For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
Instead of a no-bark collar, why not try training your dog traditionally, using voice and hand commands? This would help with other training issues that your dog might have, such as obeying commands, potty training, and playing well with other dogs at the dog park. Issues such as those are not at all solved by putting a collar on the dog that harms him when he barks. You will find that a lot of the issues you might have had with your dog are solved with the proper training regimen early in life. You can read up on the best new training methods in books or training manuals, enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend, or hire a personal trainer for a few hours per week if you cannot afford training school.
Personally I feel horrible about it but we just had to get a shock collar for our dog today. We own a town home and today our neighbor told us she called our association and reported us for his barking. He’s always been a very well behaved, easily trainable dog, so we decided to let him stay out of his crate while away since we hate having to lock him up when we leave for extended hours occasionally. Day 1: absolutely great. He stayed in the baby gated area. Day 2: did not go well at all. He escaped the area, ate the cat food, pooped all over the house, chewed up tons of things… Behavior that he has never displayed before even when left out briefly. He was put back in the crate and ever since we’ve been having issues. He tries to escape it. He’s somehow dented it and he’s only 40 pounds. Tried covering and he ate the blanket. He’s even got scratch marks on his face from trying to escape and when he does, he destroys everything. Again this is a dog that has always been happy, never barked, never chewed anything up, never misbehaved. The only naughty things he did prior was potty a couple times as a puppy and I caught him licking my pizza when I went to use the restroom… Other than that he gets nothing but compliments on his great behavior. We moved his kennel to different areas of the house. We’ve left TVs on for background noise. But nothing works. This is brand new behavior and we have had him almost 2 yrs since he was 4 months. Our neighbor constantly is complaining and calling us that he’s barking when we leave. The issue is we have only caught him 1x. We’ve definitely tried the whole routine of acting as if we’re leaving hoping we’ll catch and correct him. Putting him away and everything but quietly standing in the house for up to a half hour and heard absolutely nothing. We’ve caught him once when we came home where we could hear him outside barking from inside. Our neighbor has called us asking when we are coming home and just basically harassing us. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t work, so she is always home. We have tried numerous attempts to give him positive reinforcement taking him for walks, giving him treats, and giving him lots of love and affection before putting him in his crate. The neighbor still calls complaining. Nothing works. This is behavior that’s been going on for about six weeks. We had to get the shock collar because we really had no other choice except for let him continue then get more calls to our association and be told that we’re not allowed to have him anymore.
While I wouldn’t reward a dog barking to boss you into getting their dinner, I would respond to an empty water bowl or a request to go to the bathroom. Part of being a good dog owner is learning to understand your dog’s barks, and to respond to genuine needs.
If your dog barks a lot when left and you are unable to resolve this by following our tips, you are likely to need help from a qualified dog behaviourist to address the problem. You can find one by contacting your vet, or on the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website.
Crate training your puppy. A puppy barking in his crate may stop if covered with a cloth sheet so he is not stimulated to bark by what he sees. With a cover over it, the crate also feels more like a den and hence more secure. Some puppies will stop barking if allowed to sleep in their crate next to the owners’ bed, or with a belonging that smells of the owner or their siblings. When your puppy is in the crate do get to know the sounds he makes and unless it is an emergency for the bathroom do not go and open the crate or let the puppy out when the puppy barks. If you do he will learn to bark demanding to be let out and in this way tell you what to do. Sometimes a squirt bottle of water can be used to direct a spray at a puppy that barks in the crate but I have seen dogs that enjoy this too and make a game out of it. Plus, it can make quite a mess.
Remember, to a dog barking is often an escalation of other forms of communication. Therefore, just like you don’t want to reward a puppy for barking to get your attention, you also don’t want to reward them for lesser forms of negative noises like whining or growling.
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.
Once your dog barks, get their attention on you. Once they stop barking to look at you, say your command. It can be “Quiet,” “Enough” or “No Bark.” The phrase doesn’t really matter as long as you are using it consistently.
Is your dog barking over and over again at the same object, person, situation, or place? Then you need to step up and claim that stimulus as your own. Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.
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:
In situations such as when the postman or visitors come to the door or a phone rings and your dog becomes very vocal, teaching them to perform a behaviour that simply takes your dog’s mind off barking should do the trick.
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.
Introduce training early, and start the quiet and place commands as soon as they can understand them. This type of early positive conditioning will help ensure that your dog never becomes a problem barker in the first place.
Many owners can identify why their dog is barking just by hearing the specific bark. For instance, a dog’s bark sounds different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from the yard. If you want to reduce your dog’s barking, it’s crucial to determine why he’s barking. It will take some time to teach your dog to bark less. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect a quick fix or to expect that your dog will stop barking altogether. (Would you expect a person to suddenly stop talking altogether?) Your goal should be to decrease, rather than eliminate, the amount of barking. Bear in mind that some dogs are more prone to barking than others. In addition, some breeds are known as “barkers,” and it can be harder to decrease barking in individuals of these breeds.
When your dog can consistently stay on his spot for at least 30 seconds, with you standing in front of him, you can start moving toward the door. Say the cue “Go to your spot,” walk with your dog to his spot, ask him to sit or lie down and ask him to stay. At first, just turn your head away from your dog. Then turn back to give him a treat and release him from the stay. After a few repetitions, make things a little harder. After your dog is sitting or lying down on his spot, ask him to stay and then take one step toward the door. Return immediately, give your dog a treat and then release him from the stay with your release word or phrase. Gradually increase the number of steps that you take away from your dog and toward the door. Eventually you’ll be able to walk all the way to the door and back while your dog stays sitting or lying down on his spot. (Don’t forget to keep rewarding him for staying!) If your dog stands up or leaves his spot before you release him from the stay, say “Oops!” the moment he gets up. Then immediately tell him to sit or lie down on his spot again and stay. Wait a few seconds and then release him. You may have progressed too fast. Next time, make the exercise a little easier so your dog can succeed. Ask him to stay for a shorter period of time and don’t move as far away from him. When he’s successful at an easier level, you can gradually make the exercise harder again. Never end your dog’s stay from a distance. Instead, always return to him, say “Yes,” give him a treat, and then say “Okay” to release him.
To bring attention/request barking under control, you need to start by stopping–stop rewarding the barking and stop paying attention to the barking. For this, a training method that helps to stop jumping up is good idea. When your dog barks for attention or for food, cross your arms and turn your back on him. If he continues, walk out of the room.
Unsurprisingly, this image has an effect on young Tony, so I would call out, “Mum! There’s someone at the door!” adding, “possibly an axe-murderer…” under my breath. If Mum was upstairs vacuuming, I would say it louder. When Mum heard me, she would come into the living room and say “Thanks, love”. As I was a smart child (my avoidance of potential psychotic lumberjacks being a good example of this) I would then stop calling for Mum. It would have looked odd if I had carried on, especially if the visitors walked into the living room to find me gibbering away. Now, if upon hearing me, Mum had come downstairs and told me to shut up, or even hit me for letting her know, that would have been ridiculous.
Barking is a completely natural behavior for dogs, but we humans don’t always appreciate it. In your dog’s mind, however, there’s a good reason to bark, so the first thing to do is figure out why she wants to bark in what you consider the most inappropriate times.
Shock collars are similar to citronella and ultrasonic collars, but instead deliver a brief electric shock to the dog’s neck. These collars typically have a number of different settings to change how intense the shock is, and if using one of these collars it is best to use the lowest setting possible to prevent injury to the dog. Again, these should only be used as an absolute last resort.
The secret to stopping the behavior is therefore to never give in. The worst thing that can be done is giving in some days and resisting others. This puts the dog on a ”variable schedule”. What this means is that if the dog barks and gets fed one day and not the next day, the behavior of barking only puts more roots because it works in the same way as ”playing the lottery”. People get hooked on playing the lottery because of the variability of it. Slot machines are based on this principle.
Customizing a training solution for your dog’s specific type of bark will make it much easier to stop, and in some cases, prevent the barking from happening. The following tips are a mix of management solutions, which are easier to implement, as well as training suggestions, which require more time and dedication on your part.
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
Looks like no one has posted for a couple of years, but I wanted to thank you for the article. I have a 45 pound hound/border collie, and she pulled on the leash and drug me around. I use a harness so she doesn’t choke herself. I got a 16 foot retractable leash and used the reverse method, and say “this way.” Wow, it worked! She’s quite intelligent and eager to learn, as well. Within a half hour she caught on and I noticed her cueing in to me more for direction. Using a retractable leash is really good because it clicks loud enough for her to hear when I push the button, and she stops pulling and looks to me. I even got her walking beside me with no problem. We had the best walk ever and after a half hour we were walking with a loose leash. Most dogs really do want direction and to please their handler. So, thank you again! This was exactly what we needed!
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