Barking is completely normal dog behavior and stopping nuisance barking will not mean your dog won’t bark at all. They will still let you know if there is an intruder, the aim is just to get the barking to a more manageable level.
Reward the absence of barking: (helpful for all barkers) when your dog opts not to bark in a typically triggering situation, make a big deal of it. Most of us are used to tuning into our dogs only when we want to correct the bad behavior and we forget to acknowledge the good. If your dog sees someone out the window and looks to you instead of barking, give him a treat. If he dashes around the yard with his best dog pal without offering commentary, praise him. If his ball rolls under the couch and he chooses to sit and wait for you to get it instead of demanding immediate help, give him a pat and fetch that ball! Even though barking is a deeply rewarding behavior for dogs, it’s possible to get a handle on it with time and patience.
Teaching replacement behaviors may be time consuming, but ultimately it is the best way to encourage desirable behavior. Instead of responding to your dog’s vocal requests to play, for example, teach her to bring her favorite toy to you and set it on the floor.
Repeat this process until your dog learns to associate the word “quiet” with her silence. Once your dog has done this successfully on 10 or more occasions, you can begin giving the quiet command without showing her a treat. If she still complies with your command, then give her a treat. If she does not, you may need to show her the treat for several more training sessions.
“Barking is driven by a whole bunch of things,” says Dr. Kristina Spaulding, a certified applied animal behaviorist from upstate New York, “and while some dogs don’t bark much, they’ll sometimes find other ways to show their emotions or signal that they want something—like pawing at you, jumping, mouthing, stealing things, or finding other ways to get into trouble.”
Teach your dog tricks. Learning and practicing tricks is an excellent way to prevent boredom in dogs and discourage compulsive behavior. Tricks require focus, attention, and retention of lessons, which can occupy your dog both physically and mentally.
Let’s take a look at what happens in the dog’s mind during an ”extinction burst”. The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and fed the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding.
The collar wasn’t used properly and you obviously weren’t interested in the welfare of your dog if you weren’t checking how it was affecting it. Sounds like the collar was on constantly without checking to make sure it wasn’t hurting the dog. Maybe you had it turned all the way up. A lower setting barely shocks.
If your dog’s barking has got to the stage where you are considering using a bark collar, before you do, please speak to a qualified behaviourist. You can contact one through your vet, or visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website. If you rehomed your dog from Blue Cross, simply get in touch with the centre you rehomed your pet from for free, expert behavioural advice.
Try ignoring the barking and waiting till your dog stops. If simply waiting silently doesn’t work, calmly ask them to “sit” or “lie down”. Once they are calm and have stopped barking, praise them with lots of fuss or a treat.
We took the steps of talking to our neighbor. They got some kind of a squirt collar for the dog when he’s left alone outside, and when he barks, it seems to have helped. A lot depends on how ignorant and inconsiderate your neighbor is. I’d start with trying to make contact and starting a discussion, explaining why it’s a problem. Try to enlist their help before indicating further steps might be necessary. You might be surprised. The ignorance may be that the owner had no idea the dog was doing that. If all fails, then you would be justified in involving the authorities.
Outside: Dogs that bark only outside are usually displaying territory barking, anxiety, frustration, or guarding behavior. They will often bark at the edge of the fence if anyone comes near or because they are bored.
You are exactly right. People who are lucky enough to not have a dog that barks a ridiculous amount don’t know the frustration of this problem for owners and neighbor. Pretty sweet to get a dog early enough to train it not to do this. Many dog owners have dogs that have already developed constant barking and something had to be done to be fair to the neighbors who are the biggest sufferers.
Dogs are social animals who like to live in groups and it is common for them to become upset when they are left on their own for longer than they feel comfortable with. This is called ‘separation anxiety’ and we have lots of information about this here.
Dogs also bark if they are anxious, so medications can be used in the short-term to help your dog learn some coping skills. They need not be permanent. While there are some excellent dog trainers, there is little regulation in the industry, so skills and methods can vary. Ask your veterinarian to recommend someone if they can’t help.
If your dog barks at any and every noise and sight regardless of the context, he’s probably alarm barking. Dogs engaged in alarm barking usually have stiffer body language than dogs barking to greet, and they often move or pounce forward an inch or two with each bark. Alarm barking is different than territorial barking in that a dog might alarm bark at sights or sounds in any location at all, not just when he’s defending familiar areas, such as your house, yard or car.
Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990’s moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy’s personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.
No matter why your dog is barking, some general training will help keep his mind occupied and wear him out. A tired dog is a happy dog. Regular walks in the morning can help, even just a 15 minute walk around the block is better than nothing. Two walks a day would be perfect. If you work long hours, consider a dog walker, doggy daycare, a play-date with a friend’s dog or asking a someone to visit in the middle of the day.
Behaviorists may have a number of different types of titles, but essentially any kind of behaviorist must have earned a master’s degree or a PhD in animal behavior. Typically a behaviorist with a doctoral degree will be called a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), while a behaviorist with a master’s degree will be called an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).
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.
So let me tell you how many times these tools SAVES dogs lives. Every hunting season! Citronella is a terrible training tool, just as much as a choker chain on leash. You know a very slight “nic” that lasts 1/100 of a second is safer than putting an enormous amount of pressure on a dogs trachea. Back to the hunting season. Being the Dog lover you are, I am sure you know that Game Dogs such a labarabor retriever LOVE to waterfowl hunt and retrive game. They live for it, it’s in their blood. They get so excited just seeing you grab your gear or even your jacket. Talk about mean, when I grab mine in the off season just to put on, it’s like teasing them. Anyway, when they hit the 38 degree water after being sent to retrieve, the only control you have is the E-Collar. You have a whistle but because they are off lead, there still is NO control. Now when that bird turns out to be not fully deceased or there is a strong current and the bird continues to move further away from the shore, you get a bit on edge. You whistle however the dog is SO FOCUSED on what they love to do, it continues going further and further out and I whistle and whistle and he keeps going knowing that if I don’t get him back right now, he may not make it back and either drown or succumb to conditions. Now remember, they love the water, warm and COLD. They don’t care, they are built for this. Well that’s where the E-Collar comes into play, I can instantly and safely “nic” him which will get his attention and he quickly spins around and heads to shore. We all go home safe and sound. Also, if you educated yourself about E-Collars, you will also learn that the best training in the world is instant correction. It’s the only way they understand because they don’t think and remember like we do when they are being trained. That’s why rubbing their nose in their own urine while your away doesn’t house break a dog. Instant correction and consistency works every time. So I’d ask that instead of making a broad and unfounded opinion, maybe it will help to understand the way it works. Just to make you feel better, the collars are high tech, cost hundreds of dollars and can reach out to a mile. They also come with 28 settings, from the slightest “nik” that the human hand can barely feel to more powerful for those that have a real thick coat and may need a little more power. I’ve never heard a dog yelp or cry out in pain. Thanks for listening.