If barking during the day is a problem because the dog is left outside, see if the neighbor will agree to install a dog house where the dog can take shelter during the day. Discuss a certain date by which the dog house will be installed.
Response to Stimulus: Dogs also bark when they hear or see something interesting. For example, if your dog barks or howls when a fire truck siren screams by, it isn’t necessarily to guard you. Some dogs just want to join in or let you know something different is happening.
For best results, vary the amount of time your dog must remain quiet before getting a treat. That way she won’t come to expect a treat after a certain duration of time, and the anticipation will keep her in quiet suspense. For example, after a few weeks of training, alternate between 20 seconds of silence, a whole minute of silence, and 30 or 40 seconds of silence.
If you need help teaching your dog these skills, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist in your area. A professional trainer can meet with you one-on-one to guide you through the process of teaching your dog to sit, stay and go to a spot on command. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts near you.
Many of the “humane” methods are humane to humans. Those standards shouldn’t apply to animals. Citronella in the eyes is as painful as a quick shock. What we might prefer is not the same as what a dog might. The beauty the shock collar is that it is over quickly, and animals (generally) learn fast. So while trying to work it out in a way that a human would prefer may work, for dogs that are persistent and stubborn barkers, these collars are quick and effective trainers. And, that method may have more to do with you and what you can stomach than what an animal might actually suffer less from.
There was the time I was engrossed in writing an article and our dogs were alarm-barking ferociously. Resisting the urge just to tell them to stop, I reluctantly got up to investigate. No, the house wasn’t on fire, but I did find our horses running down the driveway toward the road.
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.
As your dog gets comfortable with you being out of her sight, try closing a door to block her access to you, and gradually extend the duration of time that you are out of the room or behind a closed door.
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What if your dog completely ignores you when you try to redirect them with a command? With some dogs, you can utilize a strange noise to help them refocus on you. Make sure the noise isn’t your voice, but an outside source.
Be assertive in your physical posture. Focus your body and calm energy on blocking the dog from the stimulus that seems to be causing the barking. Concentrate and remain calm to let your dog know that you are in charge and that the dog doesn’t need to worry about the stimulus.
To be successful, try your best to NEVER reward your dog for barking at you again! In some cases, it’s easiest to teach your dog an alternative behavior. For instance, if you don’t want your dog to bark when he needs to go out or come in, get a doggy door installed or teach him to ring a bell hanging on a door by touching it with his nose or paw. If your dog barks to get you to play with him, teach him to bring a toy and sit in front of you. Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid problems by eliminating the things that cause your dog to bark. If your dog barks to ask you to retrieve his toys from under the sofa, block the space so that the toys don’t get stuck beyond his reach. If your dog barks at you when you’re talking on the telephone or working on the computer, give him a tasty chew bone to occupy him before he starts to bark.
A tired dog, is a quiet dog. Nearly every dog can do from a little extra exercise, both mentally and physically. A dog that has had a good workout will be less likely to react to barking triggers. Take the time to exercise your dog daily by going for a run or playing fetch. Mind-teaser games like “find the toy” or hide-and-seek will also tire your dog out.
Barking is one of many forms of vocal communication for dogs. People are often pleased that their dog barks, because it alerts them to the approach of people to their home or it tells them there’s something that the dog wants or needs. However, sometimes a dog’s barking can be excessive. Because barking serves a variety of functions, you must identify its cause and your dog’s motivation for barking before you can treat a barking problem
The best way to think of it is to imagine some children playing… then you’ll get the idea of what is going on… They start to have fun, then they get excited, then they start shouting and then start yelling!
Ultrasonic bark deterrent devices work by emitting an ultrasonic sound that dogs find unpleasant, which startles them out of barking. Reviews of ultrasonic anti-bark devices are mixed; some dogs don’t respond to them, and others are too sensitive for what is essentially a correction. But for some dogs, these are very effective.
What you want to do is first focus on teaching your dog the “Speak” command. This is really easy as the dog will react to you. Make sure that you practice this when the dog is not barking. After the command is learned, you want to teach the “Quiet” command. Use any trigger word that you feel comfortable with. When the dog barks, you signal him by putting your fingers to your lips and saying the trigger word. A dog naturally picks up physical signals much faster than a voice command. That is why the gesture helps. After some practice and after you hand out treats as the dog does what he is supposed to, all you need to do is calmly say the trigger word when the dog starts barking and barking will stop.
Busy toys: (helpful for attention seeking/demand barkers, boredom barkers and separation distress barkers) both boredom barkers and separation distress barkers benefit from having something to do when their people leave the house. Hard rubber toys that dispense treats are a great way to keep them occupied and happy when alone. They’re also great for dogs that bark for attention. For example, if your dog barks at you every time you get on the phone, give him a busy toy to keep him occupied while you make calls.
Give your puppy a “bark limit.” Maybe he’s allowed to bark three times or five times — until you acknowledge his warning so he knows you can take over for him. After the designated number of barks, praise your puppy — “GOOD bark, GOOD dog, now HUSH,” and give him a treat as you praise. It’s hard for dogs to bark while chewing so this actually serves a dual purpose.
A variety of devices are designed to teach dogs to curtail barking. Most often, these are collars that deliver an unpleasant stimulus when your dog barks. The stimulus might be a loud noise, an ultrasonic noise, a spray of citronella mist or a brief electric shock. The collars that deliver noise are ineffective with most dogs. One study found that the citronella collar was at least as effective for eliminating barking as the electronic collar and was viewed more positively by owners. Virtually all dogs become “collar-wise,” meaning that they learn not to bark while wearing their anti-bark collars but revert to barking when they’re not wearing them. Collars that work on a microphone system to pick up the sound of a dog’s bark should not be used in a multidog home because any dog’s bark can activate the collar.
Try to keep meeting and greeting under control. When you or a family member comes home, ignore your dog for the first couple minutes. When people come to the door, teach your dog to sit and wait until the person comes to him; this will bring control and anticipation to the greeting rather than barking.
If things like other dogs or people are your pet’s trigger, you need to expose them to these stressors. Again, reward them with treats when they are behaving, and let them know that barking means no attention or tasty food.