Depending on your dog’s age and physical abilities, you can exercise her in a number of ways. Long walks are good for older dogs, while younger dogs might enjoy going jogging with you, chasing a ball for a game of fetch, playing tug-of-war, or other interactive toys.
If ‘free time’ is a rather large chunk of your dog’s day, it might be a good idea to up their exercise time (walks, playing in the garden) and/or mental stimulation (training, use of food toys, scent games) in order to tire them out and simply give them something to do that isn’t barking.
“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.”
Before you can train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when a door opens, you’ll need to teach him how to sit or lie down and then how to stay. After your dog has learned these skills, you can progress to Step 2.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 10 to 20 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a startling noise by shaking a set of keys or an empty soda can filled with pennies. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he’ll stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him to sit, and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this procedure doesn’t work after 10 to 20 attempts, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for guidance.
Before we dive into the “how” of stopping dog barking, we need to look at the “why” of why they’re barking in the first place. There are lots of reasons dogs might bark from play to defense, but in the case of excessive barking at home it’s most often separation anxiety. If you listen carefully, you can start telling the difference between the various sounds:
In case this strategy doesn’t work, the only option you have is to invest in sound-proofing your home, or consider moving away, so it’s best to hope you have a neighbor who is willing to train their dog.
It also helps to teach your dog a specific set of behaviors to do when people come into your home so that he has fewer opportunities to alarm bark. Plus, when your dog performs his new behaviors and receives rewards, he’ll learn that people coming into his and your space is a good thing.
The point is this: Dealing with a dog that won’t stop barking day or night is frustrating for everyone. Figuring out the behavioral problem that is causing your dog’s barking could save your sanity and keep the peace.
If your dog likes toys, keep a favorite toy near the front door and encourage him to pick up the toy before he greets you or guests. If he learns to hold a toy in his mouth, he’ll be less inclined to bark. (He’ll probably still however).
Teach “hush”: (helpful for territorial barkers and alarm barkers, as well as some excitement and play barkers) sometimes we want our dog to bark for a short time to alert us to people at the door, but many of us would like to be able to stop the barking after a few minutes. Teaching your dog the “hush” command can short-circuit a dedicated barker. The next time your dog barks at something, place a treat in your hand, walk up to your dog and put your hand in front of his nose so that he can smell the treat but can’t get to it. He should stop barking to sniff at your hand. Once he’s quiet and sniffing say “hush” and toss the treat a few steps away from him. Repeat the process until you can just say “hush”’ without needing the hand prompt in front of his nose, then give him a treat. In time, you should be able to say “hush” and your dog will abandon the barking and come to you for his reward for being quiet.
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.
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:
Pheromone-based treatment: Diffusers mimic the “calming pheromones” given off by female dogs and will help soothe dogs that bark due to the stress. You might not see a dramatic shift in behaviour but keep in mind that the chemicals are milder than medication, but is an easy and affordable way to take the edge off.