and reward. Don't wait for them to react! This will teach your Pom to associate the presence of others with something wonderful. When they look up at you for more, go closer and repeat. If they bark or lunge at the dog, you may have went too far, too fast. Or you just didn’t realize a dog was nearby. Simply add more distance and repeat. Don’t punish your Pom for barking or you’ll undo the work you’ve done.
Manage your Pom’s environment for overall safety. Keep them at a comfortable distance from other dogs. Don’t allow others to greet your Pom (initially), or let them invade your Pom’s space. Every negative experience will set your progress back, so it’s best to avoid direct contact with other dogs if possible. If you live in an area with lots of dogs, consider taking your Pom some place where less canines are present.
If you find yourself approaching another dog head-on, simply go around them in an arc, keeping your Pom's attention as suggested above. If the other dog starts to lunge and bark, keep your Pom's attention and reward more often. As soon as the other dog is gone, so are the treats. This will reinforce the idea that other canine companions mean good things, like treats!
Always remember that barking is a natural form of expression for all dogs. Completely eliminating the habit is neither healthy nor humane. However, with effort and the right tactics, excessive barking can be managed, resulting in an even happier relationship between you and your Pom. In most cases, the more confident and content your Pomeranian becomes, the less likely they are to bark.