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.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
This can occur inside or outside the house. However to keep things simple let’s imagine that it’s inside the house. Your dog hears a noise and jumps up, runs over to the window and starts barking at the people outside your house.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most used methods to get dogs to stop barking. In case you are not aware of this, a shock dog collar is a special collar that includes a remote. You use the remote to practically shock the dog when he does something wrong. Some people use it to correct barking. The problem is that this is not going to work. The dog will not actually understand why he is shocked and will only know that he has something around the neck that is hurting him.
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)
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.
Some dog owners ‘debark’ their dogs but that is a very controversial method which does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure where the voice box is removed, leaving dogs with a raspy, instead of full, bark. There are complications and the operation can be life-threatening.
If your dog is bored, getting a companion may help. Consider fostering through a rescue organisation. That way you are not necessarily committing, in case you end up with two problem barkers! You could also arrange a play-date with a friends dog, or think about booking your dog into doggy day-care.
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.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviors.
If she’s not receptive, or if your neighbor is such a threatening presence from the dark side that you’re not comfortable contacting her, you can file a complaint with the animal authorities in your community. Most will not disclose the identity of a complainant, but you should double-check with them to be sure. You may need to make follow-up complaints if their initial contact with the dog owner doesn’t effect an adequate change in behavior.
For treatment of territorial barking, your dog’s motivation should be reduced as well as his opportunities to defend his territory. To manage your dog’s behavior, you’ll need to block his ability to see people and animals. Removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings can help to obscure your dog’s view of areas that he observes and guards from within your house. Use secure, opaque fencing to surround outside areas your dog has access to. Don’t allow your dog to greet people at the front door, at your front yard gate or at your property boundary line. Instead, train him to go to an alternate location, like a crate or a mat, and remain quiet until he’s invited to greet appropriately.
When your dog barks do you have the tendency to yell something like “NOOOOOOO” or “STOOOPPP?” While you think you’re telling your dog to stop barking, they just think you’re joining in. So yelling won’t do you much good. Instead, when your dog starts barking inappropriately it’s important to stay calm. Develop a signal that alerts your dog to stop barking. That signal could be a look, sound, or physical correction. Below, I will go over the “quiet” command.
Our senior Danish Dog Listener lives in Copenhagen. Down her street, every single house has been burgled, with one exception. That house is the one with Karina’s four Doberman living there. Now, I don’t know any burglars (I am not a ne’er-do-well) but I imagine that there are very, very few burglars who, upon seeing four Doberman running out into the garden and barking, will think to themselves, “I like a challenge!”
Dogs are super sensitive and pick up on our deepest emotions and slightest body movements. If you think of your dog as like your mirror, then you will start to understand that the calmer you are, the more chance your dog will be relaxed.
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.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he’s no longer forced to bark for attention. Regularly seek your dog out to give him attention—sweet praise, petting and an occasional treat—when he’s not barking.
In the yard, use privacy fencing to cut off views to neighboring yards or the street. Commercial grade privacy screening installs over your existing fence and may be allowed in your rental unit. If you own your home and seek a long-term, attractive option, consider planting privacy hedges to both beautify and bark-proof the yard.
Customizing a training solution for your dog’s specific type of bark will make 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.
Be patient. It takes a lot of training and practice to get your dog comfortable with prolonged absences. Most of an anxious dog’s undesirable behavior will take place within the first 40 minutes that you’re gone, and it will take many, many training sessions before you can comfortably reach a 40 minute absence.
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If you have a nervous dog, time and patience is key! The overall goal should be to get your dog comfortable around the things that is making him nervous. If you can get a nervous dog to play a game of tug-of-war around things that seem to make them nervous, then you off to a great start! But, most dogs don’t play when they’re nervous, so having high quality rewards nearby can help. This will slowly help your dog associate something great with things that used to make him uncomfortable. Over time, (sometimes a long time,) you should begin seeing improvements.