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!
It is vital that you determine why your dog barks in the first place, and if barking mostly occurs when your dog is left alone, a behaviour consultation with a qualified pet behaviour counsellor will likely be necessary to address this problem. Similarly, if your dog barks at people or dogs when out and about, or at visitors coming to the home, a simple tip is unlikely make a difference and a comprehensive assessment will be needed to help improve your dog’s behaviour.
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
(Now if you are thinking “Well that won’t work with our little Rover, he NEVER gives up”, then there are a lot of other tips and tricks which will convince even the most stubborn barking dogs that it’s best to be quiet, which I’ve added at the end.)
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.
The no-bark collar has received quite a few critics whose points should be brought to light. Bark collars, while they discourage problem barking can also discourage all barking in some more sensitive dogs. On the topic of sensitive dogs it is also true that some dogs can be particularly sensitive to one type of bark collar or another so it is recommended that you discuss all of your options with your vet prior to using a bark collar. For some dogs the shock collar is too painful, while others seem to be unaffected by it. For some dogs that still have the natural instinct to disguise their scent the citronella bark collar can start the dog rolling on the floor trying to disguise their scent with the citronella. For some dogs the ultrasound noise just does not deter the dog from barking so it really is beneficial to know your dog and know your options when it comes to using a bark collar on your dog.
To better understand the process of extinction which is the process of a behavior diminishing and eventually ending, we can compare a dog’s behavior to a big fire. Giving in to a behavior as barking in the morning is adding fuel to the fire. The behavior increases, becomes stronger and is harder to extinguish. If the fuel is not added, the behavior over time, will likely become smaller and easier to extinguish.
Sue the dog owner in small claims court. Even after getting the authorities involved, some stubborn dog owners won’t comply with requests to quiet the dog. If nothing else works, you can sue for nuisance in small claims court. The goal will be to make a case that the dog’s barking is preventing you from enjoying your own home. If you win, the dog owner will have to pay a small sum of money. Prepare to sue by doing the following:
If you’re in a location where neighbors won’t complain and the other dogs tolerate the behavior, you might just leave this one alone. With children, however, barking behavior is not appropriate, and the dog should be managed by removing him from the play area, rather than risk bites to children.
Remember, animals don’t engage in any behavior unless they get some reward. Believe it or not, they aren’t barking to annoy you. They’re getting a positive stimulus by engaging in the activity. Your job is to identify it, and then give them an even greater reward to be quiet.
First of all, it’s important that you don’t get mad at the dog, as tempting as that may be. The dog is just being a dog and doing what dogs do. Instead, go to your neighbor directly. They may not be aware that there is a problem if the dog barks while they are away at work or out of the house, or they may already know the barking is an issue and are trying to work on it. Don’t make assumptions or accusations, and approach after you’ve had time to cool down.
Basically, the point is to redirect their focus away from barking to an activity that you can reward. You can also redirect them to a toy or a game of fetch. After all, it’s tough to bark when engaged in a fun tug session.
Certain dog breeds bark more than others. In fact, some types of dogs were actually bred to be barkers. This may be so they could alert people about dangers, protect homes, or even scare prey out of hiding for hunters. On the flip side, the Basenji does not bark at all (though the breed can vocalize in other ways).
I know this isn’t exactly on topic tonight, but I have been having issues with my young male rottweiler following my commands to go to bed at night. He is normally so well behaved and a great listener. I don’t know if it is because Ares is getting to the age where his hormones or kicking in and he doesn’t want to listen, or what. I understand that sometimes he gets bored in his crate when I have been at work, and I have let him take his favorite toy to bed with him, but tonight was a struggle to get him to bed. I was actually home all day today with him, and we had fun playing out doors and relaxing inside, but for some reason, he absolutely would not go up the stairs tonight. I had to carry him up the stairs, and mind you he is a 50-60 pound pup who is 5 months, but to do that seemed a bit extreme. Am I not firm enough? I just don’t understand. I could have him outside going potty and he gets a whiff of something, and all I have to do is call him and he comes running. What could be so different about tonight?
Research your town or city’s anti-barking laws. Look online at your town or city’s codes, by-laws or dog legislation. There may be a code against unruly pets or incessant barking at night; many places have legislation or regulations in place that deal specifically with dogs and/or noise. There might also be a code covering ignoring requests from neighbors.
Rule out medical problems. Sometimes barking is your dog’s way of indicating to you that she is injured or sick. If there is a chance that your dog might have some medical problem or injury, you should take her to see a vet as soon as possible.
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.
I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
This barking occurs when your dog wants something, rather like a nagging child. They’re not happy and they’re letting you know. So it could be that they want to come inside, or be let out of the crate, or be given some food, or they simply want your attention.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.