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Canine Library: General

Motor Mouth

Dogs can be conditioned to ignore noisy household tools.

Such "action tools" as lawnmowers, vacuums, mops and rakes are considered fair prey by many dogs, especially terriers, and the barking bouts quickly become a bad habit. Indoors, put the dog in its crate and let the vacuum run right beside it. Stay in the room, but ignore the uproar. When the dog stops for a second, get in a "Good dog." When it is quiet for a moment longer, turn off the vacuum and let the dog out.

Encourage a close inspection, If your dog barks, say "No bark" and repeat the exercise. Leave the vacuum out in different rooms until it is no longer a threat and you can move it and turn it on and off without a barking accompaniment.

Go through a similar saturation process with the rake and lawn mower, using a sit-stay on lead instead of the crate. Be sure to leave the tools out where your dog can examine them while they are not in use. A quiet "Good dog" will tell the dog which behavior has your approval.

Author(s): McLennan, Bardi
Publication: Dog Fancy
Issue Date: June 1993

Canine Library: General