I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
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.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.
To better understand the process of extinction which is the process of a behavior diminishing and eventually ending, we can compare a dog’s behavior to a big fire. Giving in to a behavior as barking in the morning is adding fuel to the fire. The behavior increases, becomes stronger and is harder to extinguish. If the fuel is not added, the behavior over time, will likely become smaller and easier to extinguish.
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.
Many times we have unintentionally taught our dog to bark by reinforcing the behavior. If your dog barks in the yard and you go out and shout at him, he has gotten your attention and may even think you are joining in with your own funny little human bark. Even looking at your dog when he barks can be a reinforcer.
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.
If your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, it can go beyond a minor annoyance. A barking dog that doesn’t belong to you can disrupt your sleep, ruin your peace of mind, or become a headache-inducing nuisance. It can even cause your dogs to misbehave as the constant barking becomes a distraction, and you might find that your own pups feel the need to bark back. So how do you get a neighbor’s dog to cut the noise?
Why am I telling you this? Well, barking has to be the most annoying behaviour problem that is suffered by dog owners and neighbours alike. However, Karina in Copenhagen will be the first to tell you that she is glad that her dogs bark. Of course, it helps that she knows what to do to get them to stop barking so they do not become a neighbourhood nuisance. Here’s what she does… Are you ready?
She thanks them, and you can do this to stop your dog barking! When she hears them barking outside, calmly walks outside and says, “Tak”. N.B. This is Danish for “Thank you”; she is not telling them to attack! This might sound like a crazy way to solve barking, but bear with me; it will all make sense very shortly.
Block what bothers her. If your dog has barking problems whenever she sees or hears something outside, a simple solution might be to block her access to seeing or hearing that trigger. If she stands at the window and barks, try putting up curtains or blinds so she can’t see passing people or animals. If the sounds she hears outside tend to set her off, try leaving a radio on during the day to distract her and muffle the sounds outside your home.
If your dog barks inappropriately, it is important to start by setting yourself a realistic goal. Planning for your dog to stop barking completely is not realistic – barking is a natural dog behaviour and dogs will bark – more or less, and largely depending on the breed – whether we want it or not. You can reduce the amount of barking, but stopping it will never be possible.
Dogs bark because they are dogs, they bark to alert to danger or for attention. Many bark for food. They bark because they are happy, fearful, sad, anxious, frustrated, going deaf, scared or hurt. They howl at the sirens. Some howl at the moon. Some dogs bark to hear themselves bark and many bark because they are under stimulated and bored. There are so many reasons a dog could be barking. There are even dogs who bark because the sky is blue. Some dogs bark more than others. I am sure by now you get the idea. Dogs bark for lots of reasons. To help your dog, it really helps to get to the root of why your dog is barking and what they are barking it, and most importantly, what you may be doing to contribute.
I have a 5 yr. old rough coated collie who barks very loud and consistently every tine I am talking on the telephone I at first thought he wanted attention but that’s not the case. When I am finished talking he walks away and is quiet. Please someone help. I am tired of going into the bathroom and closing the door if it’s a important phone call ! Ugggg
Pet owners always think it is strange when I recommend teaching their dog to bark on command. This places the behavior under stimulus control and with one more step, you can teach your dog to be ‘quiet’ on command.
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Anti-bark collars are punishment devices that shock, make an ultrasonic noise, or spray citronella when a dog barks. They are not good first choices for solving barking problems, especially when the barking is based on fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, you should consult with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. These should only be considered when all other methods have failed.
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.
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.
So here are the four most common reasons that dogs and puppies bark. It’s not a comprehensive list but most dogs and puppies will fall into one of these categories. Once you’ve decided which one best describes YOUR dog, then take a look at the action plan to put an end to it once and for all.
Dogs barking excessively when left alone might not just be lonely or bored but suffer from separation anxiety. They often times exhibit other symptoms such as pacing, destructiveness, depression and might even defecate in places they know they are not allowed to.
Tony has been dog training (in association with his mother Jan Fennell) since 1999. The Dog Listener book has been translated into over 25 languages. He has been on radio and television on 4 continents and teaches the Amichien Bonding dog training process all over the world in English and French.
Most people try this but they make a crucial mistake. They yell at the dog or simply use a tone of voice that is really bad. The main thing to remember here is that you want to show the dog that what he is doing is wrong. You do not do this by shouting. In fact, when the dog hears you shout, he might become even more impatient and may end up barking even louder.
Obsessive/Compulsive barking which is identified as excessive barking for no apparent reason or at things that wouldn’t bother other dogs. This may be accompanied by other compulsive behaviors such as spinning or jumping.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Do you have a problem barker? It’s best to address the issue now before it gets any worse. Learn how to stop barking and prevent excessive barking in dogs. In most cases, you can curb barking with basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise. In more serious situations, you may need to bring in a trainer or behaviorist. One thing you should not do is ignore the problem. Excessive barking is not likely to improve with out intervention from you.
*Debarking is very controversial and is considered inhumane by many. It does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure in which the folds of tissue on either side of a dog’s larynx, or voice box, are removed, leaving dogs with a raspy bark instead of a full bark. Complications are common and can be life threatening, including breathing difficulties, higher incidents of choking, and ongoing pain. Dogs also have been known to regain their voices after the surgery. The procedure does not stop the barking, it only makes it sound different.