Names and relations have been changed to protect the very (bad dog!) guilty, but let’s be fair: we all know at least one person who proclaims to hate “yappy little dogs.”
Not yappy dogs.
Not little dogs.
Always “Yappy little dogs.”
Some people (see disclaimer above) go so far as to take delight in zapping passing Yorkies and MinPins with a sonic yap zapper until they cry.
Needless to say, we Puppity Mamas do not approve and would like to zap the guilty with a sonic people zapper to see how he likes it.
Back to our topic. Little dogs have a bad rap, or maybe we should say, “have a bad yap” (boo) amongst dog lovers for their often shrill capability for filling hours upon hours with the joy of noise.
Their owners should be smacked with a citation by the “well adjusted dogs police”. That’s not to say that our little dogs never bark, only that our little dogs bark when it’s normal for a dog to bark. That’s not because they’re little. It’s because they’re DOGS.
Normal bark: Hey! I see another dog! Hey, dog! I’m a dog! Hi!
Abnormal bark: There’s gotta be another dog out there somewhere!
Normal bark: Mom! Mom’s home! MOM’S HOME! Hey, everybody! MY MOM’S HOME!
Abnormal bark: Someone came home five houses over, and everybody needs to know! Red alert, guys!
Normal bark: You don’t belong here, and I don’t like you here.
Abnormal bark: You may think you belong here, but I don’t like you here, and I’m going to keep barking until you go away.
Starting to see a pattern? Abnormal barking stems from insecurity, uncertainty, excessive territoriality, and boredom.
Like all dog behavior problems, it’s best to catch it from the beginning. Little puppy yaps might be cute, but they progress to bigger and louder, and then you’ve got a problem. Similarly, your little dog may have such a cute yap, but your work at home neighbors don’t find it cute at 2 in the afternoon.
What to do? Because our two are service dogs, we have to be on top of any behavior that may take a turn for the yappy. The best two training tips we’ve taken on board are:
1: Distract the dog. A sharp clap or a sharp sound can catch a dog right at the beginning of the bark and distract them.
1b: Catch the bark before it gets out. This one is similar to the one above, but the timing is trickier. You get to know your dog. You know the body tension and the look when your dog is about to bark. That’s the moment you strike with a sharp “CH!” Or “ENH!”
2: Use their training. When the barking starts, get the dog into training mode. Even if it’s “sit,” get that mode going. Get the dog focused on you, and the barking stops.
Is it easy? No. But it’s not hard either as long as you practice consistency.
What’s your favorite way to keep your little dog happy, not yappy?