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.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
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.
Punishing your pet might temporarily suppress the behaviour but does nothing to change the motivation behind it. So your bored barker might stop woofing when told off, but they might find a different thing to occupy themselves with instead – very likely something you won’t approve of, either!
Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
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.
For immediate help, I recommend that you visit our website and plug in your zip code or city to see if there is a VSPDT local to you. If there isn’t, there is always the option of doing a phone consultation with one of them.
You don’t want to discourage your dog from playing, but play barking can get annoying at times. If you have more than one dog and they bark when playing together, build a set routine of times and places where it is okay. When you are playing with your dog, encourage the use of toy-based games to decrease the amount of barking.
My honest question: What is the point of forcing your dog to not bark at all? Do you really want a silent dog? If so, there are plenty of dogs out there who are born mute (and perhaps deaf) and cannot bark at all, and they need good homes to go to. But for any other dog, playful barking is cute and a fun part of being a dog owner, and dogs also want to be able to get your attention sometimes and there is nothing wrong with that, nor should there ever be.
If the dog seems to be barking at nothing, he’s likely bored. Boredom, due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation, is probably the biggest reason for excessive barking. Think honestly about whether your dog is getting enough. How would you feel if you were locked up at home all day with no cell phone, tablet, computer or even television? Not even a book to read. You’d get bored pretty fast.
Did you know that if we yell at a barking dog, they often feel we are joining in? Does your dog bark at you when you are the phone? Think maybe you taught this by accidentally giving them the attention they were seeking?
Response to Stimulus: Dogs also bark when they hear or see something interesting. For example, if your dog barks or howls when a fire truck siren screams by, it isn’t necessarily to guard you. Some dogs just want to join in or let you know something different is happening.
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.
For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
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.
If your dog isn’t house-safe, use crates, exercise pens, a professional dog walker (or volunteer one – you’d be amazed at how many people would like to walk a dog, but not own one!), lots of exercise, even doggie daycare to keep him out of trouble, until he earns house privileges. You can also enrich the dog’s environment, by giving him interactive toys such as food-stuffed Kong toys that keep his brain engaged and his mouth busy.
If your dog has trouble getting the message, you can also put a Kong filled with peanut butter in the crate so have something to do besides bark. After they are quietly licking out the peanut butter, you can then let them out and praise them.
Of course you’d rush out and get them. But…what if the doors were locked and you couldn’t get out? Would you sit down, relax and have a cup of tea? Of course not. You’d shout for help and call your baby back, or try and break free so you could get back to them.
Meet your neighbor in person. Hand-written notes can be ignored and don’t lead to a dialogue. Communicating the issues you’re having with your neighbor’s dog is key. If you find that they are new dog owners and don’t have much experience, you can point them to helpful training guides like this one or recommend a local trainer.
If your dog barks all day because he is bored, try leaving him with puzzles or games that take a while to figure out in order to get to the treat. If the dog’s separation anxiety is intense, you may need to call on a trainer or behaviorist for more advice.
Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog.
Pet owners always think it is strange when I recommend teaching their dog to bark on command. This places the behavior under stimulus control and with one more step, you can teach your dog to be ‘quiet’ on command.