I am working on the follow up article to this one and apologize for not having it last week…I was really sick! You need to introduce all the things that flip your dog out at very low stimulation levels with very levels of reinforcement. My Collie has issues with things on wheels to, and to be honest, while we have overcome the vacuum cleaner, bikes, and skateboards, the lawn mover is so evil, i gave up and just keep him in the house. Genetics are strong with some dogs! Basically your goal is t the give the dog a different job. Look at you, down, anything other than go forward and back at it. I hope you find some tips in this week’s article.-Nancy
I leave you with a warning. If your dog is barking while tied out, or even worse barking and chasing while out on an electric fence or even in a fenced yard, you have the makings of a time bomb. Dogs who see the world just out of their reach and are allowed to live in an aroused state are the dogs will be go after things when the opportunity arises.
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.
While all of these causes can trigger dog barking at night, for Joel Silverman, professional dog trainer seen on Good Dog U on Animal Planet, the solution is simple. When asked about the main culprit behind nighttime barking, Silverman says, “Just stand up and take a look in the mirror.”
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.
Of course you’d rush out and get them. But…what if the doors were locked and you couldn’t get out? Would you sit down, relax and have a cup of tea? Of course not. You’d shout for help and call your baby back, or try and break free so you could get back to them.
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.
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 of 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.
Get other neighbors to file the same complaint. If the authorities get multiple calls about the same dog owner, they’ll be more likely to take action quickly. There’s definitely strength in numbers in this situation, so rally as many people as you can to remedy the situation.
One tool that may help with this training is a head halter. It looks somewhat like a combination collar/muzzle, but it allows the dog to breath and drink. Used with supervision (never leave it on the dog when he is alone), it may have a controlling and calming effect on your walks and at home, reducing the likelihood of barking. A head halter does not replace training, rewards and praise, but is a tool to help you in your counter-bark training.
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Try bark deterrents. Bark deterrents like anti-bark collars are very unpleasant for dogs, and should only be used as a last resort when no other method has worked. Some people oppose bark collars because of the perception that these bark deterrents are punishment devices. Training works much better than punishment devices, and training will of course provide the best long-term solutions to behavioral problems, but if training hasn’t worked for your dog and your landlord has threatened eviction or police intervention, you may need to resort to a bark collar.
While industry claims that no harm is done to the dog, obviously the stimulus, or sensation, provided by the no-bark collar is not something the dog likes. If it didn’t hurt them, they wouldn’t worry about barking freely despite the consequences. That being said, we don’t know of any severe injuries or deaths caused by no-bark collars, and if the dog learns not to bark, it won’t be shocked anymore. We can’t help but wonder how this is restraining some of dogs’ natural functions, however, or causing undue stress and anxiety. Furthermore, consider the fact that in Europe, electric shock no-bark collars are illegal.
Playfulness/Excitement: This type of barking is especially common in puppies and young dogs. Many dogs will bark while playing with people or other dogs. Even the sound of the bark tends to sound upbeat and possibly musical. Some dogs will bark excitedly when they know they are about to go for a walk or car ride.
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.
This is really simple and every single dog owner can teach the dog how to be quiet. If not, a trainer can easily come to your home and help you out with that. The great thing about it is that teaching the dog to be quiet actually reinforces the bond between the owner and the animal.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog, but if your neighbor isn’t taking training seriously, it may fall on you to correct the barking dog’s behavior. A dog whistle makes a noise that won’t disturb humans and won’t harm dogs, but the high frequency will annoy any pooch that can hear it. When the neighbor’s dog starts barking, give the whistle a blow. It may cause more barking at first, but if the pup comes to associate its barking with the irritating whistle sound, it will eventually stop barking to avoid the noise.
Below is a basic list of tried and true barking solutions that we utilize around here pretty much on a daily basis. I have not met you and your dog. Your issues and mileage may of course vary. The list is intended to serve as a spring board, and get you thinking of ways to solve your barking issues in a positive way.
Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
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.
This is caused by either an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when your dog is in another room from you; also known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, the dogs is saying, “GO AWAY, you scare me”; also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
Desensitize your dog to solitude. If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety, she most likely will not be cured overnight. A good way to get your dog more accustomed to solitude is to gradually desensitize her to being left alone and reinforce the fact that getting ready to leave does not mean abandonment. This is a slow process that will take several weeks of practice and consistency, but should prove effective for long-term results.
Remember, most people actually do want their dog to alert them that something is going on outside. It’s like the doorbell. You want to be able to hear it and know something is there, but you only want it to ring once.
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.