The two dogs (Jack Russell mix) that do this are related-by-blood, they’re brothers from the same litter (aged 7yrs) and they get on well…They’re both hyper active and easily excitable. The third is a recent addition to the family, he’s a pure-bred Jack Russell (8 months) and he’s a lot more calmer than the brothers. I have no problems with him on the lead but I would love to walk them as a group, something I used to do years ago before the brother’s hyper-barking became too much. :/
Inside your home you can simply close your blinds or install a removable plastic film that makes windows opaque to obscure your dog’s view. Be sure to place the window film a few inches above your dog’s line of sight. You can also buy a spray-on glass coating.
Dogs are super sensitive and pick up on our deepest emotions and slightest body movements. If you think of your dog as like your mirror, then you will start to understand that the calmer you are, the more chance your dog will be relaxed.
It may be time to get some earplugs for these first few sessions, especially if you’ve let them train you to come when they bark. Completely ignore them and let them bark until they take a break. Then, when they are quiet, treat and reward them or let them out for quiet behavior.
Does your dog bark at the doorbell? Do you not even have a door bell, but your dog barks at ones on TV? Does your dog bark at car horns? When certain people come over? All these things and more! can be addressed with training and desensitization. They do not just up and go away on their own. You have to work at it. My next blog post will be a How to – Desensitization.
I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will create a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
First, get your dog excited by ringing the doorbell, knocking on a wall or whatever you know will start him barking. Say your command word, such as ‘speak’ and pair it with a treat. When your dog is consistently barking when you say ‘speak’, you can then say ‘quiet’ and give a treat. Your dog will have to stop barking to get the treat.
If your dog barks at people or other dogs walks, distract him with special treats, like chicken, cheese or hot dogs, before he begins to bark. (Soft, very tasty treats work best.) Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he’s walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to bark.
Your pup’s constant barking may just be an annoyance to you; but if it starts to encroach on other people’s sanity, you may have some fines to pay for your dog’s gift of gab. This is why it’s critical for both pup and pocketbook that you learn how to find your dog’s vocal off switch.
If you train your dog to “speak” on command, then you can then teach him “quiet.” Next time your dog barks, say “speak” while he’s doing so. Once he’s mastered this, ask him to speak when he’s not distracted then say “quiet” and hold a treat near his nose. When he stops to sniff the treat, praise him. Master this in quiet atmospheres, then try in more distracted environments such as after he’s barked when someone comes to the door.
Outside, you might consider putting slats in the chain link fence to cut down on his visual access to the world surrounding his yard (better yet, install a privacy fence) or put up an interior fence to block his access to the more stimulating parts of the yard. Given that alarm barking will inevitably occur, it’s also useful to teach him a positive interrupt – a cue, other than “Shut up!” that you can use to stop him in mid-bark. (See “The Positive Interrupt,” to the right of this page.)