Outside, you might consider putting slats in the chain link fence to cut down on his visual access to the world surrounding his yard (better yet, install a privacy fence) or put up an interior fence to block his access to the more stimulating parts of the yard. Given that alarm barking will inevitably occur, it’s also useful to teach him a positive interrupt – a cue, other than “Shut up!” that you can use to stop him in mid-bark. (See “The Positive Interrupt,” to the right of this page.)
Use a silent dog whistle. There are mixed reviews on whether these devices work, but many have found success with them. Silent whistles make a sound that dogs can hear, but humans can’t, so your neighbors won’t even know you’re using it. Whenever the dog barks, blow the whistle. it may take a number of attempts, but eventually the dog will associate barking with the piercing noise of the whistle, and stop barking.
Dogs want to and need to be busy. They have to be mentally challenged. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done. When he barks too much, it might be because he is bored and one way to solve this is to go for obedience training. The great thing about it is that he will also learn that Quiet command that you might have difficulties in training him. At the same time, training will help the both of you to establish a much stronger relationship as you will end up understanding each other at a whole new level.
Ok, our’s goes nuts when she sees an animal on TV (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone rides by on a bike or skateboard (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone walks by on the sidewalk (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if she sees any animal….ever (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if kids play in their yards (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if a neighbor mows their lawn (lunging, snarling and barking). I’ve been trying to train her by providing instant, unwavering correction, but she is unable to resist her instincts. She is unable to break her focus without being strongly corrected. Frankly, I’m sick of fighting with her. I’m for the bark collar or a remote controlled training collar.
Make helpful suggestions. It’s possible your neighbor is well aware of the issue, but isn’t sure how to get the dog to stop barking. If you’re pretty sure you know what the problem is, there’s nothing wrong with making suggestions. This is especially effective if you’re a dog owner, too. You can commiserate over how tough it can be to get a dog to stop barking. Here are a few common problems you might consider bringing up:
Once he stops barking, call him to you, praise him, and fulfill his request, as long as it’s reasonable. However, if he is barking for food, do not reward him with food, treats, chews etc. This will simply reinforce begging and instead of barking, he will switch to pawing at you or some other attention getting behavior.
This is caused by either an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when your dog is in another room from you; also known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, the dogs is saying, “GO AWAY, you scare me”; also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
It is understandable that a dog barking all the time can be annoying and even distressing, but if this happens when you are at home and you know that your dog is barking at something outside, try thanking it instead of what you may have one before. You are letting your dog know that you are aware the situation and (most importantly) you are calm. This is vital in encouraging a dog to calm down. If you get animated and/or annoyed, the dog feels your adrenalin level rise too. The thing it is barking at must be a problem in that case.
Wait until your dog is engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful tone of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
Instead, use your positive interrupt to invite your dog to you, and calmly put him in another room or on a tether – then greet your visitors. You may want to tape a note to your door advising guests that you are training your dog and it may take you a moment or two to answer the door, so they don’t give up and go away.
Desensitize your dog to solitude. If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety, she most likely will not be cured overnight. A good way to get your dog more accustomed to solitude is to gradually desensitize her to being left alone and reinforce the fact that getting ready to leave does not mean abandonment. This is a slow process that will take several weeks of practice and consistency, but should prove effective for long-term results.
I should add here that many years ago (when I was pretty new to dog training) I used to think that barking could all be sorted out with the same approach. Now I’m a few years older and wiser (hee hee), and I can see the error of my ways.