Try counterconditioning your dog. Counterconditioning is a common treatment method for dogs that typically involves training the dog to associate something fearful with a reward. In the case of separation anxiety, instead of fearing someone or something, the dog fears being left alone. To counter condition separation anxiety, you’ll need to train your dog to associate being left alone with something the dog enjoys (like treats).
Unlike the separation anxiety panic attack, this is simply an “I WANT IT!” style temper tantrum similar to demand barking, but with more emotion, and directed at the thing he wants, such as a cat strolling by, rather than at you.
Of course you’d rush out and get them. But…what if the doors were locked and you couldn’t get out? Would you sit down, relax and have a cup of tea? Of course not. You’d shout for help and call your baby back, or try and break free so you could get back to them.
She thanks them, and you can do this to stop your dog barking! When she hears them barking outside, she calmly walks outside and says, “Tak”. N.B. This is Danish for “Thank you”; she is not telling them to attack! This might sound like a crazy way to solve barking, but bear with me; it will all make sense very shortly.
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.
Get other neighbors to file the same complaint. If the authorities get multiple calls about the same dog owner, they’ll be more likely to take action quickly. There’s definitely strength in numbers in this situation, so rally as many people as you can to remedy the situation.
For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.
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Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviors.
Shock collars are similar to citronella and ultrasonic collars, but instead deliver a brief electric shock to the dog’s neck. These collars typically have a number of different settings to change how intense the shock is, and if using one of these collars it is best to use the lowest setting possible to prevent injury to the dog. Again, these should only be used as an absolute last resort.
If your dog is rewarded every time he or she chooses to come to you rather than woof, they will start paying much more attention to you than they do to cats or birds, and even if they do start barking at them, they will be much easier to recall.
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
“Demand barking tends to be shorter—a single bark or a few in quick succession. There are more pauses in between, and the dog is usually looking at you or the thing they want. It’s much more controlled,” she says.
Bark on command. Another approach that can work is to teach your dog to bark on command, or “speak,” and then command him to be quiet. If you use treats or even verbal praise – do wait a few seconds after dog has finished barking before rewarding him. What you don’t want him to think is that he is being rewarded for barking when really he is being rewarded for being quiet. To get him to bark initially you can have someone ring your doorbell or you can encourage him to bark by “barking” yourself. Have him on a leash during the exercise so that you can distract and stop the barking with a light pop of the leash. To make the response even better teach your dog that he can bark at the doorbell but then must be quiet and go to a place near the door where he can watch who is at the door and allow them to come in. This can give a very effective security touch to a home. Dog barks, owners says “Quiet,” and he stops barking, showing he is under control. When the door is opened he is sat watching and waiting for anything that could be a threat. One word – “Speak” – has him barking again. So by teaching the commands – “Speak,” “Quiet,” and “Place,” – you have a dog that is both under control, yet ready to give a warning or even threaten if required.
This is not a comprehensive list and you are likely to find various other products to help you stop your dog’s excessive barking. But, these are by far the most humane and also very popular among pet owners who have problems with barking dogs.
“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.”
Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost if your dog’s barking has been going on for longer than it should. Silverman advises interrupting nighttime barking in a way that does not scare, startle or hurt your dog, while still getting the message across. He explains how to turn a nighttime distraction into a training tool. “You want to make sure that you start off with your dog in a place where he starts to notice, or is aware of a distraction, but is not going crazy. You want to find a way to correct the dog just as he barks. Once your dog responds to the correction, you can move a few feet closer the next training session. Over the course of time, you can see that as he understands to not bark and play out that action, you will eventually be next to the distraction that is making him bark.”
There are a number of products on the market that promise to stop barking quickly. Collars that go on your dog can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they aren’t effective on all dogs. Citronella-spraying collars often work, but some dogs learn they can run them out of spray and then bark at will.
This is the dog who’s left out in the backyard all day, and maybe all night. Dogs are social creatures, and the backyard dog is lonely and bored. Boredom barking is often continuous, with a monotonous quality: “Ho hum, nothing else to do, I may as well just bark.” This is the kind of barking that’s most annoying to neighbors, and most likely to elicit a knock on your door from a friendly Animal Control officer.
Some jurisdictions will act on anonymous complaints, while others require your name and address but won’t reveal this to the neighbor complained about. Check the public or private status of making a complaint before making it.