Dogs do more than just bark. They whine, they whimper, they grumble and growl, they scream, they howl…and each communication can contain messages that help you understand your dog. When your dog is communicating out loud, take a moment to ﬁgure out what he’s trying to say, and why, and what, if anything, you should do about it.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
Don’t use inconsistent rules. If you yell at him for barking at some sights or sounds, such as the kids leaving for school, and encourage him to bark at others, like the salesman at the door, he will be hard-put to distinguish between the two events. The result will be a still-constantly barking dog.
If your dog is barking, do not yell at her, or pet her, or give her what she wants. Do not even look at her. The best strategy is to distract yourself, like reading a book or newspaper, until your dog calms down or tires herself out.
Other medical problems can also cause excessive barking. For example, a brain disease or a dog who is in chronic pain. Older pets may also develop a form of canine senility that could cause uncontrollable barking. Have your pet checked by a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions as reasons for excessive vocalizations.
You may want to share your findings with your neighbor to give him or her one last chance to change before you call the authorities. If you’re pretty sure it won’t work, move straight to the next step.
Let’s take a look at what happens in the dog’s mind during an ”extinction burst”. The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding.
Dogs can bark if they’re being territorial and sense that you’re moving in on their turf. If you find that your neighbor’s dog barks every time you go into your yard or get close to the neighbor’s property, it’s probably being territorial. A good solution for this kind of barking is to block the dog’s view with a fence, some kind of screen, or some privacy bushes and trees. If the dog can’t see you, it is less likely to think of you as a threat.
It is not difficult to build an area for the dog. All that is needed is a way to separate that area from other areas of the home or the backyard. You can use wood, furniture and special items that are found in pet stores. When the dog has his own play area, he can have his time and consume the energy that makes him want to keep barking.
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.
Now add stay into your exercise. Stand next to your dog’s spot. Ask him to sit or lie down, say “Stay” and wait one second. Then say “Yes!” or “Good!” and give him a treat. After you deliver the treat, say “Okay” to release your dog from the stay and encourage him to get off the spot. Repeat this sequence at least 10 times per training session. Progressively increase from one second to several seconds, but vary the time so that sometimes you make the exercise easy (a shorter stay) and sometimes you make it hard (a longer stay). If your dog starts to get up before you say “Okay,” say “Uh-uh!” or “Oops!” and immediately ask him to sit or lie down on his spot again. Then make the exercise a little easier the next few times by asking your dog to hold the stay for a shorter time. Avoid pushing your dog to progress too fast or testing him to see how long he can hold the stay before getting up. This sets your dog up to fail. You want him to be successful at least 8 out of 10 times in a row.
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.