This can occur inside or outside the house. However to keep things simple let’s imagine that it’s inside the house. Your dog hears a noise and jumps up, runs over to the window and starts barking at the people outside your house.
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
Luckily, most dogs will quickly learn that being quiet will result in more rewards and attention through training and positive conditioning. While it may take a bit more effort on the front end, your ears and neighbors will appreciate the investment in training your dog embrace their inner peace and quiet.
It is not difficult to build an area for the dog. All that is needed is a way to separate that area from other areas of the home or the backyard. You can use wood, furniture and special items that are found in pet stores. When the dog has his own play area, he can have his time and consume the energy that makes him want to keep barking.
Let’s look at this from the dog’s point of view. A dog in the home is in its den, and there are often potential threats passing by (anything could be a problem seeing as they are in a world they don’t really understand). Often, dogs will bark at the passing person/dog/bike/car/hot air balloon (this last one comes from personal experience a few years ago in the Netherlands). How many dog owners thanks their dogs for letting them know? What is the usual response to a dog barking? It’s OK, there is no need to tell me; I may not understand Dutch but I can tell if someone is happy or not…
If ‘free time’ is a rather large chunk of your dog’s day, it might be a good idea to up their exercise time (walks, playing in the garden) and/or mental stimulation (training, use of food toys, scent games) in order to tire them out and simply give them something to do that isn’t barking.
There was the time I was engrossed in writing an article and our dogs were alarm-barking ferociously. Resisting the urge just to tell them to stop, I reluctantly got up to investigate. No, the house wasn’t on fire, but I did find our horses running down the driveway toward the road.
The problem with shouting at a dog is that it thinks that you are upset as well. The problem is that it does not blame itself for your distress. It thinks that you are concerned about the threat too. Also, if you carry on shouting at your dog, it actually thinks you are joining in, thereby reinforcing its initial alert. I once met a couple whose dog would bark non-stop for 30 minutes. The only reason it stopped after a half-hour was because the wife’s voice stopped working, she screamed at it for so long.
Don’t bark back. Talk to your puppy with your tone of voice and body language — not just the words—to make sure he doesn’t misunderstand. Barking is also a joyful expression. Use a calm voice, or else yelling can make him think you’re joining the chorus, and he barks even louder.
There are a number of different collars available to stop barking. The most humane is the Husher®, which is a soft elastic loosely fitting muzzle, that stops your dog from opening his mouth to bark, but will allow him to pant, eat and drink. It can be left on while your dog is alone, and can be used as a training aid. If you hear your dog barking, say ‘hush’ and show him the Husher® and if he does not stop, put the Husher® on.
You’ll need that calm response when his loud greetings are directed toward arriving guests, too. If you use loud verbal reprimands you add to the chaos and arousal; your dog may even think you’re barking along with him!
Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog’s life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
Although easier said than done, you can slowly but surely train your dog away from barking or at least desensitize them to the stimulus. Dogs respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement training so make a barking dog treat jar for the yummies that will stimulate your dog to behave. Below are a few tips on how to get your dog to stop barking using treats, but remember that it’s important to be extremely consistent with your pet.
Territorial/Protective/Alarm/Fear: Because this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees. If he’s in a fenced yard, use solid wood instead of chain fencing. Indoors, limit access to windows and doors or cover them with an opaque film.
Your pet likes to greet you after not seeing you for a while. This can lead to excessive barking. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with a wagging tail and sometimes even jumping. This is one of the areas where owners, without being aware, reward their dog for their unwanted behavior. But more on this later.
Debarking or devocalization is a surgery performed under full anesthesia that removes all or part of a dog’s vocal cords. The dog can still make noise, but it’s more of a raspy, hoarse sound. Many animal rights and veterinary groups strongly discourage the practice.
Obedience collars will assess the effect of a problem and not its cause. If you really want to stop the dog from barking, you need to stop the cause or do something to fix the problem that exists. We have to add that it has been proven that shock collars are not as effective as they are advertised. Modern dog trainers see this method as something that should never be tolerated. You do not want to hurt the dog in order to get him to do something for you. He loves you and will want to please you. He might not really love you anymore when he realizes that you abuse him.
Dog poop eating is GROSS, but not necessarily detrimental to your dog’s health, and it can generally be stopped. Sometimes Coprophagia (when your dog eats his poop), can be an indication of more serious problems though, and you should have your pal checked out by a vet.
I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. But he barks a lot. So, leaving home is always a challenge for us.
Greeting/Play: To stop a dog from going into a barking frenzy every time you come home or the doorbell rings, you’ll need to teach him other behaviors. One way is to train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when the door opens. It’s best if they can see the door, but not be too close to it. Pick a spot and practice getting your dog to go there and stay, but don’t touch the door yet. Use lots of treats and praise, making it a game.
I would NOT use one. We had a sport dog no bark collar and we recently found two large holes and missing hair on our dogs neck. She just had surgery and came out with five stitches and on a bunch of medications.
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In dog training, before we can fix any issue, we need to understand it. Barking is a very natural way that dogs vocalize. It’s a dog’s main form of communication, along with growling, grunting, yelping, whining, sighing and howling.
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.
What’s more, they can actually do more harm than good by causing your dog unnecessary stress and even pain. Plus, using devices that punish pets will likely damage the bond between you, meaning your dog is less likely to follow your instruction in future, and can lead to further problem behaviours.
Boredom: The bark of a bored dog sounds like a dog that barks just to hear her own voice. Though it tends to be annoying, it is also kind of sad. Bored dogs often bark to release excess energy, and sometimes bark out of loneliness. They usually need an activity and perhaps even a companion.
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.
When your dog can consistently stay in a sit or a down on his spot for 30 seconds, while you turn away and walk to your front door, you can start to introduce some distractions. Tell your dog to stay, and then do something distracting. At first make your distractions mild. For example, start by bending down or doing a single jumping jack. Over many sessions of training, gradually intensify your distractions to things like running a few steps or tossing a treat on the floor. Reward your dog quickly after each distraction for holding the stay. If he breaks the stay, quickly say “Uh-uh,” ask him to sit or lie down on his spot, and try again. When your dog can stay while you do all sorts of distracting things, ask him to stay while you go to the front door of your home and pretend to greet someone there. Your goal is for him to learn to stay the entire time you’re at the door.
This is caused by one of two reasons. It could be an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when a dog is on lead or at the other side of the road, which is known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, it could be a “GO AWAY, you are scaring me” situation, also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
When training your dog to stop barking, you should set up training exercises rather than waiting for the mailman to ring the doorbell. Begin training by doing the basics like come and stay (check out my other blog posts in the links). Be sure to reward your dog generously so that he knows to pay attention to you. Have a friend or family member do something that would typically trigger dog barking – like knock on the door. See if you can get your dog’s attention. The second he looks or even glances at you, reward him. If you can’t get your dog to stop barking after the trigger, take some steps backward. Wait until you can get your dog to do the simple tasks, like come and stay. Then, have your training partner lightly knock on the door or even tap the door with a finger. If you can get your dog’s attention, reward liberally! This may take several training session, so stick with it! Within a few weeks, you should be able to stop your dog barking!
Of course with all dog training the more your dog takes notice of YOU the better! (Something I’ll explain a bit more later on…) So if your dog is not taking a blind bit of notice then we need to go back a couple of steps and get their focus and attention first!
Puleeeze – I’ve been doing the “we’re stopping and we’re not moving until the leash is loose” crap for MONTHS with my 10 month old and he STILL immediately lunges to the end of the lead and pulls the instant I start moving again. When it’s tight and I stop he turns to look at me, excitedly, and loosen sometimes, but the instant I move he’s jerking me along again. Apparently the consequence of not moving isn’t severe enough, so I’m moving up to a choke chain because I’m tired of his crap. I’ve had 2 MRIs and a trip to the ER because of injuries caused when he’s seen a cat (I have to walk two puppies at the same time at least once a day – at least she’s smaller and more easily reigned in).