This very cute but rare breed, the American Water Spaniel, tends to be on the chattier side. Neighbors report that he is barking when you’re not home, and even when you are home, he is barking at everything. And sometimes, his bark sounds more like a yodel. Most of the time, you’re not sure what he’s barking at, but he is barking quite a bit. Does he see something? Does he smell something? Is Timmy stuck in the well? Is there trouble ahead? Is there an intruder? Your chatty American Water Spaniel leaves you guessing all the time as to what he is alerting you to.
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The Root of the Behavior
American Water Spaniels were bred in the Midwest of the United States and were originally bred for hunting on both land and water. There are only 3,000 or so American Water Spaniels in the United States today. While not popular, the American Water Spaniel is still full of wonderful qualities. This rare dog is valued for his short curly coat, ability to withstand cold temperatures in water and energy to keep hunting for long stretches. His energy can seem endless and needs regular exercise. Because he is a hunting dog, he likes running, long walks, and playing games like frisbee or fetch. American Water Spaniels also bark to tell you they are happy or excited, or that they need some attention. He might bark because it’s dinner time or because he is happy you’re playing with him. He really just likes to tell you that he’s happy.
The American Water Spaniel was bred as a pack dog, which means his instinct is to protect and communicate with his pack. Now that you are his best friend and the pack leader, he is telling you everything he needs. He is treating you as one of his family and like that opinionated relative at holidays, he has a lot to say. He might also be warning you of people approaching, or in his mind, intruders and predators. And his alert system doesn’t stop when you’re not around. If he’s left alone too long, he’ll probably turn to barking. American Water Spaniels tend to crave companionship and activity. These dogs love being near people, whether its inside the house or outside in the yard and they need to be near people often. Without proper interaction, they will often develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety manifests as many symptoms, but one of the most common symptoms is excessive barking. In addition to barking, he might whine or howl.
Encouraging the Behavior
Your barking American Water Spaniel can become bothersome not only to you but neighbors as well if it is excessive. Your pup might begin barking at everything and you can’t have any peace in your home because he’s constantly making noise. Training your dog to stop barking on command is an excellent approach to reducing his barking. The first step towards this is making sure he has enough exercise and interaction. Your American Water Spaniel might be chatty because he is experiencing separation anxiety or because he’s not active enough. Schedule more time in his day for activity with you, both playtime and walks, as part of his routine.
If he relies on his schedule, he won’t be as concerned and hopefully be as chatty. If you’re not home during the day, consider hiring a dog walker to entertain him and break up the monotony of his day. Other things to consider when training your dog is consistency. He can start training as early as 8 weeks, so make sure your commands and responses are consistent. Verbal praise is an excellent reward. These dogs are harder to train than most because they are not responsive to common techniques or harsh ones. In addition to consistency, training an American Water Spaniel requires patience and respect.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The American Water Spaniel is a tougher breed to train, but it’s not impossible. If you’re struggling to train your dog to stop barking on command, consider taking him to a trainer. Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, so don’t rule out a medical one. If you’re concerned that something is medically wrong, call your vet for a consultation. If your dog is barking because he is sick, the vet can diagnose what is wrong and get him proper treatment. If your American Water Spaniel is experiencing separation anxiety, your vet can help identify if he has enough exercise and playtime and what you can do to improve his barking habit.
Just like people, some dogs are more talkative than others. It might be easier to ask your human friend to be quiet, but it’s worth working with your chatty American Water Spaniel, too. He is ready to play at a moment’s notice, incredibly friendly, and loyal to you. This is one dog worth training, so be sure to put in the effort and hopefully, your conversations will be shorter and quieter.