My puppy has reached 5 months old and hardly barked until now.
All of a sudden he is barking at us. It has gotten hotter so he doesn't like to go for as long as walks, I am worried he is bored.
What can I do to prevent his barking from becoming a problem?
Hi Julie It could be that your pup has some extra pent-up energy that he's not getting to burn off, and that's why he's being a bit boisterous and barking. Or it could be something to do with his age. He's becoming an adolescent, and at this point in their development puppies begin to test the limits and challenge their boundaries. Or it could be a combination of the two things.
If you can't walk him as far, or as long, because of the heat, try to find other things to do that will give him a bit of exercise. Obedience training sessions (whether at home, or as part of formal lessons - and both is ideal) help to use up both physical and mental energy. The benefit of them being able to be held indoors where it's cooler makes them a great summer activity.
If you can set up a large kiddies paddling pool and a garden sprinkler, your pup can play outside for short periods. Most Rottweilers love water, and a paddling pool to lay in on a hot day is heaven for them. A sprinkler to run under, or a game of 'chase' with a sprinkler attachment on your hose is also fun. Just don't overdo the exertion.
A few new toys, such as really sturdy chew toys or bones, and an interactive toy or two can help curb boredom and your pup will take out any left-over stress or energy on them. If you can afford to, buy a selection of half a dozen or so new items and switch them out daily to keep him amused and prevent boredom. You can check out my Tough Dog Toys page at http://www.a-love-of-rottweilers.com/tough-dog-toys.html
As for the barking itself, be sure to correct your pup with a firm verbal "NO Bark" whenever he barks for no good reason. Don't shout or be physical with him as that will simply make him bark more. If necessary, wrapping your hand gently around his muzzle while using the verbal command (for no more than a few seconds) can emphasize your words.
If he is actually barking AT you, then he is challenging your authority and in addition to the above corrections you need to do more on a daily basis to help him learn that YOU are in charge. That means making him earn everything from meals to treat/toys by asking him to 'sit' before giving him those things. Hand-feed him a meal at least every other day and don't allow him up on furniture or beds, or to lay in doorways, or guard his possessions. At this age a pup will often try to assert his authority, and it's important that you continue to be loving but firm in your insistence that he 'know his place'. It's for his own good in the long run.
Canine adolescence can be just as challenging as human adolescence, but it does end, and if a parent can be loving but firm in their guidance it makes the whole period much easier for everyone.
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