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.
I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
There are a number of different collars available to stop barking. The most humane is the Husher®, which is a soft elastic loosely fitting muzzle, that stops your dog from opening his mouth to bark, but will allow him to pant, eat and drink. It can be left on while your dog is alone, and can be used as a training aid. If you hear your dog barking, say ‘hush’ and show him the Husher® and if he does not stop, put the Husher® on.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
“Debarking,” or cordectomy is an elective surgical procedure involving partial removal of a dog’s vocal cords. Debarking does not take away the dog’s ability to bark – it just makes it sound quieter and raspy (considered annoying by some). In this dog lover’s opinion, debarking surgery is unnecessary and unfair to the dog. Surgery and anesthesia are always risks, so any procedure that is purely for human convenience and does not medically benefit the patient or animal community should be avoided. In addition, excessive barking indicates an underlying issue that is usually behavioral. Surgery takes the noise away, but the anxiety, fear or similar problem remains unaddressed. Rather than debarking your dog, spend your time and money on training and/or visiting a veterinary behaviorist.
We tend to think of barking as a generally undesirable behavior. ln fact, there may be times when you want your dog to bark. lf you routinely walk or jog with your dog in areas where you might be accosted by unwelcome strangers, a controlled bark from your dog might serve as a useful deterrent. You know your dog is barking on cue, but the potential mugger doesn‘t, and likely assumes your dog‘s willing to back up his bark with a bite.
Demand barking is easiest to extinguish early. The longer a dog successfully demands stuff, the more persistent he’ll be if you try to ignore him. However, ignoring him is the best answer to this behavior. No treats, no attention – not even eye contact. The instant the demand behavior starts, utter a cheerful “Oops!” and turn your back on your dog. When he’s quiet, say, “Quiet, yes!” and return your attention – and treat – to him.
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
Get backup from other neighbors. If your neighbor ignores your requests or doesn’t make a change after you’ve asked politely, it can help to get neighbors involved. Talk to other people who live nearby to see if they’re also being kept awake by the dog. You can then talk to your neighbor again as a group. This time your requests are likely to be taken seriously.
Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.
Once your dog is reliably going to his spot, vary where you are when you send him there. Practice asking him to go to his spot from many different angles and distances. For example, say “Go to your spot” when you’re standing a few steps to the left of it. After a few repetitions, move a few steps to the right of the spot and say, “Go to your spot” from that position. Then move to another area in the room, then another, etc. Eventually, practice standing by the front door and asking your dog to go to his spot, just as you might when visitors arrive.
Our senior Danish Dog Listener lives in Copenhagen. Down her street, every single house has been burgled, with one exception. That house is the one with Karina’s four Doberman living there. Now, I don’t know any burglars (I am not a ne’er-do-well) but I imagine that there are very, very few burglars who, upon seeing four Doberman running out into the garden and barking, will think to themselves, “I like a challenge!”
Some dogs end up being distracted in just a few seconds. It is so common to see them look outside the window and then stop barking. That is because they saw something that made them enthusiastic. Such a situation is really common with the large or medium sized breeds that have a strong hunting instinct. They will see a sparrow out the window and will want to chase it. Since they cannot do that, they start barking at the sparrow.
Try ignoring the barking and waiting till your dog stops. If simply waiting silently doesn’t work, calmly ask them to “sit” or “lie down”. Once they are calm and have stopped barking, praise them with lots of fuss or a treat.
Your pet likes to greet you after not seeing you for a while. This can lead to excessive barking. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with a wagging tail and sometimes even jumping. This is one of the areas where owners, without being aware, reward their dog for their unwanted behavior. But more on this later.
Be assertive in your physical posture. Focus your body and calm energy on blocking the dog from the stimulus that seems to be causing the barking. Concentrate and remain calm to let your dog know that you are in charge and that the dog doesn’t need to worry about the stimulus.
Recognize separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can take various forms in a dog, but the most common signs of separation anxiety are destroying the house/apartment and barking incessantly. These behaviors are typically only engaged in when the dog’s owner is at work or otherwise out of the house, and if the dog is not destructive, some owners may not even be aware that their dogs have separation anxiety. Common signs of separation anxiety to look out for include:
The no-bark collar has received quite a few critics whose points should be brought to light. Bark collars, while they discourage problem barking can also discourage all barking in some more sensitive dogs. On the topic of sensitive dogs it is also true that some dogs can be particularly sensitive to one type of bark collar or another so it is recommended that you discuss all of your options with your vet prior to using a bark collar. For some dogs the shock collar is too painful, while others seem to be unaffected by it. For some dogs that still have the natural instinct to disguise their scent the citronella bark collar can start the dog rolling on the floor trying to disguise their scent with the citronella. For some dogs the ultrasound noise just does not deter the dog from barking so it really is beneficial to know your dog and know your options when it comes to using a bark collar on your dog.
This barking response is also known as alarm barking. It can be in response to people coming to the door, people or animals walking by your house, or other sights and sounds that alert the dog to the presence of someone or something crossing their territory. Territory can be your house, your yard, or even your car while you are driving.
Greeting/Play: To stop a dog from going into a barking frenzy every time you come home or the doorbell rings, you’ll need to teach him other behaviors. One way is to train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when the door opens. It’s best if they can see the door, but not be too close to it. Pick a spot and practice getting your dog to go there and stay, but don’t touch the door yet. Use lots of treats and praise, making it a game.
In general, a no-bark dog collar is able to detect barking by sensing vibrations in the dog’s vocal chords. When this occurs, the collar provides a stimulus to the dog, warning him that this is the consequence for barking. All three of the no-bark collars fit snuggly against your dog’s neck when they are fitted correctly. It is increasingly important both for safety and for proper training that this collar is fitted by a professional or by an experienced dog owner.
Use a phrase such as “Over here!” or “Quiet please!” as your interrupt cue. Say the phrase in a cheerful tone of voice when your dog is paying attention to you, then immediately feed him a morsel of very high value treat, such as a small shred of chicken. Repeat until you see his eyes light up and his ears perk when you say the phrase.
While some of them might actually work in the immediate-term (by stopping the dog from barking while the device is being used) sadly they do little to address the motivation behind the barking, and so only act to suppress the behaviour without actually solving the real issue.
If Method #1 isn’t working after at least 10-20 sessions, add a startling noise to the “quiet” command, such as a can of pennies, a bell, even a loud single clap of your hands. This should gain his attention and you can then go through the remaining steps of calling him over, asking him to sit, and giving praise and treats until the person or noise is gone. If he begins barking immediately after you release him, repeat the steps. If after 10-20 more tries the barking hasn’t diminished you may have an obsessive or anxiety situation and should seek the advice of a professional.
Have you become desperate to figure out how to get a dog to stop barking? It’s in a dog’s nature to bark. They enjoy barking, and they bark for many reasons. They will bark when they want something, when they are playing, when they are establishing their territory, when they are frightened, when they are annoyed, and when they are just saying “Hi!” Too much barking, however, can drive a dog’s family–and their neighbors–crazy!
Guarding: Dogs will often bark and growl when they are guarding. This bark is more aggressive. The dog may also have a stiff or wagging tail with their hackles raised. The bark is used as a warning not to come closer or they attack to defend their space. While dogs don’t always bark before they bite, most give some kind of warning.
Repeat this process until your dog learns to associate the word “quiet” with her silence. Once your dog has done this successfully on 10 or more occasions, you can begin giving the quiet command without showing her a treat. If she still complies with your command, then give her a treat. If she does not, you may need to show her the treat for several more training sessions.
Also, remember to socialize your puppy. Most dogs bark at unfamiliar things that they don’t understand or feel may be a threat. If your pup has grown comfortable with a wide range of scenery and sounds, they will feel less of a need to bark as they will be more confident.
It’s important to note that electric shock collars are illegal to use on dogs in Wales. If you use these on your dog in Wales, you face a cruelty conviction, a fine of up to £20,000 and six months in prison.
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)