Response to Stimulus: Dogs also bark when they hear or see something interesting. For example, if your dog barks or howls when a fire truck siren screams by, it isn’t necessarily to guard you. Some dogs just want to join in or let you know something different is happening.
One tool that may help with this training is a head halter. It looks somewhat like a combination collar/muzzle, but it allows the dog to breath and drink. Used with supervision (never leave it on the dog when he is alone), it may have a controlling and calming effect on your walks and at home, reducing the likelihood of barking. A head halter does not replace training, rewards and praise, but is a tool to help you in your counter-bark training.
As previously mentioned, there are many reasons why dogs bark. Sometimes it is to warn of danger, but it could also be a sign that something is wrong with your pet. WebMD explains the many reasons for dogs barking:
Dogs feel the owner’s energy. If the owner is mad, the dog will get mad. If the dog owner is calm, he will end up calming himself. Whenever trying to talk to the dog in order to get him to stop barking, you have to be calm and assertive. This is easier said than done but if you manage to tell your dog a simple command like “Quiet” in a calm voice tone, he will understand that something is wrong.
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.
Responding to Other Dogs: This is probably a familiar scenario. One dog down the street starts barking, and one by one the rest of your block joins in. It’s like a cacophonous rendition of Row Your Boat.
What seems like excessive shedding can be normal for some dogs, but it can also be the result of stress, poor nutrition or a medical problem. Your veterinarian can best determine if your dog’s hair loss is part of the normal shedding process or is a symptom of an underlying disorder. Excessive shedding can sometimes be prevented through proper nutrition. Quality pet-food manufacturers work hard to include the right amount of nutrients so that supplements are not needed, but dogs with allergies and/or sensitivities still might need to experiment with different brands and formulations to discover which food works best for them. We recommend that you consult your veterinarian for advice on what foods will best suit your dog.
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’.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
Dogs naturally will bark to warn you, and this may become a problem if there are lots of things your dog sees, such as birds, cats and people walking by the fence. He may feel the need to alert you to every small thing that approaches. Sometimes it is as simple as blocking off a gate to block the stimulus of people walking past. Dogs will also bark out of boredom, or because they are worried about being alone.
The key concept is to keep control at all times. In other words DO NOT LOSE control of your dogs (think of a horse that has bolted from a stable)…a dog who is off leash and does not respond to a recall is by definition “out of control”.
“Typically, if a dog is barking in an aggressive context, it’s actually fear based,” she says. “People are often confused by that because if dogs lunge and bark at the same time, that must mean they’re aggressive, but often, it seems to just be a display to keep them away from something they find scary.”
Hunter has been to training classes when we first got him and was great however became food possessive with the treats and therefore aggressive towards other dogs. We felt this made him and his behaviour worse so after the course completed we never signed up for the second course.
Alternatively, you can teach your dog to “speak; once he’s doing that reliably, signal him to stop barking with a different command, such as “quiet”, while holding your finger to your lips (dogs often pick up body signals faster than voice commands.) Practice these commands when he’s calm, and in time he should learn to stop barking at your command, even when he wants to bark at something.
Get other neighbors to file the same complaint. If the authorities get multiple calls about the same dog owner, they’ll be more likely to take action quickly. There’s definitely strength in numbers in this situation, so rally as many people as you can to remedy the situation.
I notice that the halti or other head collars were not mentioned. I have a breed that is just made to pull and I have finally found a head collar that works for us although I would love to modify the part that goes over the nose. (I actually have purchased two of similar design and a mix of the two would be ideal) The person who makes the one I am using is a bit of an um, interesting character on the fb page and on the web but thus far the apparatus works really well for control. I really don’t want my dog at heel for the whole walk, but as the article says, the dog’s idea of walking right along and mine are pretty different, particularly as I am now more disabled and use a cane. We used to walk one to two miles a day, but that has become impossible so we are mixing a play date with a friend and shorter walks a couple of times a week. What the walk has always been for us is a time to practice those things his fluffy brain would like to forget!!
Anxiety: Anxious barking often seems to be an act of self-soothing for many dogs. It is often high-pitched and sometimes accompanied by whining. This type of barking is common for dogs with separation anxiety.
Rule out medical problems. Sometimes barking is your dog’s way of indicating to you that she is injured or sick. If there is a chance that your dog might have some medical problem or injury, you should take her to see a vet as soon as possible.
Meet your neighbor in person. Hand-written notes can be ignored and don’t lead to a dialogue. Communicating the issues you’re having with your neighbor’s dog is key. If you find that they are new dog owners and don’t have much experience, you can point them to helpful training guides like this one or recommend a local trainer.
Dogs bark for various reasons. If you want to modify your dog’s barking behavior (either decrease it or increase it) it’s helpful to know what kind of barking your dog is doing, how the behavior is being reinforced, and what to do about it.
2. Territorial/Defensive Barking. Barking at the postman or other dogs walking past your house. Most dog owners will experience this type of dog barking and often encourage it to keep intruders from the house.
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.
Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
Demand barking is easiest to extinguish early. The longer a dog successfully demands stuff, the more persistent he’ll be if you try to ignore him. However, ignoring him is the best answer to this behavior. No treats, no attention – not even eye contact. The instant the demand behavior starts, utter a cheerful “Oops!” and turn your back on your dog. When he’s quiet, say, “Quiet, yes!” and return your attention – and treat – to him.
This is what’s generally known as “Separation Anxiety” because your dog after separation becomes anxious. I should add here that this stress results not only in barking, but can also manifest in destructive behaviour, chewing, injuring themselves, escaping, and excessive digging.
A young, energetic dog craves lots of exercise and attention from you. Thirty minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise in the morning will go a long way toward helping your dog settle down. For the first few weeks, you may need to have someone come over at lunch to exercise him again.
If you train your dog to “speak” on command, then you can then teach him “quiet.” Next time your dog barks, say “speak” while he’s doing so. Once he’s mastered this, ask him to speak when he’s not distracted then say “quiet” and hold a treat near his nose. When he stops to sniff the treat, praise him. Master this in quiet atmospheres, then try in more distracted environments such as after he’s barked when someone comes to the door.