There was the time I was engrossed in writing an article and our dogs were alarm-barking ferociously. Resisting the urge just to tell them to stop, I reluctantly got up to investigate. No, the house wasn’t on fire, but I did find our horses running down the driveway toward the road.
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.
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Instead of a no-bark collar, why not try training your dog traditionally, using voice and hand commands? This would help with other training issues that your dog might have, such as obeying commands, potty training, and playing well with other dogs at the dog park. Issues such as those are not at all solved by putting a collar on the dog that harms him when he barks. You will find that a lot of the issues you might have had with your dog are solved with the proper training regimen early in life. You can read up on the best new training methods in books or training manuals, enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend, or hire a personal trainer for a few hours per week if you cannot afford training school.
Customizing a training solution for your dog’s specific type of bark will make it much easier to stop, and in some cases, prevent the barking from happening. The following tips are a mix of management solutions, which are easier to implement, as well as training suggestions, which require more time and dedication on your part.
Here’s a list of six techniques that can help stop your dog from barking. While all of them can be very successful, you shouldn’t expect miraculous results overnight. The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways.
Pay attention to the circumstances. Barking at the mailman teaches pups to repeat the behavior when your two-pound terror thinks, “My ferocious bark chased him away — I’m an awesome guard dog, beware!” You may want to enlist your mail carrier’s help — ask him/her to feed your pup a treat once he is quiet and praise him for being silent.
One reason that it’s so easy to live with dogs is that they’re very expressive. They find a way to let us know their needs. They often do this by barking or whining. Indeed, we find it desirable when they bark to ask to go outside to eliminate or to request that their water bowl be filled. It’s less attractive, however, when your dog barks to demand anything and everything, needed or not! This pattern of barking does not happen by accident. A demanding, noisy dog has been taught to be this way, usually not on purpose! To get your dog to stop, you’ll need to consistently not reward him for barking. Don’t try to figure out exactly why he’s barking. Ignore him instead. Treatment for this kind of barking can be tough because, most of the time, pet parents unwittingly reinforce the behavior—sometimes just with eye contact, touching, scolding or talking to their dogs. To dogs, all of these human behaviors can count as rewarding attention. Try to use crystal-clear body language to tell your dog that his attention-seeking barking is going to fail. For example, when your dog starts to bark for attention, you can stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog or walk out of the room. The instant your dog stops barking, ask him to sit and then give him what he wants, whether that’s attention, play, treats, to go outside or to come in.
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.
Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes him bark) at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats!).
Use training methods. Teaching your dog the “quiet” command is an excellent training technique. It will be useful for any kind of problem barking, though it may be the only option for certain behavioral problems like territorial alarm barking.
Do you have a problem barker? It’s best to address the issue now before it gets any worse. Learn how to stop barking and prevent excessive barking in dogs. In most cases, you can curb barking with basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise. In more serious situations, you may need to bring in a trainer or behaviorist. One thing you should not do is ignore the problem. Excessive barking is not likely to improve with out intervention from you.
Toys: Separation barkers benefits from having something to do when you leave the house. A hard rubber toy, that dispenses treats are a great way to keep them happy, and their mouth busy with something other than barking. Just be careful that the toy is big enough not to be a chocking-hazard.
Visualize attention-seeking barking and frustration barking like a child having a tantrum; if you give in to the demands you’ll soon be a slave to them. Wait for a moment of quiet, or a calm sit, then give your dog attention or fetch his ball. If you’re consistent, your dog will soon realize that barking doesn’t work to get him what he wants and he’ll abandon the strategy.
Best case scenario, the neighbors will be able to put their heads together to come up with a good solution that doesn’t leave anyone feeling ostracized. However, if the dog owner is unreceptive and the barking continues unchecked, you may have to change tacks and get authorities involved.
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 to 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.
Be consistent and be kind your dog will learn eventually not to bark or to just Bart to let you know a stranger is that the door and you can tell him to stop and he will and he will be happy for it that’s his job all ducks need to job and that’s his job to let you know when somebody’s at the house a stranger or someone you know it doesn’t matter that’s his job to protect you and once he’s protected you to let you know his job is done.
If the dog seems to be barking at nothing, he’s likely bored. Boredom, due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation, is probably the biggest reason for excessive barking. Think honestly about whether your dog is getting enough. How would you feel if you were locked up at home all day with no cell phone, tablet, computer or even television? Not even a book to read. You’d get bored pretty fast.
He continues, “As I have always stated, the completion of the bad behavior is a reward. So you letting your dog play out actions like barking is actually reinforcing it to your dog. It also makes sense that the longer your dog has had this problem, quite often the more difficult it will be to correct.”
When we adopted Rusty, he had a terrible case of intestinal worms and joining a new family must have been pretty stressful for him. It took some time, but he recovered from the worms and after he grew used to his new home, he stopped his poop eating escapades.
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!)
Absolutely. Imagine having someone yell “WAKE UP!!” at you for ten minutes in the middle of the night, every night. While the dog barking may not bother you, some people are light sleepers and sensitive to sound. I know my wife suffers physical chest pain when our neighbor’s dog barks at 5 a.m (probably due to the stress and the jolt of being forced awake).
There are a number of products on the market that promise to stop barking quickly. Collars that go on your dog can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they aren’t effective on all dogs. Citronella-spraying collars often work, but some dogs learn they can run them out of spray and then bark at will.
Many times we have unintentionally taught our dog to bark by reinforcing the behavior. If your dog barks in the yard and you go out and shout at him, he has gotten your attention and may even think you are joining in with your own funny little human bark. Even looking at your dog when he barks can be a reinforcer.
Be consistent so you don’t confuse your dog. Everyone in your family apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately. You can’t let your dog get away with inappropriate barking some times and not others.
Barking can be a nuisance both for you and your neighbours. It can also be a sign that your dog is bored or anxious. There are a number of solutions for barking dogs that avoid the use of punishing anti-bark collars and will help you to achieve peace.