Dogs communicate through barking, howling, and other complex physical cues. As for Pomskies, they do not bark as much. Some Pomskies bark more than others depending on stimuli, age, gender, and past experiences.
Stimuli or trigger is what causes a dog to bark. This could be the mailman, a squirrel frolicking through the yard, skaters, etc.
If your Pomsky is barking a lot, identify the trigger and work to manage it. Training and behavior modification can also change the dog’s response to stimuli.
It’s not possible to completely stop barking nor should you want to as it may be helpful in some instances. This article is a guide for dealing with a Pomsky that barks a lot. Read on.
Why do Pomskies bark a lot?
You need the why to come up with the how as barking can occur for different reasons. Interpret each woof within the specific context, body language, and other visual cues. Incorrect assessment may worsen the vocalization.
At times it may be hard to tell why your Pomsky barks.
Some common reasons for barking are;
- To alert of and warn off intruders (Alert/territorial barking)
- Fear (Alarm barking)
- Boredom and loneliness
- To manipulate for resources such as attention, food, etc (Demand barking)
- Frustration and despair (Frustration barking)
- Natural instincts and in response to other barking dogs barking/howling (Social barking)
- Excitement and play
- For self-amusement (Compulsive barking)
If your Pomsky is wailing, whining, and showing signs of discomfort, get him checked by a vet. Don’t ignore a pooch that barks because of illness or injury.
1. Boredom and loneliness
Pomskies are high-energy dogs and are hard-wired for social interactions. They become bored and destructive when their exercise needs are not or when left alone.
When left alone they may also suffer from mild to severe separation anxiety. This is because they feel vulnerable in your absence. A lonely Pomsky will whine, bark, drool, chew, scratch, make escape attempts, and so on.
The barking can also begin as the dog anticipates your departure. This is because dogs are quite intuitive and can pick up patterns such as;
- When you pick up your keys
- When you wear cologne or your coat
What to do
Meet your Pomsky’s exercise needs. Walk him more and play games like tug and fetch for his physical stimulation needs. Also, provide puzzles and interactive toys for mental stimulation.
Dealing with barking that occurs in your absence can be a challenge. As such, you should set up a doggie cam to watch the dog’s behavior.
Also, ease your furry friend into the idea of being alone. Let him know that you will return each time you leave and it is not a big deal.
Don’t reassure him as you leave or return as this stimulates him and worsens his anxiety. Instead, be nonchalant about it and return without making a fuss. Pick your keys and wear your cologne at random when at home without leaving.
As you leave, ensure you exercise him and leave him with interactive toys.
If you are away for too long, hire a dog walker or drop him off in licensed doggie daycare.
Get him used to a crate, playpen, ex-pen, or gated-off room as his safe space. Anxious Pomskies don’t do well with the whole house to themselves. This is because it increases their feeling of anxiety.
When crate training your Pomsky, keep the door open and let him investigate it himself. Put his toys, water, treats, and food in the crate and make it as comfortable as possible. As he offers to get in it more, close the door for some minutes before opening it and going back to what you were doing. Let him out at random times to explore and run around.
Repeat and increase the duration he stays in the crate more and more. Walk out of his sight and be calm as your return each time. Only return when he is calm and relaxed. If you step back as he barks, he will think you are there to rescue him and reinforce the barking. Barking=Seeing my favorite hooman.
Vary the time you are away- 5 mins, 1 min, 20 mins, 7 mins, and so on. It’s good practice not to leave him for too long in the beginning stages.
If he makes a fuss, take a few steps back and repeat as you build duration step by step. Also, if he barks in your presence ignore him and only pay attention when he stops barking to catch his breath.
Do not rush as training takes time and consistency.
Also, have him relax in his crate for about 20 minutes before leaving to make it easier for him.
2. Alert/Territorial barking
Pomskies can be quite protective of their territory and what they own. They may bark at intruders such as birds, the neighbor’s cat, a tennis ball, the mailman, cars, etc. The barking intensifies as the intruder gets closer.
And since barking is self-rewarding, the barking is likely to repeat. For instance, if he barks at the mailman and leaves, the barking works, reinforcing it.
What to do
Management is everything in the beginning. First, acknowledge what the dog is barking at. If he barks at people through the window, walk over and block his view while looking at the trigger and leading him away. Be calm as you signal to the pooch the situation is handled.
You can also block his exposure to the stimuli by closing the drapes or leading him behind a pet barrier. If the dog is in the yard, bring him indoors.
Another trick is to disengage him while he is barking using a food lure or leash pressure correction. Do not jerk or yank the leash. Let him smell the yummy treat and use it to lure eye contact. Breaking the fixation on the “intruder” is likely to stop the barking. Barking and looking at you at the same time are incompatible. Mark and reward the instant he stops barking.
You can also use the correction marker NO, NOPE, or Ah-Ah each time he fixates on stimuli and is about to bark.
If you have visitors around, take him to a back room and only let them meet if he is calm. Lock him until they are gone if you cannot bring him under control.
When meeting, the visitors should be dog-neutral and should act like he does not exist. Don’t allow them to pet the dog or offer treats. The dog may find himself too close for comfort and react in an inappropriate manner. Instead, sit the dog next to you and offer treats yourself. Work at the dog’s pace and only allow him to initiate contact if he wants to but in a calm state.
Let him realize that barking at people is not acceptable.
Counter-conditioning is behavior modification training to change the dog’s emotional response to stimuli. This could be noises, other dogs, birds, the doorbell ringing, and so on.
The key is to expose the dog to the stimuli in small doses and lure the dog with a high-value treat. Use a reward that motivates the dog more than the stimuli.
Door rings, draw eye contact, mark (YES, GOOD…) then reward. Draw eye contact before he gets over his emotional threshold. Repeat until he offers to look at you each time the door rings. Do this with different stimuli as you move to more distracting areas outdoors.
Make him realize when it is inappropriate to bark.
3. Fear/alarm barking
Alarm or fear barking can be at anything that scares the dog or something unfamiliar. It is also likely to develop as the dog goes through adolescence. It may also develop due to a past traumatic experience such as a close call with a skateboarder.
The dog may attempt to hide behind you with his tail tucked between his legs.
As the threat gets closer, he may growl with an aggressive posture, or be leash reactive. The leash heightens his nervousness as he feels trapped by it as he attempts to get away.
What to do
Dealing with a fearful Pomsky will depend on;
- Its severity
- Your skills
- The dog’s flexibility in behavior modification
In the beginning, management is everything by avoiding negative experiences. Walk your dog during quieter times and routes. Only walk around the neighborhood within his comfort zone.
Asking your dog to sit in threatening situations will not work. This is because he is less likely to listen to you in a heightened state or after he reacts.
Remain calm as your encounter any threat as being anxious only worsens his aroused state. Break his line of sight then lead him away in the opposite direction before he reacts. Reward for calm behavior or the instant he stops barking. Use a head halter (Gentle Leader) for smoother walks.
Only allow off-leash play within your yard and keep him engaged as people, cars and other dogs pass by. If he barks or is aggressive, take him back inside and block his view of the stimuli.
If the dog is fear-aggressive, pulls on the leash, and lunges, having him in a muzzle may be necessary. The muzzle should be fitting and one he can drink and pant through. Smear some peanut butter inside it and allow him to lick it as you hold it before putting it on.
In the long term, desensitize and build positive associations with various triggers. Use high-value treats without getting too close for comfort. With time distance will resolve itself as the dog builds more associations. If the dog reacts, you are too close and should increase the distance and reward for calm.
Let the dog initiate any interactions.
4. Demand barking
Demand barking is usually used to manipulate resources. This could be attention, treats, food, going outside, for play, or a toy.
You want to ignore attention-seeking behavior. Do not look or yell at him as any attention even negative attention will be good attention. Any reward will reinforce barking and make it worse. Go make a coffee, read a book, turn on the TV, put on earmuffs-anything to take attention away.
He may go into an extinction burst where the barking intensifies before it stops.
Only give attention the instant the barking stops and he is in a submissive state as a reward. Barking=No attention and Silence=Attention and Rewards. If he barks, switch off again and turn your back on him.
If you are outside, make him stop outside until he stops barking to bring him in.
Also, teach the dog an alternative way to communicate. For instance, you could teach him to ring a bell to go outside or bring a toy for play.
5. Excitement barking/howling
Oftentimes, a Pomsky will bark of excitement during play, mealtime, when you arrive, and so on. It can also be because he has seen something exciting and wants to say hi or in anticipation of something good. The dog may wag his tail and run in circles.
If he is not able to say hello, the barking could turn to frustration barking.
In this case, interrupt and disengage the dog, redirect him to do something else then reward for calm. This can be best achieved using a correction marker or the Watch Me command.
Look/Watch me command;
Use a yummy treat to lure eye contact. Hold it between your middle and index finger and cover it with your thumb. Let the dog sniff it to disengage him and lure the eye contact by moving it close to your face then reward.
Ensure you reward for looking at you and not the treat. Move the treat to the side, and withhold until he offers to look. The instant he looks, YES, treat, treat. The dog looks away, wait, the dog looks, YES, reward. You can use the opposite hand to produce the treats so he cannot predict where the treat will come from. Give treats one at a time.
Repeat until the dog offers to look at you more, then name the action with a verbal cue. Watch or LOOK, lure eye contact, the dog looks, YES, reward. The verbal cue should always precede hand movement. Progress as you reduce the number of treats and phase them out of training.
There is no timescale to this and everything will progress depending on the dog. So, be patient and work at the dog’s pace while keeping the training session short.
6. Social barking
Pomskies bark or howl in response to other dogs even in the dead of the night. This could also be similar sounds such as a siren, a piano, a dog on the TV, and so forth
Dealing with this kind of barking needs teaching the dog impulse control.
Desensitize the Pomsky to arousing sounds to change his response. Expose the dog to stimuli, break his focus before he reacts, and mark and reward for calm. You can use a lure, verbal or physical correction to break his focus. Raise the noise level with each successful attempt.
Do this with different triggers and locations.
7. Compulsive barking
Any barking can turn into compulsive barking for self-amusement. This is because the dog enjoys it as it is self-reinforcing. It is often coupled with spinning, running along the fence, and so on.
The slightest of stimuli such as falling leaves and light can trigger a barking frenzy.
Do not ignore the compulsive barking. Instead, correct to break the barking and ask for actions incompatible with barking.
Also, exercise him more to reduce the motivation to bark due to boredom.
How to stop Pomsky barking
It’s best to desensitize the dog to barking triggers to change his emotional response. Show the dog what not to do, what to do, and mark and reward for obedience.
Start low as you increase exposure to stimuli. Do not rush as any good training takes time and consistency. Work at your dog’s pace for the best results.
What’s more keep training sessions short and fun and always end them on a positive note. Use high-value rewards to keep him motivated.
Train the quiet command
First, train your Pomsky to bark on command. Get him to bark at stimuli you can control such as withholding a treat or toy to frustrate him. Use whatever triggers the dog best. The instant he barks, reward to encourage the barking.
Dog barks, YES, treat, treat. The dog is silent, wait, the dog barks, YES, treat, treat, treat. As you progress, add a verbal cue (SPEAK, BARK…) before you trigger the bark. The dog forms an association with the cue to the barking.
From here, teach him to shush on command. Get him to bark then let him sniff a yummy treat on your hand. The treat is likely to stop the barking. If he ignores, use a harmless correction to disengage him. The instant he goes silent, YES, reward, reward. If he barks, withhold the treat and wait for him to go quiet. Repeat this a couple of times as you build duration on the silence. Soon add a verbal cue (QUIET, SHUSH…).
Verbal cues should always precede any body movement or hand signals. This is because a dog is more likely to respond to visual cues than verbal ones. As such, separate the two.
As he improves, alternate between BARK and QUIET as you reduce the number of treats. Also, add distractions to imprint the commands. Use firm, loud and consistent commands. The marker pinpoints the exact moment the desired behavior occurred.
Each command takes time to learn. Teach each command separate from the other, and be firm, patient, and consistent. Don’t shout or show frustration if things are not going well.
Keep the dog engaged;
Have your dog in the right mood for training as you begin for engagement.
Use motivating rewards that are more interesting than the barking trigger. This could be a yummy treat, a toy, play, and/ or a lot of praise.
When using food rewards, cut them into sizeable chunks- not too small nor too big. Use food lures to move the dog to the intended direction such as your eyes.
If the dog tries to steal the food lure, hold it flat against your leg, stand still and say nothing. Wait until the dog offers a desired behavior such as sitting before you mark and reward. This teaches the dog to listen to you for a reward. Jackpot him for impeccable behavior.
Start training in a distraction-free environment. Increase the distraction level as the dog becomes a better learner.
A distracted and aroused dog is less likely to listen and work with you.
Be calm and collected. Your dog can sense anger or anxiety, think something is off, and worsen his reaction.
A marker pinpoints the exact moment the dog performs an action before a reward. The dog learns the reason for the reward depending on what he was doing at that point. The reward should come within a second of desired behavior which is not always possible. The marker acts as a bridge between the action and reward.
This could be a positive (YES/GOOD) or negative marker (NO/NOPE/Ah-Ah).
Use the negative marker each time the dog makes a mistake and withhold a reward. The moment he redoes a desired behavior mark and reward.
Use a positive marker for anticipation of a reward. The marker should come within half a second of the desired behavior. For instance, the dog looks at you, YES, treat, treat. YES=Reward and NOPE=No reward.
Have a pause between the marker and hand movement to reward.
The marker should sound the same every time without tonal change or inflection or the dog will interpret it differently.
Barking correctors are a last resort for disobedience. Correct the dog to interrupt barking and disengage him from the stimuli. Use corrections for territorial, excitement, frustration, and compulsive barking. The correction should not cause Pomsky harm.
- A sharp unpleasant noise such as a metal can with coins in it, an air horn, your voice, or clapping.
- Applying leash pressure
- A spray of water is directed at the dog’s mouth or muzzle. Add lemon or vinegar to make it more unpleasant but avoid his eyes.
- Reinforced correction markers such as NO or NOPE. with the same effect as a physical correction. To teach it, say the marker (NO, NOPE, STOP…) followed by a harmless physical correction. The dog learns to associate it with a physical correction and for the same effect.
- Bark collars. This can be an ultrasonic, citronella, or shock collar. The collar delivers an unpleasant deterrent whenever the dog barks. Bark collars may not be effective as some dogs learn to bark at a low intensity without triggering them. Other collars are triggered by other sounds or other dogs barking other than your own pooch. Don’t use an E-collar on a fearful Cocker Spaniel. Citronella and ultrasonic collars are milder and more humane.
Only use a shock collar with the recommendation of a professional. Incorrect use causes more harm than good, especially for a fearful Pomsky.
Barking is how dogs communicate. The key is to reduce incessant barking other than stopping it with the tips above.
I hope this guide helps you exactly with that.
Share your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below.
There you go, WOOF!