No one should expect a dog to never bark. That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively. If that’s a problem in your home, the first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why he is barking, you can start to treat his barking problem.
There are all sorts of devices that claim to stop barking. Most of them are some sort of collar that offer a negative response when a dog barks, such as an electric shock, a spray of citronella or a burst of static electricity. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist before considering one of these devices. If used incorrectly, they can cause more problems. For example, if your dog gets shocked every time he barks at a neighbor, he could associate the pain with the neighbor instead of the barking.
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.
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?
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.
Instead of a no-bark collar, why not try training your dog traditionally, using voice and hand commands? This would help with other training issues that your dog might have, such as obeying commands, potty training, and playing well with other dogs at the dog park. Issues such as those are not at all solved by putting a collar on the dog that harms him when he barks. You will find that a lot of the issues you might have had with your dog are solved with the proper training regimen early in life. You can read up on the best new training methods in books or training manuals, enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend, or hire a personal trainer for a few hours per week if you cannot afford training school.
Other medical problems can also cause excessive barking. For example, a brain disease or a dog who is in chronic pain. Older pets may also develop a form of canine senility that could cause uncontrollable barking. Have your pet checked by a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions as reasons for excessive vocalizations.
Before you can train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when a door opens, you’ll need to teach him how to sit or lie down and then how to stay. After your dog has learned these skills, you can progress to Step 2.
Some will act on anonymous complaints, while others require your name and address but won’t reveal this to the neighbor complained about. Check the public or private status of making a complaint before making it.
There is a huge array of ’tools’ on the market that claim to stop nuisance barking in dogs and offer a quick fix. These include spray or electric shock collars, compressed air sprays, rattle cans and other devices, whose main function is to startle, scare, cause pain or discomfort to a barking dog in an effort to teach him that barking brings unpleasant consequences.
Before we get into how to eliminate excessive yapping, remember that you don’t want to correct all barking. After all, if someone knocks at your front door when you’re not home, wouldn’t you rather your dog bark to deter a break in?
The best way to reduce excitement/frustration barking is through basic and intermediate obedience training. “Sit/stay” and “down/stay” are commands that say to your dog he must wait until you release him to go play, for a walk, or to meet his buddy. Animal intruders, such as cats or squirrels can be curtailed using motion-activated devices or other forms of discouragement.
You don’t seem to understand that some people have dogs they didn’t get as puppies. Some dogs require special training like this just like people do. Not all dogs can be trained to not bark incessantly. Lucky you if that has been your experience.
Let’s take a look at what happens in the dog’s mind during an ”extinction burst”. The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and fed the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding.