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.
Dogs are pack animals and social barking is just part of that fact. Dogs bark in response to other dogs barking, whether around the neighborhood or even on the TV. You will never stop it, but you can control it somewhat. Start by changing your dog’s environment, minimizing sound from the source of the barking. If he can still hear it, try using a radio or TV to drown it out.
Making sure your dog gets exercise is always a great start. “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration,” the Humane Society of the United States suggests.
Debarking or devocalization is a surgery performed under full anesthesia that removes all or part of a dog’s vocal cords. The dog can still make noise, but it’s more of a raspy, hoarse sound. Many animal rights and veterinary groups strongly discourage the practice.
We took the steps of talking to our neighbor. They got some kind of a squirt collar for the dog when he’s left alone outside, and when he barks, it seems to have helped. A lot depends on how ignorant and inconsiderate your neighbor is. I’d start with trying to make contact and starting a discussion, explaining why it’s a problem. Try to enlist their help before indicating further steps might be necessary. You might be surprised. The ignorance may be that the owner had no idea the dog was doing that. If all fails, then you would be justified in involving the authorities.
If you prefer not to hold your dog’s muzzle or if doing so seems to scare your dog or make him struggle, you can try a different method. When your dog barks, approach him, calmly say “Quiet,” and then prompt his silence by feeding him a steady stream of tiny, pea-sized treats, such as chicken, hot dogs or bits of cheese. After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days or more of training, your dog will begin to understand what “Quiet” means. You’ll know that he’s catching on if he consistently stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet.” At this point, you can gradually extend the time between the cue, “Quiet,” and your dog’s reward. For example, say “Quiet,” wait 2 seconds, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time from 2 seconds to 5, then 10, then 20, and so on.
You surely know what your dog loves to do and what makes him tired. Make sure that you offer more of that. In many cases the problem is that the dog has too much energy so the solution to stop him from barking can be as simple as taking him for walks more often than you do right now. See if this helps. If not, it might be because he is bored at home. Buy more toys and make sure that he has a space where he can play. Eventually, you will see him tired and going to sleep. As the dog is busy, he will stop barking.
If barking is a problem on your walks, using some of the same methods utilized in loose leash training may help. Hold treats in your hand, giving some out as you walk along. The idea is to encourage your dog to focus on you and not any distractions. Let him sniff and see the palmed treats from time to time so he knows you have. Use a special treat that your dog doesn’t normally get and keep the pieces small so your dog can chew and swallow them easily while walking. Train your dog to “sit/stay” while people pass, allowing him to say hello only if the other person wants to. Praise, reward, and consistency are very important to make this work, but after a few days or a week, you should see a marked difference and can start spacing the use of treats farther apart.
Please note that there there are instances of excessive barking for which it is a good idea to seek the advice of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer first.
Absolutely. Imagine having someone yell “WAKE UP!!” at you for ten minutes in the middle of the night, every night. While the dog barking may not bother you, some people are light sleepers and sensitive to sound. I know my wife suffers physical chest pain when our neighbor’s dog barks at 5 a.m (probably due to the stress and the jolt of being forced awake).
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.