A behavior chain is a series of behaviors strung together. Your dog may learn to bark once or twice to get you to turn your back, say quiet, and feed him a treat. His short behavior chain is “bark – then be quiet.” To avoid this, be sure to acknowledge and reward him frequently before he even starts barking.
Busy toys: (helpful for attention seeking/demand barkers, boredom barkers and separation distress barkers) both boredom barkers and separation distress barkers benefit from having something to do when their people leave the house. Hard rubber toys that dispense treats are a great way to keep them occupied and happy when alone. They’re also great for dogs that bark for attention. For example, if your dog barks at you every time you get on the phone, give him a busy toy to keep him occupied while you make calls.
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)
Try to agree on a concrete solution. Rather than expecting your neighbor to put a stop to all barking, it might be more feasible to agree on a practical solution that works for both of you. Here are a few solutions that might apply; you can adapt them to your situation as necessary:
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
First of all, it’s important that you don’t get mad at the dog, as tempting as that may be. The dog is just being a dog and doing what dogs do. Instead, go to your neighbor directly. They may not be aware that there is a problem if the dog barks while they are away at work or out of the house, or they may already know the barking is an issue and are trying to work on it. Don’t make assumptions or accusations, and approach after you’ve had time to cool down.
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But, since dogs bark for various reasons, the first thing to do is to figure out why your dog barks, at what you might consider to be the most inappropriate times. Once you know the reason behind the uncontrollable barking, you can start to treat the problem.
White noise machine: (helpful for alarm barkers and territorial barkers) the machine’s steady unchanging sound is an easy way to cover incidental noises from outside like delivery trucks or people passing by that might trigger an alarm barker.
Sue the dog owner in small claims court. Even after getting the authorities involved, some stubborn dog owners won’t comply with requests to quiet the dog. If nothing else works, you can sue for nuisance in small claims court. The goal will be to make a case that the dog’s barking is preventing you from enjoying your own home. If you win, the dog owner will have to pay a small sum of money. Prepare to sue by doing the following:
Toys: Separation barkers benefits from having something to do when you leave the house. A hard rubber toy, that dispenses treats are a great way to keep them happy, and their mouth busy with something other than barking. Just be careful that the toy is big enough not to be a chocking-hazard.
Recognize separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can take various forms in a dog, but the most common signs of separation anxiety are destroying the house/apartment and barking incessantly. These behaviors are typically only engaged in when the dog’s owner is at work or otherwise out of the house, and if the dog is not destructive, some owners may not even be aware that their dogs have separation anxiety. Common signs of separation anxiety to look out for include:
Is your dog constantly barking? Maybe he just barks in all the inappropriate places and at the inappropriate times. Believe it or not, there is a strong possibility that it is your fault that the dog barks right now. Trying to punish him or using one of those horrible barking collars is something that you should never consider. Instead, here’s how to get your dog to stop barking the RIGHT way.
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.
At the “more” end of the continuum, the scent hounds are programmed to give voice to announce the presence of their quarry. Thus Beagles, Coonhounds, Foxhounds, and others in this group are quite vocal – although they do tend to bay rather than yap. Most of the herding breeds are easily incited to bark. Skilled at telling a recalcitrant sheep or cow to back off, these Type-A workaholic dogs also delight in playing the role of noisy fun police. Many of the toy breeds also have a well-deserved reputation for barkiness as do the terriers.
It may help to have your dog wear a head halter at times when he’s likely to bark (for example, on walks or in your house). A halter can have a distracting or calming effect and make your dog less likely to bark. Make sure you reward him for not barking. (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
Dogs bark because they are dogs, they bark to alert to danger or for attention. Many bark for food. They bark because they are happy, fearful, sad, anxious, frustrated, going deaf, scared or hurt. They howl at the sirens. Some howl at the moon. Some dogs bark to hear themselves bark and many bark because they are under stimulated and bored. There are so many reasons a dog could be barking. There are even dogs who bark because the sky is blue. Some dogs bark more than others. I am sure by now you get the idea. Dogs bark for lots of reasons. To help your dog, it really helps to get to the root of why your dog is barking and what they are barking it, and most importantly, what you may be doing to contribute.
If your dog is rewarded every time he or she chooses to come to you rather than woof, they will start paying much more attention to you than they do to cats or birds, and even if they do start barking at them, they will be much easier to recall.
So what is the best method to stop dog barking?; Without doubt it is a bark collar. The reason being it works on a level that is the basis of all dog training: consistency and timing. The moment the dog barks the collar goes off…every time! No human intervention can match the preciseness of a bark collar. The dog quickly learns that barking results in the correction, so as a result stops barking when the collar is being worn.
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. 🙁
What a shame to see you suggesting cruel methods such as citronella collars. Punishing and/or scaring a dog for barking is cruel and does not address the root issue(s). You should be encouraging people to actually _train_ their dogs (using scientifically valid, humane, force-free methods).
*Debarking is very controversial and is considered inhumane by many. It does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure in which the folds of tissue on either side of a dog’s larynx, or voice box, are removed, leaving dogs with a raspy bark instead of a full bark. Complications are common and can be life threatening, including breathing difficulties, higher incidents of choking, and ongoing pain. Dogs also have been known to regain their voices after the surgery. The procedure does not stop the barking, it only makes it sound different.
Best case scenario, the neighbors will be able to put their heads together to come up with a good solution that doesn’t leave anyone feeling ostracized. However, if the dog owner is unreceptive and the barking continues unchecked, you may have to change tacks and get authorities involved.
Each type of barking serves a distinct function for a dog, and if he’s repeatedly rewarded for his barking—in other words, if it gets him what he wants—he learn to use barking to his benefit. For example, dogs who successfully bark for attention often go on to bark for other things, like food, play and walks. For this reason, it’s important to train your dog to be quiet on cue so that you can stop his attention-related barking and teach him to do another behavior instead—like sit or down—to get what he wants.
I didn’t have much problem with barking at all until the trainer suggested I teach him to speak and then be quiet… Well he the first part is easy, the second part is selective at best. Basically it gave him a new hobby and me a new problem.
Use a phrase such as “Over here!” or “Quiet please!” as your interrupt cue. Say the phrase in a cheerful tone of voice when your dog is paying attention to you, then immediately feed him a morsel of very high value treat, such as a small shred of chicken. Repeat until you see his eyes light up and his ears perk when you say the phrase.