Think of your dog as a bubble that could pop. Do you know what makes your dog pop? Most dogs just want to feel safe and need space from things that they don’t understand or scare them. Dog barks at some passing dogs on the street? Then why did you bring your dog over to sniff it’s butt? Stop doing that! Is your dog loose in the house all day getting all worked up barking at windows? Think maybe you should start by not allowing access?
“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.
Reward the absence of barking: (helpful for all barkers) when your dog opts not to bark in a typically triggering situation, make a big deal of it. Most of us are used to tuning into our dogs only when we want to correct the bad behavior and we forget to acknowledge the good. If your dog sees someone out the window and looks to you instead of barking, give him a treat. If he dashes around the yard with his best dog pal without offering commentary, praise him. If his ball rolls under the couch and he chooses to sit and wait for you to get it instead of demanding immediate help, give him a pat and fetch that ball! Even though barking is a deeply rewarding behavior for dogs, it’s possible to get a handle on it with time and patience.
Dogs can bark excessively in response to people, dogs or other animals within or approaching their territories. Your dog’s territory includes the area surrounding his home and, eventually, anywhere he has explored or associates strongly with you: your car, the route you take during walks and other places where he spends a lot of time.
Dogs are social animals who like to live in family groups and it is common for them to become upset when they are left on their own for longer than they feel comfortable with. This is called ‘separation anxiety’ and we have lots of information about this here.
My dog Ralph is my best friend, my favorite companion, and one of the barkiest dogs I’ve ever met. I love her, but I’ll be honest, her barking drives me bananas! Thankfully, I’ve learned a few ways to control it. If you have a dog who barks excessively, you’ll want to read this. Try these four strategies to help stop dog barking—with more details below:
Your pup’s constant barking may just be an annoyance to you; but if it starts to encroach on other people’s sanity, you may have some fines to pay for your dog’s gift of gab. This is why it’s critical for both pup and pocketbook that you learn how to find your dog’s vocal off switch.
The next step in “Go to Your Spot” training is to recruit friends and family to help you conduct mock practice visits. Arrange to have someone come to the door. You will work with your dog to help him stay on his own. Be prepared! This will probably take a long time the first few visits. When you open the door, one of two things can happen. Sometimes you leave your dog there on his spot while you talk to the person at the door, as if your visitor is a courier or delivery person. Your dog never gets to say hello. (However, you, the person or both of you frequently toss treats to your dog to reward him for staying.) At other times, invite the visitor in. Wait until the person sits down somewhere, and then release your dog to join you and your guest. When you have a friend help you with a mock visit, be sure to repeat the scenario over and over, at least 10 to 20 times. Practice makes perfect! Have the person come in for 5 to 10 minutes or just pretend to deliver something, then leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then return for a second visit, and so on. Your dog should experience at least 10 visits in a row with the same person. With each repetition, it will become easier for him to do what you expect because he’ll be less excited by the whole routine—especially when it’s the same person at the door, over and over again.
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.”
If your dog’s barking has got to the stage where you are considering using a bark collar, before you do, please speak to a qualified behaviourist. You can contact one through your vet, or visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website. If you rehomed your dog from Blue Cross, simply get in touch with the centre you rehomed your pet from for free, expert behavioural advice.
Some studies suggest that the electric current from the shock collars for dogs results in aggression, stress or persistent anxiety. How severe the effects of the no-bark dog collar actually are depend on the trainer and the environment in which the collar is used.
Thank you for a good message. It’s heartbreaking that such tools are even available and the people that have designed these form of aversive methods should be prosecuted. So many people fuss, love, smother their dog with love and then in the next moment zap them with either citronella, a high beep or electric….unbelievable. Training should be changed to teaching and I thank you for restoring my faith in humanity 🙂
The collar wasn’t used properly and you obviously weren’t interested in the welfare of your dog if you weren’t checking how it was affecting it. Sounds like the collar was on constantly without checking to make sure it wasn’t hurting the dog. Maybe you had it turned all the way up. A lower setting barely shocks.
You can work with a trainer to practice desensitization techniques with your dog. It will help your pet become accustomed to barking triggers and ultimately be a worthwhile instrument in your toolkit when learning how to get a dog to stop barking. Remember, training takes consistency and patience, but the long-term rewards are worth it.
Even since spring came by and I started working outside, he barks constantly. He barks when he’s outside, when he’s in the house, when I’m asleep. At first I thought that’s because he wasn’t getting enough attention but even when I play with him he barks. I can’t do anything without him constantly driving me insane.