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).
There are a few things you can do to get your dog to stop barking at inappropriate times. It’s important to note that these tips aren’t an overnight fix. Be patient and stick with it, though, and you will begin to notice a change in your pup’s behavior.
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 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.)
Dogs bark for various reasons. If you want to modify your dog’s barking behavior (either decrease it or increase it) it’s helpful to know what kind of barking your dog is doing, how the behavior is being reinforced, and what to do about it.
While some of them might actually work in the immediate-term (by stopping the dog from barking while the device is being used) sadly they do little to address the motivation behind the barking, and so only act to suppress the behaviour without actually solving the real issue.
Dogs that are not bored will rarely bark without a serious reason. The next time you see the dog barking in the living room and running around agitated, it may be because he is really bored. Take him out for a walk. Then, try to find more entertainment options for him for other days so that the situation does not repeat itself.
You can also prevent undesirable behavior by reducing the chances of those situations arising. For example, if your dog barks for your help whenever her ball rolls underneath the couch, try putting something under the couch to block her toys from rolling under there.
The problem with shouting at a dog is that it thinks that you are upset as well. The problem is that it does not blame itself for your distress. It thinks that you are concerned about the threat too. Also, if you carry on shouting at your dog, it actually thinks you are joining in, thereby reinforcing its initial alert. I once met a couple whose dog would bark non-stop for 30 minutes. The only reason it stopped after a half-hour was because the wife’s voice stopped working, she screamed at it for so long.
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.
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.
Talk to your neighbor. Many people jump straight to drastic measures instead of simply talking to the neighbor about their concerns. Unless you’re on bad terms with your neighbor, the best way to solve this problem is usually to just talk to him or her about it. You could casually approach your neighbor next time you see him or her outside, or write a note asking to set up a time to talk.
If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a ‘Let’s Go’ cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash.
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices that shock, make an ultrasonic noise, or spray citronella when a dog barks. They are not good first choices for solving barking problems, especially when the barking is based on fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, you should consult with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. These should only be considered when all other methods have failed.
As already mentioned, dogs are easily distracted. It is normal for them to hear sounds outside and start barking. What is interesting and is rarely understood is that the dog can hear sounds that you do not because of how well the sense is developed in these animals. In the event that you live in a small apartment, the dog hearing something outside is something that is quite common. Combine this with the fact that he might not have enough space to play and it is a certainty that he will start barking.
When your dog automatically turns his attention to you in response to your cue when confronted with major real-life distractions, you have a valuable tool for interrupting his barking. Be sure you practice occasionally with mild distractions to keep the cue “tuned up”, and remember to thank him and tell him what a wonderful dog he is when he stops barking on your request.
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Ironic that I should be writing a how to get your dog to stop barking post when for the first time in my life, and after being a pro dog trainer for close to 20 years, I am living with dogs who love the sound of their own voices. Let’s meet the players, shall we.
Then one day you decided not to get up and ignore the barking thinking this would nip the behavior in the bud. It did not work, your dog very likely barked even more than before. Why is this? It is because of the process of ”extinction burst”. Basically, your dog is thinking ”My owners this morning are not getting up as usual. I need to INCREASE, my barking in intensity and duration so they get up since just barking a little is not working”. She therefore barked more and perhaps you or somebody else in your family finally tired of her, finally got up.
That constant barking that you hear might be due to boredom or simply the need to interact with people and other animals. A solution for that barking problem may be as simple as dropping the pet at a dog daycare centre. You can do this around 3 days per week.
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.
First of all we have to identify WHY your dog is barking, because the solution we use is not always going to be the same. After all, you’d never use the same approach to stop a child who was shouting out for help as a child who was screaming at you for more chocolate, now would you?
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your yard, keep him in the house during the day and supervise him when he’s in the yard so that he can’t just bark his head off when no one’s around. If he’s sometimes able to engage in excessive alarm barking (when you’re not around, for example), that behavior will get stronger and harder to reduce.
Use a silent dog whistle. There are mixed reviews on whether these devices work, but many have found success with them. Silent whistles make a sound that dogs can hear, but humans can’t, so your neighbors won’t even know you’re using it. Whenever the dog barks, blow the whistle. it may take a number of attempts, but eventually the dog will associate barking with the piercing noise of the whistle, and stop barking.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.