Teaching replacement behaviors may be time consuming, but ultimately it is the best way to encourage desirable behavior. Instead of responding to your dog’s vocal requests to play, for example, teach her to bring her favorite toy to you and set it on the floor.
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.
Excessive barking due to separation anxiety occurs only when a dog’s caretaker is gone or when the dog is left alone. You’ll usually see at least one other separation anxiety symptom as well, like pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress. For more information about this problem, please see our article, Separation Anxiety.
Curb barks with scent. Researchers at Cornell University in New York found citronella collars to be much more effective in bark training. Citronella collars give a warning tone first; additional barking prompts a squirt of scent that stops the barking. Some of these collars have remote control activators.
In a dog’s mind, even yelling at her to stop is considered attention. If you lose your patience and yell at your dog, she will probably bark for even longer next time, because she will have been conditioned to expect any kind of response (even a negative response).
Gradually lengthen the duration of time she must be quiet before getting the treat. Eventually, she should reach a point where simply saying the word “quiet” without showing her a treat will elicit a silent response.
Do you have a problem barker? It’s best to address the issue now before it gets any worse. Learn how to stop barking and prevent excessive barking in dogs. In most cases, you can curb barking with basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise. In more serious situations, you may need to bring in a trainer or behaviorist. One thing you should not do is ignore the problem. Excessive barking is not likely to improve with out intervention from you.
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.
Now I should point out that this barking is NOT “naughty behavior” as many people think, nor has it anything to do with boredom which is why using a shock collar to try to stop this behavior is such a cruel idea. Let me explain.
Attention seeking: Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. If he barks to go outside, it’s the same. So teach him to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe he’ll start pushing it with his nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.
Once you discover the true reason for the behavior, you can begin to learn how to get a dog to stop barking. The method that you use to stop the behavior will vary depend on the reason why your dog is making the nuisance noise in the first place. Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything you need to know about learning how to get a dog to stop barking in this article.
“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.”
“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.
Is your neighbor’s dog keeping you up all night? It’s time to take action. The fastest and best way to end the noise is usually to speak to your neighbor face to face to work out a good solution. If that isn’t effective, get law enforcement involved to solve the problem for you. In the meantime, try using a dog whistle or another method to help the dog stay quiet.
Dogs that are bored have no way to release their energy. You want to be sure that the dog has different ways to let off some steam and have fun. You might think that the dog is getting enough exercise and plays enough but according to the dog, this may be incorrect. Every single dog has his own personality. You want to learn what your dog wants to do. If there is a need to offer more entertainment, you need to take steps to do that.
Keep in mind that not all the dog daycare centers out there are really good. You want to meet with the people that will take care of him and fully understand what happens there. After all, you are leaving the dog with strangers. You want to be sure that the dog feels great and is treated as he should be treated. If you notice that the dog is not happy and does not enjoy his time at the center, do not force him to keep going!
Consistency with this concept is key. You have to train your dog to understand that being quiet results in a reward. This means only letting your dog out of the crate when they are calm. It means only petting your pup when they are exhibiting relaxed behaviors.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it is a good idea to set up a safe and quiet placed for them when you aren’t home. Choose a room in your home that is away from the front door and with limited distractions from the outside world. This can be a back bedroom, laundry room or spare space.
Don’t allow problems to go on and on. The longer a dog does something, the more ingrained it becomes. Barking can give dogs an adrenaline rush, which makes the barking pleasant. And allowing a dog to bark in certain situations, such as when the mailman arrives, can eventually make a dog aggressive in those situations. What if your dog gets out one day as the mail is being delivered? Deal with barking problems as quickly as possible.
“Debarking,” or cordectomy is an elective surgical procedure involving partial removal of a dog’s vocal cords. Debarking does not take away the dog’s ability to bark – it just makes it sound quieter and raspy (considered annoying by some). In this dog lover’s opinion, debarking surgery is unnecessary and unfair to the dog. Surgery and anesthesia are always risks, so any procedure that is purely for human convenience and does not medically benefit the patient or animal community should be avoided. In addition, excessive barking indicates an underlying issue that is usually behavioral. Surgery takes the noise away, but the anxiety, fear or similar problem remains unaddressed. Rather than debarking your dog, spend your time and money on training and/or visiting a veterinary behaviorist.
Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog’s life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
If your dog barks inappropriately, it is important to start by setting yourself a realistic goal. Planning for your dog to stop barking completely is not realistic – barking is a natural dog behaviour and dogs will bark – more or less, and largely depending on the breed – whether we want it or not. You can reduce the amount of barking, but stopping it will never be possible.
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.)
What you’ve just done is checked out the danger (even if it was just a bird in a tree) calmly communicated to them using your body language, the tone of your voice and your energy that there’s no need to worry. If they continue barking after you’ve done this then you can very calmly pop them into time out for a couple of minutes.
Do not attempt to work with a neighbor’s dog without the permission of the owner. Even with your best of intentions, you could be bitten, you could be sued, and you could actually intensify the bark rather than reducing it. And do not install any electronic anti-barking devices. We are hearing reports that these can be quite aversive, perhaps even painful, for the dogs at which they are directed.
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.