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.
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.
We just adopted a rescue chihuahua two weeks ago, and while I knew the breed was known for barking, I had no idea what I was getting into. We live in a condo building, and ours tends to bark when he hears noises from outside unit (which I can’t control). I find myself more sensitive to the barking because I know my upstairs neighbors can hear it, and I don’t want to them to make a formal complaint. I’m going to try #1 and #3 and see how it works (he doesn’t seem to enjoy going outside, so I don’t think exercise is the key for this guy). And now I also realize that saying “no” just made him think we were joining him.
Luckily, most dogs will quickly learn that being quiet will result in more rewards and attention through training and positive conditioning. While it may take a bit more effort on the front end, your ears and neighbors will appreciate the investment in training your dog to embrace their inner peace and quiet.
Give your dog more exercise and mental activities to let them have an outlet for their energy. Take them on an uphill walk or a hike instead of the normal daily walk. Train your dog in herding or agility activities for mental stimulation.
But first the good news. If your dog continues to keep you up at night, even after you have tried every humane method to calm it down, you’re far from alone. As the owner of two Chihuahuas, the notoriously “yappy” dogs, I have been woken up many a night from a deep and restful sleep for no good reason at all. In fact, Chihuahuas were named by the Houston Chronicle as one of the loudest dog breeds — along with breeds like beagles, huskies, dachshunds, terriers and basset hounds.
Some dogs bark excessively in a repetitive way, like a broken record. These dogs often move repetitively as well. For example, a dog who’s compulsively barking might run back and forth along the fence in his yard or pace in his home.
Territorial/Protective/Alarm/Fear: Because this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees. If he’s in a fenced yard, use solid wood instead of chain fencing. Indoors, limit access to windows and doors or cover them with an opaque film.
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.
This barking response is also known as alarm barking. It can be in response to people coming to the door, people or animals walking by your house, or other sights and sounds that alert the dog to the presence of someone or something crossing their territory. Territory can be your house, your yard, or even your car while you are driving.
The no-bark collar has received quite a few critics whose points should be brought to light. Bark collars, while they discourage problem barking can also discourage all barking in some more sensitive dogs. On the topic of sensitive dogs it is also true that some dogs can be particularly sensitive to one type of bark collar or another so it is recommended that you discuss all of your options with your vet prior to using a bark collar. For some dogs the shock collar is too painful, while others seem to be unaffected by it. For some dogs that still have the natural instinct to disguise their scent the citronella bark collar can start the dog rolling on the floor trying to disguise their scent with the citronella. For some dogs the ultrasound noise just does not deter the dog from barking so it really is beneficial to know your dog and know your options when it comes to using a bark collar on your dog.
Teach your dog the quiet command. The best way to quell alarm barking is by teaching your dog to be quiet on command. Like any training, this will most likely be a time-consuming process that requires patience and consistency. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, even the most territorial dog will learn to behave better.
“I tend to ignore it or actively get up and walk away if a dog demand barks at me,” Spaulding says. That’s because caving and giving dogs what they want can reinforce the behavior and encourage them to demand bark more in the future.
Other types of no-bark collars are just as bad, including those that squirt lemon juice, emit noises that are too high-pitched for human ears, or emit a citronella smell. The purpose of all of these is the same: The collar senses when the dog’s vocal cords are moving and an unpleasant response is made active. The result is to train the dog to stop barking through negative re-enforcement of the behavior. Negative re-enforcement, however, is not a good way to train dogs, and newer, more advanced training methods of training rely on positive re-enforcement. Punishments, if they still play a role in some training regimens, are not repulsive and hurtful to the dog, and might be something like a drop of water on the tip of the nose.