Dog cameras like Petcube Bites let you not only know when your dog is barking, but let you correct it using two-way audio, and distract them using a laser pointer or treats. A pet treat camera can be a great way to stop your dog from barking even when you’re not at home. Some cameras even have “bark alerts” that send you push notifications every time your dog makes noise so that you can address the problem before your neighbors get angry.
Before you can fix the problem you must know what’s causing it. Why is your dog barking? Is your dog going crazy because he sees someone out the window? If so, close the blinds. Is your dog barking at passersby when he’s in the yard? If so, bring him in the house. Is your dog barking for attention? If so, ignore your dog until he quiets down. Is your dog barking because he’s bored? If so, go for a run!
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.
In the “less-barking” category, the guarding breeds tend to reserve their formidable vocalizing serious provocation. Sight hounds also lean toward the quiet side, preferring to chase their quarry rather than bark at it. Then, of course, there’s the Basenji -a somewhat primitive African breed of dog who doesn’t bark – but he sure can scream!
If your dog most often barks territorially in your car, teach him to ride in a crate while in the car. Riding in a crate will restrict your dog’s view and reduce his motivation to bark. If crating your dog in your car isn’t feasible, try having your dog wear a head halter in the car instead. (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
Many times we have unintentionally taught our dog to bark by reinforcing the behavior. If your dog barks in the yard and you go out and shout at him, he has gotten your attention and may even think you are joining in with your own funny little human bark. Even looking at your dog when he barks can be a reinforcer.
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The key here is that you must not reward any bad behavior. For example if your dog is barking outside to come inside, don’t let them in (I know it’s tempting and you don’t want to upset the neighbors) but if you reward them with what they want then it will happen again and again. Think of it as a little short term pain for some long term gain!
Find a replacement behavior. One of the best ways to train an animal out of undesirable behavior is to teach her an alternative behavior. That way, instead of growing increasingly frustrated and irritated that you are not responding to her desires, your dog will eventually realize that if she wants to get her way, she’ll need to engage in the other, more-desirable behavior.
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.
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 bark because they are dogs, they bark to alert to danger or for attention. Many bark for food. They bark because they are happy, fearful, sad, anxious, frustrated, going deaf, scared or hurt. They howl at the sirens. Some howl at the moon. Some dogs bark to hear themselves bark and many bark because they are under stimulated and bored. There are so many reasons a dog could be barking. There are even dogs who bark because the sky is blue. Some dogs bark more than others. I am sure by now you get the idea. Dogs bark for lots of reasons. To help your dog, it really helps to get to the root of why your dog is barking and what they are barking it, and most importantly, what you may be doing to contribute.
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.
The chest harness was a life saver for me. My dog hates to have anything around her neck. I think it’s baggage from life before she wound up on the streets and in the shelter. I’ll never know what baggage she has left over from then, but I am pleased that we found a compromise that’s as pleasant for her as it is for me.
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.
Dogs are social animals who like to live in family groups and it is common for them to become upset when they are left on their own for longer than they feel comfortable with. This is called ‘separation anxiety’ and we have lots of information about this here.
In the photo above, Beck is about to bark. He barked to get Finney to chase him. Right after this photo was snapped, I intervened and stopped Finney from barking. Beck is an action guy and he then barked to get Finn going again. In this instance, I called them to me and gave them both a minute to chillax and regroup.
If the dog seems to be barking at nothing, he’s likely bored. Boredom, due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation, is probably the biggest reason for excessive barking. Think honestly about whether your dog is getting enough. How would you feel if you were locked up at home all day with no cell phone, tablet, computer or even television? Not even a book to read. You’d get bored pretty fast.
Similarly, she says, if your dog barks when you pick up the leash to go for a walk, don’t reward him by heading out the door and giving him what he wants. Instead, drop the leash until he settles and stops barking. If he barks as soon as you clip on the leash, drop it and ignore him until he quiets down. It takes patience, but eventually he’ll learn that barking won’t get him what he wants.
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.
For this reason bark collars are considered by veterinary behaviorists to be a costly investment for something that most likely will not work long-term and may even be harmful. More exercise, chewing, company and stimulation can assist.
An example of this is a dog barking outside in the yard unattended. One thing that works around here is I leash walk the Collie in the yard before taking him off leash. This gives Finn a chance to chill a bit and the squirrels a chance to flee, without the added satisfaction my dog gets of driving them away. For many of us, it means just not opening the dog and sending the dogs out to play in the yard unattended to bark.
If your dog barks at people coming to the door, at people or dogs walking by your property, at people or dogs he sees on walks, and at people or dogs he sees through the fence, and his barking is accompanied by whining, tail wagging and other signs of friendliness, your dog is probably barking to say hello. He most likely barks the same way when family members come home.
Tony has been dog training (in association with his mother Jan Fennell) since 1999. The Dog Listener book has been translated into over 25 languages. He has been on radio and television on 4 continents and teaches the Amichien Bonding dog training process all over the world in English and French.
Why am I telling you this? Well, barking has to be the most annoying behaviour problem that is suffered by dog owners and neighbours alike. However, Karina in Copenhagen will be the first to tell you that she is glad that her dogs bark. Of course, it helps that she knows what to do to get them to stop barking so they do not become a neighbourhood nuisance. Here’s what she does… Are you ready?
For example, some people find success by keeping pennies in a can and rattling them when their dog begins to bark. If the dog stops barking when you make the noise and looks at you, you can then follow up with a come command or quiet command and give treats for compliance.