My little doggy who is 4 months old has just started finding her voice and barking. She doesn't bark excessively but I'm aware that this can develop into problem for small dogs.
I guess I just want a bit of resassurance and/or advice on how to handle doggy barking and making sure it doesn't become a problem.
She's a bichon/shih tzu cross and I have been following Gwen Bailey's perfect puppy book to the letter (and I'm knackered!). She's toilet trained, sleeps well, eats well, has two long walks a day (one urban and one country) and goes to puppy classes. 90% of the time, she's extremely well behaved. She was checked by the vet last week (anal glands) and she's in good health.
Is there anything I should be doing as she finds her voice? I'm a bit scared of doggy adolescence - will I be able to deal with it?!
Gentle advice and/or reassurance very much appreciated for a learner dog owner.
First of all well done. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. You will be fine with adolescence as long as you continue with all the positive, consistent handling and training you have already started.
I really like Kikopup's video on training your dog not to bark. Here.
Another way is to teach your dog to 'speak' and be quiet on cue. I like this video for a demonstration of how this works.
I taught my terrier to bark on the command talk. The idea being that if you teach the command to bark then you have more chance of stopping unwanted barkng. On the odd time he does bark he usually stops if I ask him to.