This behavior is more likely to annoy you than your neighbors, but it’s annoying nonetheless. A demand barker has learned that he can get what he wants – usually attention or treats – by telling you. It often starts as a gentle, adorable little grumble, and can quickly turn into insistent, loud barks – your dog’s way of saying, “I want it, NOW!”
I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will create a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 10 to 20 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a startling noise by shaking a set of keys or an empty soda can filled with pennies. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he’ll stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him to sit, and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this procedure doesn’t work after 10 to 20 attempts, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for guidance.
Try to keep meeting and greeting under control. When you or a family member comes home, ignore your dog for the first couple minutes. When people come to the door, teach your dog to sit and wait until the person comes to him; this will bring control and anticipation to the greeting rather than barking.
Call animal control to report abuse. If you believe the barking is a result of neglect or another form of abuse, you have the right to call animal control. If the dog is being severely abused it will be confiscated from the owner, but in most cases animal control won’t take the dog away. Instead, they’ll come to assess the situation and try to educate the owners as to how to properly care for the dog.
I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. But he barks a lot. So, leaving home is always a challenge for us.
Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. Some bark collars emit a noise, some bark collars a blast of air or citronella and some use an electric stimulation between two points on the collar that limit the feeling to that area. They can all work. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.
Instead, use your positive interrupt to invite your dog to you, and calmly put him in another room or on a tether – then greet your visitors. You may want to tape a note to your door advising guests that you are training your dog and it may take you a moment or two to answer the door, so they don’t give up and go away.
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.
This barking response is also known as alarm barking. It can be in response to people coming to the door, people or animals walking by your house, or other sights and sounds that alert the dog to the presence of someone or something crossing their territory. Territory can be your house, your yard, or even your car while you are driving.
Reward the absence of barking: (helpful for all barkers) when your dog opts not to bark in a typically triggering situation, make a big deal of it. Most of us are used to tuning into our dogs only when we want to correct the bad behavior and we forget to acknowledge the good. If your dog sees someone out the window and looks to you instead of barking, give him a treat. If he dashes around the yard with his best dog pal without offering commentary, praise him. If his ball rolls under the couch and he chooses to sit and wait for you to get it instead of demanding immediate help, give him a pat and fetch that ball! Even though barking is a deeply rewarding behavior for dogs, it’s possible to get a handle on it with time and patience.
Consider alternative arrangements. If your dog absolutely will not calm down in spite of training, or if your landlord or neighbors have expressed impatience with your dog’s need for training, you may need to consider alternative arrangements.
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.
The best way to think of it is to imagine some children playing… then you’ll get the idea what is going on… They start to have fun, then they get excited, then they start shouting and then start yelling!
Guarding: Dogs will often bark and growl when they are guarding. This bark is more aggressive. The dog may also have a stiff or wagging tail with their hackles raised. The bark is used as a warning not to come closer or they may attack to defend their space. While dogs don’t always bark before they bite, most give some kind of warning.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
So let me tell you how many times these tools SAVES dogs lives. Every hunting season! Citronella is a terrible training tool, just as much as a choker chain on leash. You know a very slight “nic” that lasts 1/100 of a second is safer than putting an enormous amount of pressure on a dogs trachea. Back to the hunting season. Being the Dog lover you are, I am sure you know that Game Dogs such a labarabor retriever LOVE to waterfowl hunt and retrive game. They live for it, it’s in their blood. They get so excited just seeing you grab your gear or even your jacket. Talk about mean, when I grab mine in the off season just to put on, it’s like teasing them. Anyway, when they hit the 38 degree water after being sent to retrieve, the only control you have is the E-Collar. You have a whistle but because they are off lead, there still is NO control. Now when that bird turns out to be not fully deceased or there is a strong current and the bird continues to move further away from the shore, you get a bit on edge. You whistle however the dog is SO FOCUSED on what they love to do, it continues going further and further out and I whistle and whistle and he keeps going knowing that if I don’t get him back right now, he may not make it back and either drown or succumb to conditions. Now remember, they love the water, warm and COLD. They don’t care, they are built for this. Well that’s where the E-Collar comes into play, I can instantly and safely “nic” him which will get his attention and he quickly spins around and heads to shore. We all go home safe and sound. Also, if you educated yourself about E-Collars, you will also learn that the best training in the world is instant correction. It’s the only way they understand because they don’t think and remember like we do when they are being trained. That’s why rubbing their nose in their own urine while your away doesn’t house break a dog. Instant correction and consistency works every time. So I’d ask that instead of making a broad and unfounded opinion, maybe it will help to understand the way it works. Just to make you feel better, the collars are high tech, cost hundreds of dollars and can reach out to a mile. They also come with 28 settings, from the slightest “nik” that the human hand can barely feel to more powerful for those that have a real thick coat and may need a little more power. I’ve never heard a dog yelp or cry out in pain. Thanks for listening.