Does your dog bark people, dogs, other animals? Does your dog bark when you are walking? Does your dog bark when you leave? There is no need to use punishment to teach your dog to not bark. Adopt an attitude of patience and you’ll fix this in no time at all!
There are all sorts of devices that claim to stop barking. Most of them are some sort of collar that offer a negative response when a dog barks, such as an electric shock, a spray of citronella or a burst of static electricity. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist before considering one of these devices. If used incorrectly, they can cause more problems. For example, if your dog gets shocked every time he barks at a neighbor, he could associate the pain with the neighbor instead of the barking.
Another reason wild dogs bark less than our own furry family members is that they are less likely to be subjected to environments that encourage barking, such as fenced yards with potential prey objects (skateboards, joggers, bicycles) speeding tantalizingly past just out of reach; or humans who inadvertently – or intentionally – reinforce barking.
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
Debarking or devocalization is a surgery performed under full anesthesia that removes all or part of a dog’s vocal cords. The dog can still make noise, but it’s more of a raspy, hoarse sound. Many animal rights and veterinary groups strongly discourage the practice.
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.
I have tried one of the white triangular anti-bark collars that say they use ultra sound. It was the biggest waste of money. (and it was only $3 on e-bay) It has a high pitched tone when the dog barks (can be heard by humans) and another Ultra-sonic sound (that can also be heard by humans.)
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.
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
Dogs feel the owner’s energy. If the owner is mad, the dog will get mad. If the dog owner is calm, he will end up calming himself. Whenever trying to talk to the dog in order to get him to stop barking, you have to be calm and assertive. This is easier said than done but you manage to tell your dog a simple command like “Quiet” in a calm voice tone, he will understand that something is wrong.
One tool that may help with this training is a head halter. It looks somewhat like a combination collar/muzzle, but it allows the dog to breath and drink. Used with supervision (never leave it on the dog when he is alone), it may have a controlling and calming effect on your walks and at home, reducing the likelihood of barking. A head halter does not replace training, rewards and praise, but is a tool to help you in your counter-bark training.