Learning how to stop a dog from barking doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Sure, it’s a challenge to stop dog barking, but most importantly, through all of these techniques, you have to remember that just as there are some great ways to treat dog barking, there are definite ways NOT to treat it. Because frustration and boredom are often at the heart of incessant barking, scolding your dog won’t do anything. Agitation won’t be fixed with more agitation, so try to speak to your dog in a soothing voice and don’t let your anger over the situation get the best of you.
Because every pup is different, not all the techniques listed above work for every pup — most require an investment of time. If you haven’t seen improvement in three to five days using one of the anti-bark techniques, try a different approach.
Whenever you leave the house, try giving your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food. Something hollow that can be stuffed with treats, spray cheese, or low-fat peanut butter will keep your dog occupied for at least 20 to 30 minutes, which may be long enough for her to forget that she was afraid of you leaving.
The bad news is that if you just can’t get your dog to shut up in the wee hours, you’re probably not the only person who has a problem with it. In a 2,000-person survey conducted on dog barking in New Zealand, 75 percent of the participants indicated that they would be bothered by a dog barking at night. Dog barking and howling ranked highest among all other forms of suburban noise pollution. A New York Times article on the same topic confirmed that a nonstop barking dog is one local disturbance that can pit neighbors against each other.
I can control Red’s howling most of the time when I am at home. However, when I leave, (6:45AM) he can be a nonstop howling maniac, much to my neighbors’ dismay. The no-bark collar was my last resort, and thank heavens it worked. Now he doesn’t even try to bark when it is on, and my neighbors can sleep in peace in the morning.
I just want to tell Zak how nice it is to have this help in very clear and concise instructions!! I have watched Caeser Milan but his instructions are extremely convoluted I find. He is not really direct, so it’s not always clear what he is trying to say! Except, of course, that you must be the “pack leader”. Thanks for the assistance!!
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.
With all of these different forms of barking there are a variety of approaches we can take to ensure the barking is for the right reason and we can prevent dog barking when the reason is no longer there. Much of this will come from the confidence the owner shows to his dog in being able to handle different situations. To gain this confidence the owner has to get to know his dog the situations that create the barking. With this understanding, an owner can demonstrate calm, confident leadership and take control in the right way. The dog responds because he can trust the leader has taken charge. From the very beginning of our dog/owner partnership, we should be building a foundation that allows such trust and confidence. Remember that dog barking is one way the dog communicates to us, so we do not wish to prevent dog barking but we do wish to control barking as required. Learning to read your dog’s signals and means of communicating is incredibly important to your overall relationship.
Dogs want to and need to be busy. They have to be mentally challenged. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done. When he barks too much, it might be because he is bored and one way to solve this is to go for obedience training. The great thing about it is that he will also learn that Quiet command that you might have difficulties in training him. At the same time, training will help the both of you to establish a much stronger relationship as you will end up understanding each other at a whole new level.
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.
Below is a basic list of tried and true barking solutions that we utilize around here pretty much on a daily basis. I have not met you and your dog. Your issues and mileage may of course vary. The list is intended to serve as a spring board, and get you thinking of ways to solve your barking issues in a positive way.
If your dog barks at cats or birds in the garden, teach your pet a reliable recall that rewards them for turning away from the thing that triggers their vocalisation and coming to you instead. Because you have no control over this situation, you’ll need to apply a problem-solving method that gives you a way to manage it.
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.