In dog training, before we can fix any issue, we need to understand it. Barking is a very natural way that dogs vocalize. It’s a dog’s main form of communication, along with growling, grunting, yelping, whining, sighing and howling.
Let’s face it – dogs bark. Some dogs bark for good reason and some do for apparently little or no reason and some do a little of both. Of course there are also certain breeds that are more prone to barking than others. The dog problem is not always the barking but the need for dogs to be quiet at certain times or when asked. I want to talk about the reasons dogs bark in order to help you prevent dog barking.
This can occur inside or outside the house. However to keep things simple let’s imagine that it’s inside the house. Your dog hears a noise and jumps up, runs over to the window and starts barking at the people outside your house.
Alarm barking does not always require a visual confirmation of the perceived intruder. Some dogs may engage in alarm barking simply from hearing a car door outside or hearing voices on the sidewalk.
Barking is completely normal dog behavior and stopping nuisance barking will not mean your dog won’t bark at all. They will still let you know if there is an intruder, the aim is just to get the barking to a more manageable level.
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?
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog, but if your neighbor isn’t taking training seriously, it may fall on you to correct the barking dog’s behavior. A dog whistle makes a noise that won’t disturb humans and won’t harm dogs, but the high frequency will annoy any pooch that can hear it. When the neighbor’s dog starts barking, give the whistle a blow. It may cause more barking at first, but if the pup comes to associate its barking with the irritating whistle sound, it will eventually stop barking to avoid the noise.
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
The standard dog training go to answer is to put an unwanted behavior on cue. By teaching your dog, a behavior it should only come out when you cue it. For dogs that have a lot to say (Finney!) this really helps get the edge off. My favorite reason to teach a dog to bark on cue is that at the same time we teach the “enough” or “stop” or whatever you choose to call it cue. Most of us think our dogs understand what they are saying. Often they do not.
I live in AA County too and it’s a great law. I have two labs, of course the one I raised since he was 8 weeks old is perfect, rescuing someone else’s mess is another story. The law in AA County is vague for a reason and your situation is exactly why that’s the case. If your dog is randomly barking in the house, they won’t do anything. Leave your dog outside unattended and excessively barks, that’s a huge problem. It’s a great law because if you can’t let your dog in after a few barks or leave him out for long periods of time while he barks, the law needs to get it to stop if you can’t.
Wait until your dog engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful tone of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
While you cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by brushing your dog regularly. Your veterinarian or groomer should be able to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type.
Another reason wild dogs bark less than our own furry family members is that they are less likely to be subjected to environments that encourage barking, such as fenced yards with potential prey objects (skateboards, joggers, bicycles) speeding tantalizingly past just out of reach; or humans who inadvertently – or intentionally – reinforce barking.
Use training methods. Teaching your dog the “quiet” command is an excellent training technique. It will be useful for any kind of problem barking, though it may be the only option for certain behavioral problems like territorial alarm barking.
Once you’ve taught your dog the “quiet” command in a calm environment, practice in increasingly distracting situations until your dog can immediately stop barking when asked to, even when that “intruder” arrives at the door.
If your dog likes toys, keep a favorite toy near the front door and encourage him to pick up the toy before he greets you or guests. If he learns to hold a toy in his mouth, he’ll be less inclined to bark. (He’ll probably still whine, however).
Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
Don’t punish your dog if the barking is due to fright or separation anxiety. You may have the opposite effect of increasing his anxiety, and therefore, his barking. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or Veterinary Behaviorist can give you specific directions for correcting this behavior.
Matthijs B.H. Schilder and Joanne A.M. van der Borg studied behavioral effects of electric shock collars and came to the conclusion that shocked dogs showed more stress-related behavior than the control dogs — dogs controlled via human discipline instead of no-bark collars — the shocked dogs connected their handlers with getting shocks, and may even connect orders given by their handlers with getting shocked. What does this mean? Schilder and Borg conclude that, while they have not proven that the long-term welfare of the shocked dogs is affected, it is clearly under serious threat.
I highly recommend no bark shock collars. Our stubborn pup was constantly barking and after a couple days of shock therapy she fell right in line. It may sound blunt but it’s the best damn invention for a dog there is.
Ultrasonic bark deterrent devices work by emitting an ultrasonic sound that dogs find unpleasant, which startles them out of barking. Reviews of ultrasonic anti-bark devices are mixed; some dogs don’t respond to them, and others are too sensitive for what is essentially a correction. But for some dogs, these are very effective.
Response to Stimulus: Dogs also bark when they hear or see something interesting. For example, if your dog barks or howls when a fire truck siren screams by, it isn’t necessarily to guard you. Some dogs just want to join in or let you know something different is happening.
Obsessive/Compulsive barking which is identified as excessive barking for no apparent reason or at things that wouldn’t bother other dogs. This may be accompanied by other compulsive behaviors such as spinning or jumping.
Omg, thank you so much of what you wrote. I bought today the collar and I was feeling so so bad, that almost cry and then someone in the office told me that I was crazy doing that, that my dog will be suffer, and almost died.
Constant barking can be irritating, but you won’t be able to correct the dog behavior problem if you are frustrated. Animals don’t follow unbalanced leaders. In fact, your dog will mirror your energy. If you’re frustrated, he will be, too! And barking is a great release for that frustrated energy. Take a moment to curb your own internal barking first.
It is always better to stop the barking without the bark collar. Find out the reason why the dog barks. Dogs are dogs and dogs will bark. It is very normal. And usually the dog will bark for a reason. When you discover the reason, solve the problem or get rid of it, the dog will stop barking.
Here is a YouTube video of a trainer using a clicker to teach ‘speak’. A clicker is a noise that you pair with treats, so when you are training, your dog knows he is on the right track. You can also train this skill without a clicker and just treats.
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.