To own a barker of this type is not only a nuisance to you and your neighbors; in many cities and towns it is a misdemeanor. You must either cure your dog or get rid of him. Legal complications aside, most of us like to be on good terms with the family next door, yet few of us are keen about giving up a dog we have paid good money for, have become attached to, have gone to considerable trouble to train, and that has no really serious fault except that, like some of the rest of us, he talks too much.
If Jock is like the average pup, that concerto he performed during nearly the entire first night he spent at your home was, as we predicted, his farewell appearance on any stage. The sooner you convince him that from a pup’seye view the world is a pretty good place to live in, the better for you and the neighborhood. The chances are this will be comparatively easy, especially if you pave the way with a preliminary or two.
One such preliminary is to serve him his final meal of the day as late in the evening as you conveniently can. A full stomach induces sleep, and although dogs, like people, sometimes talk in their sleep, the noises they make at such times wouldn’t disturb a sufferer from chronic insomnia. A second anchor to windward is that piece of old carpet or sacking that you tacked over the door of his kennel. Be sure it is dropped down to close the opening fairly well. It will also keep Jock from “seein’ things at night,” which frequently aggravates if it doesn’t actually cause the barking habit.
As for the cure itself, try the simple and obvious first. When Jock tunes up, stay in the house, but from your bedroom window call “No, no!” in your severest tones. It is very doubtful if this will do the trick, but try it just the same. Assuming this is a waste of breath, repeat the warning in the same severe tone and with a stick rap vigorously on anything that will make a good sharp noise, like a wooden table or your window sill. This may work and it may not. It is sure to prove a dud if you adopt the technique of a friend of mine who, at my suggestion, tried it out on her first pup.
The raps on the window sill were signally successful in attracting the attention of the pup, but from then on the system went haywire in a big way. It was not only a flat failure as a cure but turned out to be a positive bark producer in the bargain.
The way this woman operated was strictly asper directions with one perfectly excusable exception. Greatly embarrassed when her pet annoyed the neighbors at night, and not wishing to divert their attention from her dog to herself, her raps were anything but emphatic and she called “No, no!” in a soft crooning contralto that was sweet music to Yowler’s ears. As we have already learned, dogs take their cue as much from the tone of our voices as from the words we speak, so the pup thought he was getting sympathy, not a scolding. Apparently he reasoned it out about as follows.
“I like to see my mistress and hear her talk kindly to me. When I bark or howl at night she comes to her window, hits the sill with a stick and calls ‘No, no!’ During the daytime ‘No, no! means ‘Stop it!’ and the stick is a warning I’d better watch my step; but at night it’s entirely different. My mistress calls to let me know I’m not forgotten or maybe because she likes to have me bark after dark. It’s either one or the other because she always speaks softly and tenderly to tell me I’m a good dog. As for the stick, she probably thinks that’s a good way to attract my attention. I’m sure of one thing anyhow: when I’m lonesome at night and want the best company in the world, all I have to do is holler for it.”
Dod breed of day: Japon Chin