I don’t have a problem with leash aggression with my dogs, but two out of three of them bark PERSISTENTLY on the lead and during walks. They aren’t barking at anyone or anything in particular – It’s entirely excitement based… And it’s so bad that I can’t walk them anymore. I improvise their exercise by playing fetch games (making them run) and taking them down to our field to let them run riot there. I miss being able to walk them though. The pulling I don’t mind really (I know it’s not ideal tho) but the barking at everything out of being so excited…It’s incredibly frustrating and embarrassing. 🙁
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.
In reference to the leash article above….we react on leash when we see other dogs on our walks. What our 5 y.o BSD male (neutered) does is he turns on me snapping…has bitten me….with a glazed over look in his eyes. We have been dealing with this for a few years and so he wears and accepts a muzzle when we go out…for my safety. He is ok with our 2 y.o. male GSD through lots of careful positive associations in baby steps. However, it breaks my heart to see him so freaked out with strange dogs along our walks. (We walk at odd hours to enjoy our exercise but not have ‘encounters’). Any new suggestions would appreciated. I had bad luck with 2 separate trainers and refuse to deal with another as the boy suffered for our mistakes. Thank you.
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.
Citronella spray collar – Citronella spray bark collars use a burst of citronella spray to reduce and ultimately eliminate excessive barking. They may not always be as effective but research shows that they are less harmful and cause less stress in dogs.
Introduce training early, and start the quiet and place commands as soon as they can understand them. This type of early positive conditioning will help ensure that your dog never becomes a problem barker in the first place.
It is vital that you determine why your dog barks in the first place, and if barking mostly occurs when your dog is left alone, a behaviour consultation with a qualified pet behaviour counsellor will likely be necessary to address this problem. Similarly, if your dog barks at people or dogs when out and about, or at visitors coming to the home, a simple tip is unlikely make a difference and a comprehensive assessment will be needed to help improve your dog’s behaviour.
I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
As pet parents, we already work hard and tire ourselves out every day, it’s a major ask for us to use extra energy just to tire out our dogs, so try to find ways you can make your dog’s existing exercise more strenuous. Here are a few ways you can turn up the volume on everyday physical activities.
There’s a reason we get scared of things that go bump in the night — as humans, we fear the unknown, and dogs also feel the same nighttime anxiety. “If a dog is fearful, they may bark at any noise they hear that is scary to them or startles them. They may also bark as an ‘alarm’ to tell those around that something is going on that they should be aware of,” says Ganahl.
At DoodyCalls, we spend a lot of time with our dogs. In fact, our dog Rusty—who looks a whole lot like our mascot Doodle—sleeps right next to me at night. Although hard to wake up in the morning, once he’s up he says hello with a good morning kiss and quickly gets ready to go to work.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your car, teach him to ride in a crate while in the car. Riding in a crate will restrict your dog’s view and reduce his motivation to bark. If crating your dog in your car isn’t feasible, try having your dog wear a head halter in the car instead. (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
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?
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)
You can work with a trainer to practice desensitization techniques with your dog. It will help your pet become accustomed to barking triggers and ultimately be a worthwhile instrument in your toolkit when learning how to get a dog to stop barking. Remember, training takes consistency and patience, but the long-term rewards are worth it.
Separation distress: dogs that don’t like to be alone engage in this pitiful bark. It is not the same bark made by dogs going through true separation anxiety, as distress is a milder and more manageable form of canine discomfort than true separation anxiety.
You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go.
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!
Getting a new dog means that the other dog has someone to play with. The only problem is that you want to be sure that you get the dogs to like each other. You want to talk with your vet or with a trainer and get some help with that. A great idea is to get another dog of the same breed but when this is not possible, you want to make sure that the old dog does not feel threatened. In some situations the owners will start to favor a dog and that can hurt the relationship with the other one. Make sure that you can offer equal love if you decide to get a second dog.
As you extend the amount of time that you’re out of your dog’s sight or behind closed doors, you should incorporate counterconditioning methods like a puzzle toy to keep her distracted. Try adding this component once you’re behind closed doors or out the back door for at least 10 to 20 seconds at a time.
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.
The first step toward reducing your dog’s barking is to determine the type of bark your dog is expressing. The following questions can help you to accurately decide on which type of barking your dog is doing so that you can best address your dog’s problem. Think about your answers to these questions as you read through the information below on the different types of barking and their treatments.
(Now if you are thinking “Well that won’t work with our little Rover, he NEVER gives up”, then there are a lot of other tips and tricks which will convince even the most stubborn barking dogs that it’s best to be quiet, which I’ve added at the end.)
If your dog typically barks when someone comes to the door, ask him to do something else at the same time like a place command. Tell him to “go to your mat” and toss a treat on his bed at the same time the doorbell rings, suggests the Humane Society. He should forget about the barking if the treat is tempting enough.
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices that shock, make an ultrasonic noise, or spray citronella when a dog barks. They are not good first choices for solving barking problems, especially when the barking is based on fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, you should consult with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. These should only be considered when all other methods have failed.
You can’t correct them if you’re not at home. I have a 5 year old bulldog/dalmation mix. When I rescued her, literally off the street, I lived in a house, with a yard. Unfortunately I went through a nasty divorce and she and I are forced to live in a condo. She barks all day while I’m gone. I leave the radio on, a fan…anything that will cover up noise or distract her. I walk her 3x’s a day and wear her out at night. She still barks. People don’t want to put a bark collar on their dogs. It’s unfair for you to be so condescending and judgemental. My neighbors complain constantly. What would you have people do? Put them down? Give up their pets?
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.
We rescued a lab and we’re told she was locked up in a chicken coop and neglected Over the past few years she has been great except for one continuing problem. When she sees other dogs, especially in the car, she barks ferociously and at times claws at the window. Over time we have learned that although she appears agressive, she actually is just wanting to get to the to see them. She does the same thing to a lesser degree outside and as soon as she meets the dog she is fine and never agressive. My thought is it stems from the past neglect and yearning for attention Any thoughts on how to address this, especially in the car?? Thanks
It’s important to note that electric shock collars are illegal to use on dogs in Wales. If you use these on your dog in Wales, you face a cruelty conviction, a fine of up to £20,000 and six months in prison.
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!
Whenever you leave the house, try giving your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food. Something hollow that can be stuffed with treats, spray cheese, or low-fat peanut butter will keep your dog occupied for at least 20 to 30 minutes, which may be long enough for her to forget that she was afraid of you leaving.
Create distractions. With some dogs it does require an interrupter or distraction to take their mind off of the stimulus to bark. In other words, there has to be something that breaks the concentration on the barking. In some cases the intensity is too high for a verbal command to cut through the behavior. The interrupter in that case may be another noise, such as using a tool that emits a high frequency sound when the dog barks. This is not a pleasant sound to the dog and interrupts his barking. A beanbag, a piece of chain and even a can with pebbles or coins in it, can provide the interruption too. It works like this – the dog barks and this loud object lands on the floor in front of him. You act as though it came from “Heaven.” Now he thinks every time he barks for no reason or if he continues unnecessarily, something falls from the sky.
Patrick has been a long-time dog adopter and currently lives with his two dogs – Tarzan and Loki – in Brooklyn, NY. He is a certified dog trainer, writer on all things dogs, animal shelter volunteer, freelancer researcher of animal sciences and aspiring author.