I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will create a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. Some bark collars emit a noise, some bark collars a blast of air or citronella and some use an electric stimulation between two points on the collar that limit the feeling to that area. They can all work. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.
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Try to agree on a concrete solution. Rather than expecting your neighbor to put a stop to all barking, it might be more feasible to agree on a practical solution that works for both of you. Here are a few solutions that might apply; you can adapt them to your situation as necessary:
The positive interrupt is a well-programmed, highly reinforced behavior that allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you when she’s doing something inappropriate like barking. Ideally, you want your dog’s response to the “Over here!” cue to be so automatic – classically conditioned – that he doesn’t stop to think whether what he’s doing is more rewarding or interesting than turning his attention toward you and running to you for a treat. He doesn’t think – he just does it, the way your foot automatically hits the brake of your car when you see taillights flash in front of you on the highway.
The standard dog training go to answer is to put an unwanted behavior on cue. By teaching your dog, a behavior it should only come out when you cue it. For dogs that have a lot to say (Finney!) this really helps get the edge off. My favorite reason to teach a dog to bark on cue is that at the same time we teach the “enough” or “stop” or whatever you choose to call it cue. Most of us think our understand what they are saying. Often they do not.
Remember, most people actually do want their dog to alert them that something is going on outside. It’s like the doorbell. You want to be able to hear it and know something is there, but you only want it to ring once.
If you prefer not to hold your dog’s muzzle or if doing so seems to scare your dog or make him struggle, you can try a different method. When your dog barks, approach him, calmly say “Quiet,” and then prompt his silence by feeding him a steady stream of tiny, pea-sized treats, such as chicken, hot dogs or bits of cheese. After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days or more of training, your dog will begin to understand what “Quiet” means. You’ll know that he’s catching on if he consistently stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet.” At this point, you can gradually extend the time between the cue, “Quiet,” and your dog’s reward. For example, say “Quiet,” wait 2 seconds, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time from 2 seconds to 5, then 10, then 20, and so on.
Dogs bark because it works, whether to scare off a perceived intruder, self-soothe, get attention or release frustration. Tackling your dog’s barking first requires that you identify the drive behind your dog’s vocalization. These are the most typical types of canine communication:
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’.
No one should expect a dog to never bark. That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively. If that’s a problem in your home, the first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why he is barking, you can start to treat his barking problem.
If your dog barks at any and every noise and sight regardless of the context, he’s probably alarm barking. Dogs engaged in alarm barking usually have stiffer body language than dogs barking to greet, and they often move or pounce forward an inch or two with each bark. Alarm barking is different than territorial barking in that a dog might alarm bark at sights or sounds in any location at all, not just when he’s defending familiar areas, such as your house, yard or car.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your yard, keep him in the house during the day and supervise him when he’s in the yard so that he can’t just bark his head off when no one’s around. If he’s sometimes able to engage in excessive alarm barking (when you’re not around, for example), that behavior will get stronger and harder to reduce.
Your dog probably has separation anxiety, as you must have noticed by now. When you have time, try training your dog by leaving the house for short periods of time (e.g., 2-4 min) and then gradually increasing the time. Eventually your dog will realize that every time you leave, you will always return.
Have a treat ready every time your friend comes to the door. Even if you’ve passed the point of giving treats during regular training, you may need to use treats for applied training sessions involving an actual perceived intruder.
Tony has been dog training (in association with his mother Jan Fennell) since 1999. The Dog Listener book has been translated into over 25 languages. He has been on radio and television on 4 continents and teaches the Amichien Bonding dog training process all over the world in English and French.
Matthijs B.H. Schilder and Joanne A.M. van der Borg studied behavioral effects of electric shock collars and came to the conclusion that shocked dogs showed more stress-related behavior than the control dogs — dogs controlled via human discipline instead of no-bark collars — the shocked dogs connected their handlers with getting shocks, and may even connect orders given by their handlers with getting shocked. What does this mean? Schilder and Borg conclude that, while they have not proven that the long-term welfare of the shocked dogs is affected, it is clearly under serious threat.
Are you irritated when you have some medical problems that cause pain and discomfort? Do you find yourself shouting without being able to control it as that happens? The dog can have a similar problem. There are various different medical conditions that lead to excessive barking. The really common examples of that are bee stings and gum problems.