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.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Never use a muzzle to keep your dog quiet for long periods of time or when you’re not actively supervising him. Dogs can’t eat, drink or pant to cool themselves while wearing muzzles, so making your dog wear one for long periods of time would be inhumane.
Some medical problems can cause excessive barking, from bee stings to brain disease to ongoing pain. Older pets can develop a form of canine senility that causes excessive vocalizations. It’s always a good idea to have a pet checked by a veterinarian to be sure there’s no medical reason for a problem.
Understandably, if your dog is barking because he is anxious, this will really add to his problems. Citronella collars require you to buy replacement cartridges frequently, so can be much more expensive than consulting a veterinary behaviorist.
Does she bark at every movement she sees through the window and every sound she hears? An easy fix for this is to simply block the view. Close the shades. Confine her to a part of the house that doesn’t have windows she can see through or if she stays outside in a fenced-in yard, keep her indoors rather than leaving her outside all day. She won’t bark at what she does not see. Play some music or the television, loud enough to cover outside noises.
Rule out medical problems. Sometimes barking is your dog’s way of indicating to you that she is injured or sick. If there is a chance that your dog might have some medical problem or injury, you should take her to a vet as soon as possible.
I have a beautiful border collie that we found at work wandering around half starved at 4 months old. I fell in love with Maggie Mae right away and while at 1st she showed signs of possible abuse such as cowering she soon adapted and joined our beagle and chihuahua-pug mix she has a couple quirks. Whenever my husband’s cell phone rings or even vibrates she makes a mad dash for the back dog door and runs around the pool before coming back in. Only his phone and regard less of the ringer. I have even changed mine to the same as his with No result. She does the same thing when he sneezes and only him. We laugh about it now but it is a little bewildering!
As your dog gets comfortable with you being out of her sight, try closing a door to block her access to you, and gradually extend the duration of time that you are out of the room or behind a closed door.
Try to agree on a concrete solution. Rather than expecting your neighbor to put a stop to all barking, it might be more feasible to agree on a practical solution that works for both of you. Here are a few solutions that might apply; you can adapt them to your situation as necessary:
Stress-reducing collar – This is similar to the diffusers discussed earlier. Stress-reducing collars are loaded with soothing pheromones that will help stressed dogs calm down and reduce anxious barking.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he’s no longer forced to bark for attention. Regularly seek your dog out to give him attention—sweet praise, petting and an occasional treat—when he’s not barking.