If your dog most often barks territorially in your yard, keep him in the house during the day and supervise him when he’s in the yard so that he can’t just bark his head off when no one’s around. If he’s sometimes able to engage in excessive alarm barking (when you’re not around, for example), that behavior will get stronger and harder to reduce.
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.
Responding to Other Dogs: This is probably a familiar scenario. One dog down the street starts barking, and one by one the rest of your block joins in. It’s like a cacophonous rendition of Row Your Boat.
My boxer is one yeAr old and came from a good home where there was a doggy door. Here he is supposed to stay outside and he sits and whines all day and night. He does bark but 90% of the time it’s whining
I should add here that many years ago (when I was pretty new to dog training) I used to think that barking could all be sorted out with the same approach. Now I’m a few years older and wiser (hee hee), and I can see the error of my ways.
Unsurprisingly, this image has an effect on young Tony, so I would call out, “Mum! There’s someone at the door!” adding, “possibly an axe-murderer…” under my breath. If Mum was upstairs vacuuming, I would say it louder. When Mum heard me, she would come into the living room and say “Thanks, love”. As I was a smart child (my avoidance of potential psychotic lumberjacks being a good example of this) I would then stop calling for Mum. It would have looked odd if I had carried on, especially if the visitors walked into the living room to find me gibbering away. Now, if upon hearing me, Mum had come downstairs and told me to shut up, or even hit me for letting her know, that would have been ridiculous.
See what works best for your dog and go from there! Use the same techniques below, but once you get your dog’s attention, move them into a room where they are more protected from the cause of the barking. It might also help your nervous dog to soothingly talk and pet him until he calms down.
It is difficult to learn how to get a dog to stop barking is he has separation anxiety or barks compulsively. The help of a veterinary behaviorist should be considered. Likewise, medication may be needed to treat these issues.
Customizing a training solution for your dog’s specific type of bark will make it much easier to stop, and in some cases, prevent the barking from happening. The following tips are a mix of management solutions, which are easier to implement, as well as training suggestions, which require more time and dedication on your part.
First of all, let me talk about my childhood. Do not worry, I am not going off at a tangent here. Nor am I writing this while stretched out on a psychiatrist’s chair. When I was little – say 4 years old – happily playing with my Lego in the living room, if someone came knocking at the door I would not go and answer it. After all, I am only little. Plus, as a child growing up in the 70s in the UK, we had Public Information films on TV that were (it seems) designed to scare the living Beejeezus out of us. I remember all too vividly one that advised people to put the metal chain on the door before opening it, in case there was an axe-wielding maniac on the other side (I kid you not – and why is it always an axe?)
If you do want to modify play-barking behavior, use negative punishment – the dog’s behavior makes the good stuff go away. When the barking starts, use a time-out marker such as “Oops! Too bad!” and gently remove your dog from the playground for one to three minutes. A tab – a short 6 to 12 inch leash left attached to his collar – makes this maneuver easier. Then release him to play again. Over time, as he realizes that barking ends his fun, he may start to get the idea. Or he may not – this is a pretty hardwired behavior, especially with the herding breeds. You may just resort to finding appropriate times when you allow play-barking to happen.
A dog that is tired is actually a dog that is really happy. This is something that many dog owners do not understand. We need to know that dogs are active. They simply want to do something. Above we said that dogs that are bored will start barking. You can take care of that by giving the dog many activities that he can do. Since he does not stay and always does something, he will be happy. Eventually he will get tired and the tired dog will always be really quiet.
A lot of dogs bark because there is little else to do. If your dog is a nuisance barker, look at their daily routine and how much free, unoccupied time that they have to fill with their own activities.
So if it is agreed that the most common motivations for dog barking (Separation and Defensive/Territorial) can or do occur when you are not there, what methods will stop dog barking more effectively than others? Chastising and physical punishment are obviously impossible when you are not there.