Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.
Demand barking is easiest to extinguish early. The longer a dog successfully demands stuff, the more persistent he’ll be if you try to ignore him. However, ignoring him is the best answer to this behavior. No treats, no attention – not even eye contact. The instant the demand behavior starts, utter a cheerful “Oops!” and turn your back on your dog. When he’s quiet, say, “Quiet, yes!” and return your attention – and treat – to him.
If you have a nervous dog, time and patience is key! The overall goal should be to get your dog comfortable around the things that is making him nervous. If you can get a nervous dog to play a game of tug-of-war around things that seem to make them nervous, then you off to a great start! But, most dogs don’t play when they’re nervous, so having high quality rewards nearby can help. This will slowly help your dog associate something great with things that used to make him uncomfortable. Over time, (sometimes a long time,) you should begin seeing improvements.
If your dog only barks to let you know he has to go potty, you need to change the behavior. Train him to ring a bell hung on the back door, or install a dog door which allows him to go when he pleases. However you go about it, changing behavior is much tougher than preventing it in the first place. With a puppy, start off on the right foot and don’t encourage or reward barking behaviors.
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.
Consistency with this concept is key. You have to train your dog to understand that being quiet results in a reward. This means only letting your dog out of the crate when they are calm. It means only petting your pup when they are exhibiting relaxed behaviors.
Anxiety or Fear: Dogs also bark when they are unsure or scared. They may use barking as they run away the same way a human would scream. They may also use sound as a defense mechanism to keep their attacker at a distance. Dogs learn early that the best defense is often a good offense.
***** If your dog is barking to show fear of people or other dogs, by all means listen to them. Do not a extinguish a dog’s warning bark away or you may be left with a dog who bites and fights seemingly without warning. ******
Dog barking can be a blessing and curse when it comes to living with our favorite furry friends! Dogs bark for many reasons, so, you’ll have to know your dog’s personality to understand why he is barking. If you have a dog that is very high energy, dog barking can simply mean that he is excited or bored. A dog that is skittish may bark due to stress or nervousness. Remember, when dogs bark, it’s their way of communicating something. Regardless of the reason behind your dog’s barking – Zak George will help you train without the pain!
Do not punish your dog for this invaluable commmication! It’s the most benign means he has of letting you know that something bothers him. Take away his growl, and a snap or bite is likely to happen without warning. Rather, when your dog growls in warning, step back to see what’s causing him such discomfort, remove the stressor, and ﬁgure out how to give him a more positive association with the thing that’s causing the growling.
If all else fails and your neighbor is making no attempt to curb the barking, it may be time to file a noise complaint. Talk to your other neighbors and see if they are as bothered by the barking as you are. Urge them to file a similar complaint. Look up your local laws, as different areas have different laws that govern dog barking and noise complaints.
Boredom: Do you ever sing or talk to yourself when you’re bored? Your dog may do the same thing. The reason we often see the boredom bark is when dogs are left outside for long periods of time. We all know that dogs are pack animals and want to be near you. When they are left alone, they often occupy their time by barking.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
Dogs that are not bored will rarely bark without a serious reason. The next time you see the dog barking in the living room and running around agitated, it may be because he is really bored. Take him out for a walk. Then, try to find more entertainment options for him for other days so that the situation does not repeat itself.
Uncontrolled barking might be triggered by a noise or object that catches their attention and startles them. This can happen anywhere and not just at home. If it does happen at home it could possibly be part of territorial or protective barking.
Do not attempt to work with a neighbor’s dog without the permission of the owner. Even with your best of intentions, you could be bitten, you could be sued, and you could actually intensify the bark rather than reducing it. And do not install any electronic anti-barking devices. We are hearing reports that these can be quite aversive, perhaps even painful, for the dogs at which they are directed.
Bark on command. Another approach that can work is to teach your dog to bark on command, or “speak,” and then command him to be quiet. If you use treats or even verbal praise – do wait a few seconds after dog has finished barking before rewarding him. What you don’t want him to think is that he is being rewarded for barking when really he is being rewarded for being quiet. To get him to bark initially you can have someone ring your doorbell or you can encourage him to bark by “barking” yourself. Have him on a leash during the exercise so that you can distract and stop the barking with a light pop of the leash. To make the response even better teach your dog that he can bark at the doorbell but then must be quiet and go to a place near the door where he can watch who is at the door and allow them to come in. This can give a very effective security touch to a home. Dog barks, owners says “Quiet,” and he stops barking, showing he is under control. When the door is opened he is sat watching and waiting for anything that could be a threat. One word – “Speak” – has him barking again. So by teaching the commands – “Speak,” “Quiet,” and “Place,” – you have a dog that is both under control, yet ready to give a warning or even threaten if required.
Leash issues are a huge problem for the dog-owning public and a leading culprit for why so many otherwise healthy dogs are doomed to life (or usually more accurately, an early death) in animal shelters. Whether it’s simple leash-pulling or more significant leash reactivity and leash aggression, the primary thing to keep in mind is that these issues are almost always preventable and manageable when using positive training methods.
If you feel you do not have the time or the money to train your dog, I urge you for your own sake and the sake of others around you to really consider whether a dog is right for you at this point in your life. Owning a dog in many ways is similar to having a child, as you are responsible for the dog’s welfare and are there to be the dog’s companion as well as his provider. This is not a light responsibility, and lasts for rest of your pet’s life.
You can also work with a trainer to practice desensitization techniques that help your dog become accustomed to barking triggers and ultimately stop responding. Training takes consistency and patience, but the long-term rewards are worth it!