Have your dog bring you a present. Another way to keep your dog’s mouth closed is to encourage her to bring a “present” to you, a guest, or someone in your home; or to simply to encourage him to enjoy carrying objects. Dogs that enjoy retrieving will often pick up a toy and carry it around just to show their pleasure. Naturally dogs cannot bark when they are holding a toy. But be careful not to give the toy when dog barking is in progress or the dog could mistake the toy as a reward for barking.
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.
If your dog barks at any and every noise and sight regardless of the context, he’s probably alarm barking. Dogs engaged in alarm barking usually have stiffer body language than dogs barking to greet, and they often move or pounce forward an inch or two with each bark. Alarm barking is different than territorial barking in that a dog might alarm bark at sights or sounds in any location at all, not just when he’s defending familiar areas, such as your house, yard or car.
You are exactly right. People who are lucky enough to not have a dog that barks a ridiculous amount don’t know the frustration of this problem for owners and neighbor. Pretty sweet to get a dog early enough to train it not to do this. Many dog owners have dogs that have already developed constant barking and something had to be done to be fair to the neighbors who are the biggest sufferers.
Consider alternative arrangements. If your dog absolutely will not calm down in spite of training, or if your landlord or neighbors have expressed impatience with your dog’s need for training, you may need to consider alternative arrangements.
Studies have shown that the collars that make a noise do not work with most dogs. One study compared the citronella spray collar and the electronic shock collar and found they are equally effective for eliminating barking. Some collars use a microphone to hear the dog’s bark. If you have more than one dog, the second one could set off the collar with his barking. Anti-bark collars are not designed to be left on all the time and your dog may learn not to bark when the collar is on, and then resume the barking when the collar is off.
If you have a nervous dog, time and patience is key! The overall goal should be to get your dog comfortable around the things that is making him nervous. If you can get a nervous dog play a game of tug-of-war around things that seem to make them nervous, then you off to a great start! But, most dogs don’t play when they’re nervous, so having high quality rewards nearby can help. This will slowly help your dog associate something great with things that used to make him uncomfortable. Over time, (sometimes a long time,) you should begin seeing improvements.
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.)
Anxiety or Fear: Dogs also bark when they are unsure or scared. They may use barking as they run away the same way a human would scream. They may also use sound as a defense mechanism to keep their attacker at a distance. Dogs learn early that the best defense is often a good offense.
Respected trainer and president of Legacy Canine Behavior & Training Inc, Terry Ryan, explains in her book ”The Toolbox for Building A Great Family Dog” Once you recognize what the rewards are (in your case getting up and feeding) and take them away, the behavior will likely increase immediately. This is known as an ”extinction burst”. In plain words, Gus will get worst before he gets better. It might be frustrating, but take it as a good sign. It’s working! You’ve got his number! Stay the course and the behavior will drop off over time.”.
I have heard about these “no-bark” collars before, and as before, I am shocked and appalled by the very idea that anyone would choose to do this to their beloved animals. If you are new to pet ownership and think this would be a good way to train your dog to not bark, do your research. Read books and training manuals, and talk to kennel owners, Humane Society volunteers, and professional trainers, and find out what people who are heavily involved and invested in the welfare of dogs really think about the no-bark collars. Because these collars are no good, and certainly anyone with any sense of how to treat a dog would ever seriously consider using one of these devices.
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Similarly, she says, if your dog barks when you pick up the leash to go for a walk, don’t reward him by heading out the door and giving him what he wants. Instead, drop the leash until he settles and stops barking. If he barks as soon as you clip on the leash, drop it and ignore him until he quiets down. It takes patience, but eventually he’ll learn that barking won’t get him what he wants.
Punishment is generally frowned upon in the veterinary behavior community, but at least in this case the punishment is not too traumatic and it does help your dog not to do the behavior. In some cases where you have received noise complaints from the neighbours, it can be a quick fix. The citronella collar and shock collar are two devices that punish the bark and are unreliable and can lead to learned helplessness. They can go off randomly while the dog is not barking and even when they work correctly, the dog usually has no idea what he is receiving punishment for.
Correct your dog when they bark by giving them a stern look, making a loud, sharp sound, or physically touching your dog to distract them. Keep correcting if the dog starts barking again and do this consistently and repeatedly until they stop.
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)
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What’s more, they can actually do more harm than good by causing your dog unnecessary stress and even pain. Plus, using devices that punish pets will likely damage the bond between you, meaning your dog is less likely to follow your instruction in future, and can lead to further problem behaviours.
I’m not sure what to do with my rough collie. I understand her need to herd–we often let people walk ahead of us, just so she’s satisfied. Her issue is barking at anything on wheels, but not cars or bikes. The vacuum cleaner is her enemy. She growls, and snaps and nips. Even if I’m upstairs and she hears it moving, she goes crazy. The other annoying one is if anyone sneezes! She goes nuts! And squirt bottles/mops! Makes cleaning tough!What techniques do you recommend? Right now, I apologize for sneezing, and I put her in the yard while I vacuum, to remove the stimulus.
past bad words, and let her know you’d like to help with her dog’s barking, if you can. Even short of doing actual behavior modiﬁcation, offers to let her dog play with yours (if they’re compatible) or taking her dog for walks (if you can safely manage the dog) may enrich the dog’s environment and provide enough exercise to reduce or eliminate the barking.
Barking is a normal canine communication, but inappropriate barking – too much or too often – is probably one of the most commonly reported problems owners have with their dogs. It can be annoying and can lead to unhappy situations with neighbours, particularly if your dog barks a lot.
Making sure your dog gets exercise is always a great start. “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration,” the Humane Society of the United States suggests.
This type of barking is a form of expression which often developed through positive reinforcement from the owner. If your dog barks to let you know he needs to go relieve himself, this is usually a good thing. When he barks because he wants your dinner or to play or go for a walk, this is less positive.