Some dogs are very excitable and nervous, and they bark at everything that passes. Obedience training can be very helpful. You might want to provide the names of a few well-rated training schools in the area.
Block the dog’s view. If the dog barks every time it sees movement, blocking its view of your movements might help. Increase the height of your fence or close off areas where the dog sees movement. If the dog is being set off by your cats or other pets moving in the yard at night, this might be enough to quieten the dog.
Grumbles and growls can have several meanings. Some dogs grumble and growl in enjoyment at a butt-scratch or body massage. More often, a growl is an important warning – “I don’t like you (or whatever you’re doing); please stop!” (See “Understand Why Your Dog Growls,” October 2005.)
Separation anxiety (SA) is manifested in a number of behaviors, including nonstop hysterical barking and sometimes howling. This is a complex and challenging behavior both to modify and to manage, as true SA is a real panic attack in response to being left alone; the dog truly cannot control his behavior. SA usually requires the intervention of a good positive behavior consultant, and sometimes pharmaceuticals.
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 – reinforce barking.
Do your neighbors who get barked at have predictable patterns? The neighbor’s little yippie pup gets let our everyday at 12:20 when the Dad comes home for lunch. This can get my dogs going. You can bet my dogs are not in the yard at that time. No need to have a bark off if you can avoid it. Some dogs would do well to avoid being out and about at certain times. For some dogs that means avoiding before and after work times. Know your hood.
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).
I know first hand the frustration of dealing with a barking dog. Trust me, I have a Chihuahua! While inappropriate barking can make you want to pull your hair out at times, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural behavior for your pup. Barking is the way he communicates and of course he’s going to feel the need to alert you when an intruder is approaching (by “intruder” I really mean a friendly neighbor)!
Citronella spray collar – Citronella spray bark collars use a burst of citronella spray to reduce and ultimately eliminate excessive barking. They may not always be as effective but research shows that they are less harmful and cause less stress in dogs.
I would NOT use one. We had a sport dog no bark collar and we recently found two large holes and missing hair on our dogs neck. She just had surgery and came out with five stitches and on a bunch of medications.
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.
Block what bothers her. If your dog has barking problems whenever she sees or hears something outside, a simple solution might be to block her access to seeing or hearing that trigger. If she stands at the window and barks, try putting up curtains or blinds so she can’t see passing people or animals. If the sounds she hears outside tend to set her off, try leaving a radio on during the day to distract her and muffle the sounds outside your home.
As you extend the amount of time that you’re out of your dog’s sight or behind closed doors, you should incorporate counterconditioning methods like a puzzle toy to keep her distracted. Try adding this component once you’re behind closed doors or out the back door for at least 10 to 20 seconds at a time.