Basically, the point is to redirect their focus away from barking to an activity that you can reward. You can also redirect them to a toy or a game of fetch. After all, it’s tough to bark when engaged in a fun tug session.
If barking is a problem on your walks, using some of the same methods utilized in loose leash training may help. Hold treats in your hand, giving some out as you walk along. The idea is to encourage your dog to focus on you and not any distractions. Let him sniff and see the palmed treats from time to time so he knows what you have. Use a special treat that your dog doesn’t normally get and keep the pieces small so your dog can chew and swallow them easily while walking. Train your dog to “sit/stay” while people pass, allowing him to say hello only if the other person wants to. Praise, reward, and consistency are very important to make this work, but after a few days or a week, you should see a marked difference and can start spacing the use of treats farther apart.
Does your dog bark at the doorbell? Do you not even have a door bell, but your dog barks at ones on TV? Does your dog bark at car horns? When certain people come over? All these things and more! can be addressed with training and desensitization. They do not just up and go away on their own. You have to work at it. My next blog post will be a How to – Desensitization.
Once you can open the door and your dog will stay in his spot, have someone actually come in the door. Of course your dog will break from the spot at first, but with time and practice, he’ll learn to stay in his spot when the door opens and guests come in.
Dogs occasionally become compulsive barkers, meaning they bark in situations that aren’t considered normal or they bark in a repetitive, fixed or rigid way. If your dog barks repeatedly for long periods of time, apparently at nothing or at things that wouldn’t bother other dogs, such as shadows, light flashes, mirrors, open doors, the sky, etc., you may have a compulsive barker. If your dog also does other repetitive behaviors like spinning, circling or jumping while barking, he may be a compulsive barker. To help reduce compulsive barking, you can try changing how you confine your dog. For instance, if your dog is tied or tethered, you can switch to keeping him loose in a safe fenced area, or if he’s left alone for long periods of time, you should increase exercise, mental stimulation and social contact.
As the owner of four dogs, two of whom are very vocal, with a third quite willing to express himself on occasion, I can testify to the domestic dog’s ability to speak. Interestingly, while wild puppies bark, wild adult dogs rarely do, at least not to the degree our canine companions do.
Patrick has been a long-time dog adopter and currently lives with his two dogs – Tarzan and Loki – in Brooklyn, NY. He is a certified dog trainer, writer on all things dogs, animal shelter volunteer, freelancer researcher of animal sciences and aspiring author.
So you have a dog barking problem – What solutions are out there? Trying to stop your dog barking should start with finding out why it is barking in the first pace. This article looks at some motivations for dog barking, what works and what doesn’t!
Keep greetings low key. Teach your dog to sit and stay when meeting people at the door so that he has something to do instead of barking. This will reduce his excitement level. First teach him to sit and stay when there aren’t any people at the door so that he knows the behavior well before you ask him to do it with the distraction and excitement of real visitors arriving.
When your dog masters going to his spot, start asking him to sit or down when he gets there. As soon as your dog’s rear end hits the floor on the spot, say “Yes!” and reward him with a tasty treat. Then say “Okay,” and allow him to move off the spot. Repeat these steps at least 10 times per training session.
Whenever you leave the house, try giving your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food. Something hollow that can be stuffed with treats, spray cheese, or low-fat peanut butter will keep your dog occupied for at least 20 to 30 minutes, which may be long enough for her to forget that she was afraid of you leaving.
If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a ‘Let’s Go’ cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash.
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.
Greeting/Play: To stop a dog from going into a barking frenzy every time you come home or the doorbell rings, you’ll need to teach him other behaviors. One way is to train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when the door opens. It’s best if they can see the door, but not be too close to it. Pick a spot and practice getting your dog to go there and stay, but don’t touch the door yet. Use lots of treats and praise, making it a game.
I recently adopted a 5 year old beagle. Sometimes she pulls, but other times she just stops and refuses to move. This dog never plays. ignores the ball, tug rope and toys I have purchased for her. I use the chest harness for her but sometimes she tries to get out of it by backing up. She has succeeded a couple of time. I have tried all the options mentioned in the blog. Some days I can get her to walk nicely but other days she is very obstinate.
Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs) are certified by an independent organization. In order to become certified, a prospective CPDT must complete a rigorous hands-on training program, pass a standardized test, and provide letters of recommendation.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the fact that dogs are primarily body language communicators. It’s true, they are. But as anyone who’s spent time with them knows, dogs also have a pretty well-developed ability to express themselves vocally. Dogs bark. Some bark more, some bark less, and a few don’t bark at all, but most dogs bark at least some of the time.
Recognize alarm barking. Alarm barking is any pattern of barking at perceived intruders. While barking at a real intruder is useful and may save a person’s life, barking at perceived intruders like mail carriers, parcel deliverers, or even just neighbors passing by the property can be annoying and troublesome.
There are a number of different collars available to stop barking. The most humane is the Husher®, which is a soft elastic loosely fitting muzzle, that stops your dog from opening his mouth to bark, but will allow him to pant, eat and drink. It can be left on while your dog is alone, and can be used as a training aid. If you hear your dog barking, say ‘hush’ and show him the Husher® and if he does not stop, put the Husher® on.
In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
If your dog is in the garden and barks at passersby, make use of recall and praise your pet for returning to you rather than woofing. If you can’t supervise your dog in the garden, don’t leave them there on their own without something to do which will distract them away from what they want to bark at.
Caveat: Be careful when teaching your dog to bark on cue. Once he learns a bark can make you click! the clicker, he may try demand-barking – and you may get more “speak” than you want. For this reason, I don’t teach my dog to bark on cue unless they already tend to bark too much, in which case it’s useful for teaching “quiet!”
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 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.
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.
Instead, use your positive interrupt to invite your dog to you, and calmly put him in another room or on a tether – then greet your visitors. You may want to tape a note to your door advising guests that you are training your dog and it may take you a moment or two to answer the door, so they don’t give up and go away.
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.
Research your town or city’s anti-barking laws. Look online at your town or city’s codes, by-laws or dog legislation. There may be a code against unruly pets or incessant barking at night; many places have legislation or regulations in place that deal specifically with dogs and/or noise. There might also be a code covering ignoring requests from neighbors.