Don’t bark back. Talk to your puppy with your tone of voice and body language — not just the words—to make sure he doesn’t misunderstand. Barking is also a joyful expression. Use a calm voice, or else yelling can make him think you’re joining the chorus, and he barks even louder.
Dogs kept outside commonly bark from boredom; this is especially true for energetic breeds like German Shepherds, terriers (including Pit Bulls), and guard dogs like Dobermans and Rottweilers. Suggest that the dog needs more exercise.
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.
Once you can open the door and your dog will stay in his spot, have someone actually come in the door. Of course your dog will break from the spot at first, but with time and practice, he’ll learn to stay in his spot when the door opens and guests come in.
Recognize compulsive/boredom barking. If your dog barks compulsively for no reason, or tends to bark when she’s left alone (in the yard, for example), she may be engaging in boredom barking. Dogs that bark when left alone may be experiencing separation anxiety, but there are usually other symptoms which accompany that problem, like destructive behavior, bathroom problems, and following you around when you’re home. Common signs of compulsive or boredom barking include:
If you need help teaching your dog these skills, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist in your area. A professional trainer can meet with you one-on-one to guide you through the process of teaching your dog to sit, stay and go to a spot on command. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts near you.
The problem with shouting at a dog is that it thinks that you are upset as well. The problem is that it does not blame itself for your distress. It thinks that you are concerned about the threat too. Also, if you carry on shouting at your dog, it actually thinks you are joining in, thereby reinforcing its initial alert. I once met a couple whose dog would bark for 30 minutes. The only reason it stopped after a half-hour was because the wife’s voice stopped working, she screamed at it for so long.
The key thing is to realise that your dog or puppy’s barking has got NOTHING to do with boredom! This means that trying to keep your dog occupied by leaving bones down and loads of chews and toys stuffed with peanut butter are unlikely to work. In fact it can make things much worse, so pick up the food.
Here is a YouTube video of a trainer using a clicker to teach ‘speak’. A clicker is a noise that you pair with treats, so when you are training, your dog knows he is on the right track. You can also train this skill without a clicker and just treats.
Still in the low-distraction environment, add moderate distractions – one at a time – and practice the interrupt. Gradually move up to major distractions in the low-distraction environment. If you lose his automatic response at any step, return to the previous step.
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.
I just want to tell Zak how nice it is to have this help in very clear and concise instructions!! I have watched Caeser Milan but his instructions are extremely convoluted I find. He is not really direct, so it’s not always clear what he is trying to say! Except, of course, that you must be the “pack leader”. Thanks for the assistance!!
When they bark, simply say something like “Thank You”, in a VERY gentle voice (rather like you would whisper in somebodies ear). Then if they continue with the barking, go and take a look out the window and again say “Thank You” again very softly, before walking away. (Now I know this may seem odd, BUT it makes total sense to your dog – I promise!)
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.
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Some dogs bark excessively in a repetitive way, like a broken record. These dogs often move repetitively as well. For example, a dog who’s compulsively barking might run back and forth along the fence in his yard or pace in his home.