If your dog barks when you sneeze you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark when I sneeze? Common causes are that it thinks you’re in danger, you have been rewarding the behavior, it scares your dog or, sometimes, that it causes it to become stressed.
There are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it. There are also multiple things you can do about it.
Why does my dog bark when I sneeze?
Below are common causes of dogs doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Your dog thinks you’re in danger
The cause might be that it thinks you’re in danger. This would be more likely if it does it more when you sneeze repeatedly, when you sneeze louder than usual and if it runs over to you. In this case, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training as mentioned below.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it barks when you sneeze, it will likely do it more in order to get rewards.
Instead, it would help to ignore it until it stops barking and then to reward it after it has been quiet for a while.
It scares your dog
The cause might also be that it causes your dog to become scared. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being scared such as crying, hiding and making its body appear smaller. Again, positive reinforcement training would likely help in this case.
It could be the case that it was previously punished when someone sneezed in the past and it now causes it to become stressed. This would be more likely if your dog starts showing signs of being stressed such as pacing or chewing on things.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out why it has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started barking at you sneezing
If it did not always bark when you sneeze, it would help to consider what else happened when if first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be because you sneezed a lot one time and it caused it to become worried or that it got rewarded when you sneezed before causing it to associate sneezing with rewards.
If it always does it
It would also help to consider if your dog always barks when you sneeze. If it does not always bark when you sneeze, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it only does it when you sneeze multiple times, it would be more likely that it thinks you’re in trouble.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows. If it shows signs such as wagging its tail, having its tongue out or jumping up at you, it would be more likely that it thinks it might get a reward for barking. Whereas, if it shows more anxious signs such as hiding or crying, it would be more likely that it becomes anxious when you sneeze.
How to get your dog to stop barking when you sneeze
Below are some things you can do to get it to stop doing it.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop barking when you sneeze you could do as follows:
- Play sounds of people sneezing quietly or imitate mildly sneezing yourself and reward it for not barking.
- Gradually increase the volume or pretend to sneeze more loudly and reward it when it does not bark
- If it starts barking, reduce the volume and build it up again.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has been getting rewards for barking when you sneeze. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it and to wait for it to stop barking before rewarding it.
Avoid punishing it
It might be tempting to shout at your dog to stop barking when you sneeze. However, this is not recommended since it is a form of attention and could actually encourage it to bark more. Instead, it would be better to ignore it and to reward it after it stops barking.
Try to distract it when you’re about to sneeze
Another option would be to give it something to be distracted by when you are about to sneeze. One way to do so could be to quickly throw it a toy to play with.
Why does my dog get excited when I sneeze?
If your dog gets excited when you sneeze, it would be likely that your dog thinks that you are communicating with it, your dog is not sure what you are doing or your dog thinks you are trying to interact with it. It might also be the case that your dog actually thinks you are in trouble.
Why does my dog come running to me when I sneeze?
If your dog comes running to you when you sneeze, it would be likely that your dog thinks that you are in trouble or that you are trying to communicate with it. It might also be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards from you if it comes running to you when you sneeze.
Why does my dog lick me when I sneeze?
If your dog licks you when you sneeze, it could be the case that your dog thinks that you are trying to communicate with it or that it thinks you are in trouble. It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Why does my dog run away when I sneeze?
If your dog runs away when you sneeze, it would be likely that your dog does not understand what you are doing and your dog might think you are trying to intimidate it. Alternatively, it might be the case that your dog thinks you are in trouble and it causes your dog to get scared.
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