Dogs barking excessively when left alone might not just be lonely or bored but suffer from separation anxiety. They often times exhibit other symptoms such as pacing, destructiveness, depression and might even defecate in places they know they are not allowed to.
I have a cocker spaniel rescue dog which I have had now for over a year – he is red colour and is now 18 months old. Hunter has had issues since we got him in that he growls if you go near his toys, food etc he is clearly resource guarding. However during the time we have had him his behaviour has worsened. He now chasing lorries, vans and buses, he growls for no reason whilst in the home, he has snapped, growled and ‘gone for’ all of us, never actually bitten but I suppose the threat is there.
Dog’s need both mental stimulation, often found in the form of training, and also physical exercise to tire them out. If these needs aren’t met, they may entertain themselves by singing the song of their people… loudly.
Play: If you’ve ever gotten your dog involved in an intense play session, you’ve probably heard them bark at you. Like kids yelling on a playground, dogs bark to communicate their willingness and excitement to play.
The best way to think of it is to imagine some children playing… then you’ll get the idea of what is going on… They start to have fun, then they get excited, then they start shouting and then start yelling!
Introduce training early, and start the quiet and place commands as soon as they can understand them. This type of early positive conditioning will help ensure that your dog never becomes a problem barker in the first place.
Separation distress: dogs that don’t like to be alone engage in this pitiful bark. It is not the same bark made by dogs going through true separation anxiety, as distress is a milder and more manageable form of canine discomfort than true separation anxiety.
The point is this: Dealing with a dog that won’t stop barking day or night is frustrating for everyone. Figuring out the behavioral problem that is causing your dog’s barking could save your sanity and keep the peace.
Wait until your dog is engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful tone of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
On walks, teach your dog that he can walk calmly past people and dogs without meeting them. To do this, distract your dog with special treats, like chicken, cheese or hot dogs, before he begins to bark. (Soft, very tasty treats work best). Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he’s walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to bark.
Why? Because it HURTS. It physically hurts when he barks. Last time he barked was 30 mins ago and my ear is still ringing! Because it’s been tried and didn’t work. I love my dog but my patience has reached its limits. He’s LOUD. Even the vet, after I got him neutered and he had stayed overnight, told me he’s got a good volume compared to most dogs. She looked sorry for me.
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.
Doglover, totally agree with you and do what you have to. Our quality of life has been ruined for 10 years by our dogs barking. We had one dog and he barked incesently whenever I went out so we got him a companion dog, didn’t work, they both bark! The dogs are walked away from home every day and we have 7 acres of land at home they can go on, I only go out for about 4 hours a day (I have a right to a life!) and when we come home, bark bark bark, and when people visit bark bark bark, and when there is anything outside or a noise. Yep, bark bark bark etc etc etc. I’ve tried professional training – not effective if we’re out obviously, ultra sonic collars. Rubbish, spray collars. Ok but only about 50% and not when we come back home, barks right through the citronella spraying! Bark bark bark and very loud! So now, at my wits end, I’ve just ordered 2 static shock collars. We have lived in this stressful situation for too long so as not to put the dogs under stress! But enough is bloody enough now. Lets hope it works. You must do what is right for you and your situation Doglover and accept that there will always be people expressing opinions about everything, both good and bad, but they are not living your life and dealing with the stuff you are. So find what works for you and your dog, don’t make the mistake of discussing it with other people as that just elicits opinions which may not be nice or productive and good luck.
PerfectFit harnesses have tiny sizes (for tiny dogs, ferrets, etc.), so if Victoria’s don’t yet come in the size you need, you could have a look on dog-games.co.uk (they also have a list of stockist worldwide on the site should you wish to have one fit in person).
Our dog recently started using an LED collar and we both love it. I am currently training for a marathon and running at night by myself isn’t fun or the smartest thing to do. Having my little one with me makes me feel better and the light up collar helps a lot. I did a lot of research, but wasn’t too happy with the prices. I ended up finding a great deal on the Eternity LED Glow website. $15.00 only! Great quality at a fantastic price! Perfect for keeping my little one safe on our walks/runs. They’re so affordable I might end up getting all seven.
The first step towards controlling excessive barking is to understand the specific reasons behind it. Even after you know the why, don’t expect to wave a magic wand and stop your dog from barking. Training your dog to bark less (you will never stop it altogether) is a time-consuming process. Also keep in mind that some breeds are more apt to bark than others and these could prove more difficult to train.
Desensitize your dog to solitude. If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety, she most likely will not be cured overnight. A good way to get your dog more accustomed to solitude is to gradually desensitize her to being left alone and reinforce the fact that getting ready to leave does not mean abandonment. This is a slow process that will take several weeks of practice and consistency, but should prove effective for long-term results.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. Some bark collars emit a noise, some bark collars a blast of air or citronella and some use an electric stimulation between two points on the collar that limit the feeling to that area. They can all work. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.
Many dogs bark when they get excited or when they are frustrated by an inability to get at or do something. For example, the dog who runs through the backyard barking and whining when hears his buddy out in the yard next door, or the dog who barks at the ball that rolled under the sofa a bit too far for him to get.
DO NOT let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason. You can hardly train her to stop barking by yelling at her across the yard. Plus, it is one of the fastest ways to turn neighbors into enemies and send an invitation to your local police.
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!