Have your dog bring you a present. Another way to keep your dog’s mouth closed is to encourage her to bring a “present” to you, a guest, or someone in your home; or to simply to encourage him to enjoy carrying objects. Dogs that enjoy retrieving will often pick up a toy and carry it around just to show their pleasure. Naturally dogs cannot bark when they are holding a toy. But be careful not to give the toy when dog barking is in progress or the dog could mistake the toy as a reward for barking.
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. They may be giving a warning to animal, sounding an alarm, playing or instigating play, joining in the excitement of the moment, demanding a reaction (even using it as a command), doing it on command, out of fear and the need to drive another animal or object away, and sometimes dogs bark just for the sake of barking. On occasion it can be a combination of any of these. When puppies bark it can be insecurity after leaving the pack.
Once they understand the concept under less-stimulating circumstances, gradually ask them for silence in more challenging scenarios. Eventually, they will work up to even ignoring the archenemy at the gate.
It’s a lose-lose situation no matter which side of the fence you’re on. Whether it’s your dog that’s barking or your neighbor’s pooch that won’t stop flapping his jowls, nobody’s happy … including the dog.
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
One of the most common reasons why a dog barks is that he is bored or wants to play. If you identify boredom as a reason for the barking, the solution is incredibly simple. All that you have to do is use a toy. Hand the dog that favorite toy. Alternatively, take him out for a walk.
Punishment is generally frowned upon in the veterinary behavior community, but at least in this case the punishment is not too traumatic and it does help your dog not to do the behavior. In some cases where you have received noise complaints from the neighbours, it can be a quick fix. The citronella collar and shock collar are two devices that punish the bark and are unreliable and can lead to learned helplessness. They can go off randomly while the dog is not barking and even when they work correctly, the dog usually has no idea what he is receiving punishment for.
Most people try this but they make a crucial mistake. They yell at the dog or simply use a tone of voice that is really bad. The main thing to remember here is that you want to show the dog that what he is doing is wrong. You do not do this by shouting. In fact, when the dog hears you shout, he might become even more impatient and may end up barking even louder.
I have a cocker spaniel rescue dog which I have had now for over a year – he is red colour and is now 18 months old. Hunter has had issues since we got him in that he growls if you go near his toys, food etc he is clearly resource guarding. However during the time we have had him his behaviour has worsened. He now chasing lorries, vans and buses, he growls for no reason whilst in the home, he has snapped, growled and ‘gone for’ all of us, never actually bitten but I suppose the threat is there.
Try to keep meeting and greeting under control. When you or a family member comes home, ignore your dog for the first couple minutes. When people come to the door, teach your dog to sit and wait until the person comes to him; this will bring control and anticipation to the greeting rather than barking.
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.
Please note that there there are instances of excessive barking for which it is a good idea to seek the advice of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer first.