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Can I stop my dog barking in the garden?

(Q) My two-year-old Smooth Fox Terrier barks constantly when he is in the garden. He reacts at the slightest noise yet out on walks nothing troubles him. What’s wrong with him?

(A) Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw says: The terrier breeds can be very reactive to perceived threats to their territory, particularly if they can hear rather than see the disturbance. To some extent you want him to alert you to the fact that someone is approaching your front door, but not everyone else’s door as well!

Take him out into the garden with a light line attached so that you can quickly get hold of him. As soon as he opens his mouth, pick up the line and hustle him indoors saying nothing at all.

Don’t rely on being able to take hold of his collar, use a line — you need to respond instantly. Give him a short ‘time out’, then take him outside again and repeat the process every time he barks. It may take a little while for him to make the connection between his actions and the consequences, but stick with it.

For the time being do not let him go out in the garden on his own. Ensure you accompany him so that you can react instantly to any barking. If this has no effect on his behaviour then that could suggest either he prefers to be inside or you’re not removing him from the garden fast enough.

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