Alarm barking is very similar to territorial barking in that it’s triggered by sights and sounds. However, dogs who alarm bark might do so in response to things that startle or upset them when they’re not on familiar turf. For example, a dog who barks territorially in response to the sight of strangers approaching will usually only do so when in his own home, yard or car. By contrast, a dog who habitually alarm barks might vocalize when he sees or hears strangers approaching in other places, too. Although territorial barking and alarm barking are a little different, the recommendations below apply to both problems.
Another reason wild dogs bark less than our own furry family members is that they are less likely to be subjected to environments that encourage barking, such as fenced yards with potential prey objects (skateboards, joggers, bicycles) speeding tantalizingly past just out of reach; or humans who inadvertently – or intentionally – reinforce barking.
Pay attention to the circumstances. Barking at the mailman teaches pups to repeat the behavior when your two-pound terror thinks, “My ferocious bark chased him away — I’m an awesome guard dog, beware!” You may want enlist your mail carrier’s help — ask him/her to feed your pup a treat once he is quiet and praise him for being silent.
Finally, it’s worth it to note that we love our dog, but his barking makes him completely miserable to be around. So now we get to enjoy our dog, and not be in a constant state of apprehension over his truly awful barking.
As the owner of four dogs, two of whom are very vocal, with a third quite willing to express himself on occasion, I can testify to the domestic dog’s ability to speak. Interestingly, while wild puppies bark, wild adult dogs rarely do, at least not to the degree our canine companions do.
With the static shock dog collar the mechanism that sits against the dog’s throat sends out a static shock that travels down two metal prongs that touch your dog’s neck. The static shock in some of these collars begins with a rather small shock which increases in intensity up through a variety of levels as your dog continues his or her nuisance barking. You can personally test the static shock bark collar on your hand prior to using it on your dog if you are worried about the intensity of the shock your dog will receive.
To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough you’ll give him attention.
Dogs also bark if they are anxious, so medications can be used in the short-term to help your dog learn some coping skills. They need not be permanent. While there are some excellent dog trainers, there is little regulation in the industry, so skills and methods can vary. Ask your veterinarian to recommend someone if they can’t help.
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.
Unlike their human companions, dogs aren’t able to shut out noise and distraction as easily before bed. According to Dr. Barrack, this is because dogs have such acute hearing. “Although your home or apartment might be very quiet to you, a dog can be extremely sensitive to outside noises and bark in response. Putting on a TV, radio or white noise machine might help block out some of that external noise and hopefully eliminate this cause of bedtime barking.”
Punishment is generally frowned upon in the veterinary behavior community, but at least in this case the punishment is not too traumatic and it does help your dog not to do the behavior. In some cases where you have received noise complaints from the neighbours, it can be a quick fix. The citronella collar and shock collar are two devices that punish the bark and are unreliable and can lead to learned helplessness. They can go off randomly while the dog is not barking and even when they work correctly, the dog usually has no idea what he is receiving punishment for.
“Barking is driven by a whole bunch of things,” says Dr. Kristina Spaulding, a certified applied animal behaviorist from upstate New York, “and while some dogs don’t bark much, they’ll sometimes find other ways to show their emotions or signal that they want something—like pawing at you, jumping, mouthing, stealing things, or finding other ways to get into trouble.”
Your dog will bark when he wants something, be it food, water, or your attention. When learning how to get a dog to stop barking, it’s important to ensure that you’ve met all of his needs before moving forward with treatment.
You can work with a trainer to practice desensitization techniques with your dog. It will help your pet become accustomed to barking triggers and ultimately be a worthwhile instrument in your toolkit when learning how to get a dog to stop barking. Remember, training takes consistency and patience, but the long-term rewards are worth it.