I’m not sure what to do with my rough collie. I understand her need to herd–we often let people walk ahead of us, just so she’s satisfied. Her issue is barking at anything on wheels, but not cars or bikes. The vacuum cleaner is her enemy. She growls, and snaps and nips. Even if I’m upstairs and she hears it moving, she goes crazy. The other annoying one is if anyone sneezes! She goes nuts! And squirt bottles/mops! Makes cleaning tough!What techniques do you recommend? Right now, I apologize for sneezing, and I put her in the yard while I vacuum, to remove the stimulus.
Possibly it is legal but it is most certainly not advised. Think about it — how long does it take to eat the biscuits? Because as soon as they’re gone, the barking starts again. And you’ve just reinforced the behavior you’re wanting to extinguish. Also, food is only useful as a training tool in the hands of someone who understands proper timing of rewards and is actually actively training the dog. A dog that nuisance barks is trying to communicate — boredom, anxiety, discomfort, loneliness, etc. The cause of the barking needs to be assessed and addressed by a trainer — who could be the owner or just someone who cares about dogs. Talk to the neighbor first.
Does she bark at every movement she sees through the window and every sound she hears? An easy fix for this is to simply block the view. Close the shades. Confine her to a part of the house that doesn’t have windows she can see through or if she stays outside in a fenced-in yard, keep her indoors rather than leaving her outside all day. She won’t bark at what she does not see. Play some music or the television, loud enough to cover outside noises.
Obsessive/Compulsive barking which is identified as excessive barking for no apparent reason or at things that wouldn’t bother other dogs. This may be accompanied by other compulsive behaviors such as spinning or jumping.
These are some great tips though, especially the journal idea. In the car I know all his triggers, but at home we may be missing some. I may have to break down and hire a trainer to work on the car stuff, I haven’t found (made?) the time to work on the long-term desensitizing that he needs.
Don’t use a muzzle or HusherTM as a substitute for training, or while you are absent. Your dog regulates his temperature through the mouth by panting and muzzles prevent your dog from doing this as well as drinking water and eating.
Remember, to a dog barking is often an escalation of other forms of communication. Therefore, just like you don’t want to reward a puppy for barking to get your attention, you also don’t want to reward them for lesser forms of negative noises like whining or growling.
When your dog barks do you have the tendency to yell something like “NOOOOOOO” or “STOOOPPP?” While you think you’re telling your dog to stop barking, they just think you’re joining in. So yelling won’t do you much good. Instead, when your dog starts barking inappropriately it’s important to stay calm. Develop a signal that alerts your dog to stop barking. That signal could be a look, sound, or physical correction. Below, I will go over the “quiet” command.
Try a new tone. Tone collars emit a loud, short tone at the first “woof.” That’s often enough to make Fluffy stop and search for what caused the tone — it eliminates boredom and the barking, often within minutes. However, the collar must be adjusted properly or can “punish” the wrong dog if a canine friend is barking nearby.
Once your dog is reliably going to his spot, vary where you are when you send him there. Practice asking him to go to his spot from many different angles and distances. For example, say “Go to your spot” when you’re standing a few steps to the left of it. After a few repetitions, move a few steps to the right of the spot and say, “Go to your spot” from that position. Then move to another area in the room, then another, etc. Eventually, practice standing by the front door and asking your dog to go to his spot, just as you might when visitors arrive.
Any pet parent that has had the misfortune of living with a dog that’s especially talkative, knows how irritating barking dogs can be. I mean, if your dog won’t stop barking at night or drives your neighbors insane with incessant woofs and ruffs, it’s time to do something about it.
Why? Because it HURTS. It physically hurts when he barks. Last time he barked was 30 mins ago and my ear is still ringing! Because it’s been tried and didn’t work. I love my dog but my patience has reached its limits. He’s LOUD. Even the vet, after I got him neutered and he had stayed overnight, told me he’s got a good volume compared to most dogs. She looked sorry for me.
Be assertive in your physical posture. Focus your body and calm energy on blocking the dog from the stimulus that seems to be causing the barking. Concentrate and remain calm to let your dog know that you are in charge and that the dog doesn’t need to worry about the stimulus.
It also helps to teach your dog a specific set of behaviors to do when people come into your home so that he has fewer opportunities to alarm bark. Plus, when your dog performs his new behaviors and receives rewards, he’ll learn that people coming into his and your space is a good thing.
HI Melissa, I think GSDs take barking to a whole nother level. And they really do need more basic training and more socialization than other dogs. Have you tried cutting visual stimulation in the car? Covered crate? Every seen a Calming cap? Sometime shades like the ones you buy for infants can help to. One thing that worked for my collie was a combo of the game Look at that (you can do a web search) and taking handfuls of kibble and throwing it at the window when he saw a bike or dog coming straight for us. Also having a dog savvy person extra set of hands in the car really helps–so you don’t crash! There is no shame in hiring a great trainer. It sounds like you are on the right path. Best of luck to you both.
So let me tell you how many times these tools SAVES dogs lives. Every hunting season! Citronella is a terrible training tool, just as much as a choker chain on leash. You know a very slight “nic” that lasts 1/100 of a second is safer than putting an enormous amount of pressure on a dogs trachea. Back to the hunting season. Being the Dog lover you are, I am sure you know that Game Dogs such a labarabor retriever LOVE to waterfowl hunt and retrive game. They live for it, it’s in their blood. They get so excited just seeing you grab your gear or even your jacket. Talk about mean, when I grab mine in the off season just to put on, it’s like teasing them. Anyway, when they hit the 38 degree water after being sent to retrieve, the only control you have is the E-Collar. You have a whistle but because they are off lead, there still is NO control. Now when that bird turns out to be not fully deceased or there is a strong current and the bird continues to move further away from the shore, you get a bit on edge. You whistle however the dog is SO FOCUSED on what they love to do, it continues going further and further out and I whistle and whistle and he keeps going knowing that if I don’t get him back right now, he may not make it back and either drown or succumb to conditions. Now remember, they love the water, warm and COLD. They don’t care, they are built for this. Well that’s where the E-Collar comes into play, I can instantly and safely “nic” him which will get his attention and he quickly spins around and heads to shore. We all go home safe and sound. Also, if you educated yourself about E-Collars, you will also learn that the best training in the world is instant correction. It’s the only way they understand because they don’t think and remember like we do when they are being trained. That’s why rubbing their nose in their own urine while your away doesn’t house break a dog. Instant correction and consistency works every time. So I’d ask that instead of making a broad and unfounded opinion, maybe it will help to understand the way it works. Just to make you feel better, the collars are high tech, cost hundreds of dollars and can reach out to a mile. They also come with 28 settings, from the slightest “nik” that the human hand can barely feel to more powerful for those that have a real thick coat and may need a little more power. I’ve never heard a dog yelp or cry out in pain. Thanks for listening.
Your dog might be barking in greeting if he barks when he sees people or other dogs and his body is relaxed, he’s excited and his tail is wagging. Dogs who bark when greeting people or other animals might also whine.
If you decide you want to give in, however, Spaulding says it’s best to do that after the first or second bark, if you can, because waiting teaches dogs they have to bark a lot to get what they want, and they may become very pushy in the future.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
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Getting your dog to bark less will take a lot of time and effort. You have to realize that it won’t happen overnight, but luckily you have various tools at your disposable when learning how to get a dog to stop barking.
Try bark deterrents. Bark deterrents like anti-bark collars are very unpleasant for dogs, and should only be used as a last resort when no other method has worked. Some people oppose bark collars because of the perception that these bark deterrents are punishment devices. Training works much better than punishment devices, and training will of course provide the best long-term solutions to behavioral problems, but if training hasn’t worked for your dog and your landlord has threatened eviction or police intervention, you may need to resort to a bark collar.
With technological advances, it is now possible to tech out your house to make you and your dog’s life easier when it comes to excessive barking. While many choose to use anti-bark dog collars, there are also less stressful options that may work just as well. So if you’re having a hard time learning how to get a dog to stop barking, maybe some of these gadgets will help:
When your dog sees or hears something in an area your dog considers his/her territory, excessive barking will often be triggered. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive during this type of barking and the barking will often get louder as the threat gets closer. It is good to note that this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory and people.
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.
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.
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.
Before we get into how to eliminate excessive yapping, remember that you don’t want to correct all barking. After all, if someone knocks at your front door when you’re not home, wouldn’t you rather your dog bark to deter a break in?
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience treating compulsive behavior, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these behavior experts in your area.
Here’s an important distinction to remember as a softhearted animal lover: Attention seeking is different from loneliness in dogs, says Ganahl. She explains, “Many dogs bark for attention, whether they want petting, the food you are eating or something else. It is important that you completely ignore your dog if you they are barking for attention, otherwise the barking will continue. If you tell your dog ‘quiet,’ ‘shush’ or any other vocalization to tell them to stop, that is considered attention to your dog.”
If your dog has trouble getting the message, you can also put a Kong filled with peanut butter in the crate so they have something to do besides bark. After they are quietly licking out the peanut butter, you can then let them out and praise them.
Dogs can bark if they’re being territorial and sense that you’re moving in on their turf. If you find that your neighbor’s dog barks every time you go into your yard or get close to the neighbor’s property, it’s probably being territorial. A good solution for this kind of barking is to block the dog’s view with a fence, some kind of screen, or some privacy bushes and trees. If the dog can’t see you, it is less likely to think of you as a threat.