Pheromone-based treatment: (helpful for fear barkers and separation distress barkers) plug-in diffusers that mimic the “calming chemicals” given off by female dogs can help to soothe dogs that bark due to stress. While you might not see a dramatic shift in behavior – keep in mind that pheromones are different from prescribed medications – the diffusers are an easy and affordable way to take the edge off a stressful situation.
Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.
Eventually, when real visitors come to your home, you can ask your dog to go to his spot as soon as they knock or ring the doorbell. After letting your guests in, ask them to sit down. Wait about one minute before releasing your dog from his spot to greet them. Put your dog on a leash if you think he might jump on your guests or behave aggressively. After a minute or two of allowing your dog to greet people, ask him to lie down at your feet and stay. Give him something to keep him busy, such as a rawhide or a puzzle toy stuffed with something really tasty, like low-fat cream cheese, spray cheese or low-fat peanut butter, frozen banana and cottage cheese, or canned dog food and kibble. After your dog finishes with the rawhide or the KONG, he’ll probably go to sleep. If you repeat the ritual above for a while, your dog should learn to settle down calmly when guests visit your home.
Give her more exercise. Exercise is a great way to curb problem behavior, including excessive barking. Whether your dog is anxious, territorial, or simply bored, getting a good workout will probably help reduce the frequency and intensity of her problem barking.
What is interesting with the dog care or daycare centres is that they are really beneficial for the dog in many more ways than you may think. The dog will increase his agility, will become more obedient and will be able to get rid of that high amount of energy that he has.
I know first hand the frustration of dealing with a barking dog. Trust me, I have a Chihuahua! While inappropriate barking can make you want to pull your hair out at times, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural behavior for your pup. Barking is the way he communicates and of course he’s going to feel the need to alert you when an intruder is approaching (by “intruder” I really mean a friendly neighbor)!
More exercise: (helpful for all barkers) nearly every dog can benefit from more exercise, both mental and physical. A dog that has had a good workout will be less likely to be on alert for perceived interlopers or feel the need to pester you for attention. Take the time to wear your dog out every day with a rousing game of fetch or tug and get his brain activated by introducing mind-teasers like “find the toy” and hide-and-seek. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!
There are a number of products on the market that promise to stop barking quickly. Collars that go on your dog can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they aren’t on all dogs. Citronella-spraying collars often work, but some dogs learn they can run them out of spray and then bark at will.
Grumbles and growls can have several meanings. Some dogs grumble and growl in enjoyment at a butt-scratch or body massage. More often, a growl is an important warning – “I don’t like you (or whatever you’re doing); please stop!” (See “Understand Why Your Dog Growls,” October 2005.)
It’s a lose-lose situation no matter which side of the fence you’re on. Whether it’s your dog that’s barking or your neighbor’s pooch that won’t stop flapping his jowls, nobody’s happy … including the dog.
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 the dog carries on barking, then go to where it is and look to see what the problem is. Do not pay attention to your dog at this point just in case it is doing it to try to get your attention on its terms (Simon Says is a game that dogs are VERY good at). Instead, show your dog that you are investigating the problem. Whether anything is there or not is not important. The main thing is that your dog sees you assessing the situation as the responsible one in the family. Give another “Thank you” and either take the dog away or just leave. Your dog sees that you have had a look and you do not think it is a problem. If your dog still continues after that, then quietly put your dog somewhere on its own until it is quiet. Your attitude is one of “Calm down”. Once you get silence, you can let your dog out again. If it goes back, repeat the process. If this happens three times then leave the dog in Time Out to show it that it really needs to chill out. This helps your pulse rate to stay low which will always have a good effect on your dog. The best leaders remain calm in a crisis.
Is your neighbor’s dog keeping you up all night? It’s time to take action. The fastest and best way to end the noise is usually to speak to your neighbor face to face to work out a good solution. If that isn’t effective, get law enforcement involved to solve the problem for you. In the meantime, try using a dog whistle or another method to help the dog stay quiet.
What you’ve just done is checked out the danger (even if it was just a bird in a tree) and calmly communicated to them using your body language, the tone of your voice and your energy that there’s no need to worry. If they continue barking after you’ve done this then you can very calmly pop them into time out for a couple of minutes.
The positive interrupt is a well-programmed, highly reinforced behavior that allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you when she’s doing something inappropriate like barking. Ideally, you want your dog’s response to the “Over here!” cue to be so automatic – classically conditioned – that he doesn’t stop to think whether what he’s doing is more rewarding or interesting than turning his attention toward you and running to you for a treat. He doesn’t think – he just does it, the way your foot automatically hits the brake of your car when you see taillights flash in front of you on the highway.
When your dog barks, mark the desired behavior with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him a treat. Repeat this until he’ll bark on just the cue, without the trigger. Then practice in different environments until the “bark on cue” behavior is well generalized. When his “bark on cue” is well established, you can follow it with a “quiet!” cue, so you’ll be able to turn the bark off when you want.
What do you do when your pit mix has learned tricks and many other good things, but barks so loud and for so long at people it is beyond ridiculous. I think your advice is great; for some dogs. Others, like ours, are not playful barking. He is intimidating people although I don’t think he would ever bite. His bark is so loud in the house it startles us all the time I am worried he will cause a heart attack in my dad.
Here is a YouTube video of a trainer using a clicker to teach ‘speak’. A clicker is a noise that you pair with treats, so when you are training, your dog knows he is on the right track. You can also train this skill without a clicker and just treats.
I have a beautiful border collie that we found at work wandering around half starved at 4 months old. I fell in love with Maggie Mae right away and while at 1st she showed signs of possible abuse such as cowering she soon adapted and joined our beagle and chihuahua-pug mix she has a couple quirks. Whenever my husband’s cell phone rings or even vibrates she makes a mad dash for the back dog door and runs around the pool before coming back in. Only his phone and regard less of the ringer. I have even changed mine to the same as his with No result. She does the same thing when he sneezes and only him. We laugh about it now but it is a little bewildering!
Remove the audience. If she barks and you come running every time, you reward the behavior. Instead, thank her then say, “HUSH.” When she stops, you should praise and give her a treat. If she keeps barking, turn your back and leave the room. Most dogs want company, so leaving tells her she’s doing something wrong. She’ll learn to be quiet if she wants you to stay and give her attention.
Making sure your dog gets exercise is always a great start. “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration,” the Humane Society of the United States suggests.