Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog’s life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
Uncontrolled barking might be triggered by a noise or object that catches their attention and startles them. This can happen anywhere and not just at home. If it does happen at home it could possibly be part of territorial or protective barking.
“Yay, Mom’s home! Mom’s home! Mom’s home!” If your dog hails you with hellos when you return after an absence, it’s time to shift into ignore mode. Stand outside your door and wait for the cacophony to subside, then enter calmly; no rousing hug-fests or “I love you! I missed you!” sessions. When your dog is quiet, then calmly greet him. If he starts to bark again, mark the barking with an “Oops!” and ignore him again.
Some dog owners ‘debark’ their dogs but that is a very controversial method which does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure where the voice box is removed, leaving dogs with a raspy, instead of full, bark. There are complications and the operation can be life-threatening.
In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
Do your neighbors who get barked at have predictable patterns? The neighbor’s little yippie pup gets let our everyday at 12:20 when the Dad comes home for lunch. This can get my dogs going. You can bet my dogs are not in the yard at that time. No need to have a bark off if you can avoid it. Some dogs would do well to avoid being out and about at certain times. For some dogs that means avoiding before and after work times. Know your hood.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most used methods to get dogs to stop barking. In case you are not aware of this, a shock dog collar is a special collar that includes a remote. You use the remote to practically shock the dog when he does something wrong. Some people use it to correct barking. The problem is that this is not going to work. The dog will not actually understand why he is shocked and will only know that he has something around the neck that is hurting him.
This barking occurs when your dog wants something, rather like a nagging child. They’re not happy and they’re letting you know. So it could be that they want to come inside, or be let out of the crate, or be given some food, or they simply want your attention.
Barking does not always require a big interrupter, however. You can use everyday objects. If your dog barks near to you, slam the cupboard door or a drawer, so the noise distracts or startles him. Make nothing of this, and carry on as normal. This can work especially well when a dog barks simply to be let out of a crate. You don’t want to scare the dog, just quickly alter his state of mind and change the focus. He should not see you launch the object or make the noise. He has to think that the unwanted barking creates the occurrence. Practice this while you are watching TV, working in the kitchen or whatever you’re doing – the dog should not relate it to you but to the nuisance barking. An important part of this is that if you do drop or throw an object it should not hit the dog, but land at his feet. You should also leave it there for a while so he does not relate it to you. Remember though that you have to be able to understand and translate the different barks. One of his barks may be – I need to go to the bathroom. So learn to understand the tone of the bark or noise he makes.
If you do decide to take this approach, you’ll need to make sure you don’t expose your pet to the ‘real’ sound while you are training them. Pick a time when you aren’t expecting visitors and pop a note on your front door asking visitors not to knock.
Before we get into how to eliminate excessive yapping, remember that you don’t want to correct all barking. After all, if someone knocks at your front door when you’re not home, wouldn’t you rather your dog bark to deter a break in?
You want to try to block the dog from hearing the sounds. Since you obviously cannot sound proof your entire apartment, a great solution is to buy a fan and leave it on. In most cases this is more than enough to distract the dog and the sound made will stop him from hearing what happens on the outside. If this fails, you can turn on your radio and leave it like that when you are not home. The dog will be intrigued and can often remain near the radio and listen to what is said there, with zero focus to the outdoors.
Have a treat ready every time your friend comes to the door. Even if you’ve passed the point of giving treats during regular training, you may need to use treats for applied training sessions involving an actual perceived intruder.
It may sound nonsensical, but the first step of this technique is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.”
Does she bark at every movement she sees through the window and every sound she hears? An easy fix for this is to simply block the view. Close the shades. Confine her to a part of the house that doesn’t have windows she can see through or if she stays outside in a fenced-in yard, keep her indoors rather than leaving her outside all day. She won’t bark at what she does not see. Play some music or the television, loud enough to cover outside noises.
Behaviorists may have a number of different types of titles, but essentially any kind of behaviorist must have earned a master’s degree or a PhD in animal behavior. Typically a behaviorist with a doctoral degree will be called a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), while a behaviorist with a master’s degree will be called an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).
I’ve been having pulling problems with my dog since 2013. I had a bilateral mastectomy April 2013,she (my great Pyrenees mix) was about 11 months old. And now we couldn’t play, go for walks, and she had to learn to stay down. She doesn’t jump up on me, in fact she stays away from me still to this day. But on walks she pulls, my boys walk her. I love and she lets me rub her tummy and pat her. How can I help my boys get her to stop pulling on walks?
I have a Sibercaan (Native American Indian Dog/Canaan Dog hybrid), and only stubborn persistence works. If I stop, he’ll lean into the harness continually and won’t back off. One time I tried to out wait him, but after 45 minutes I had to literally lift him off his front feet to turn him around. He has snapped a chest lead, supposed ‘large breed’ leashes, so I made a harness by serging 2″ five ton rigging strap and a leash made of 7200lb test mooring line, with a harness handle. Basically I just lift him like luggage and redirect him before I put him back down. Although he’s disappointed, it doesn’t hurt him because of the wide straps, and letting a dog strain at a standstill is terrible for their hips and paws. Manual lift and redirect is safer and faster. Granted, this is only as effective as your ability to lift the dog. He’s 110 pounds currently with 20 or so more to go, so for most people he would easily pull one off their feet in a linear tug of war. When I say lift,I’m just taking the weight off his front paws, so when he pushes with his hind paws,he just stands up, and it’s actually pretty easy to redirect him this way. I’ve had success with my neighbor’s mastiff at 178 pounds with this method, and it works with my sister’s behemoth Newfoundland retriever at 190 pounds. The biggest thing is to be patient, his breed is renowned as sled pullers, so the stop and wait thing is more like a challenge to him. If you teach them that no matter how strong they are you can still direct them in a calm manner, they generally become cooperative. Hopefully this will help some other large breed owners.
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 may attack to defend their space. While dogs don’t always bark before they bite, most give some kind of warning.
Consistency with this concept is key. You have to train your dog to understand that being quiet results in a reward. This means only letting your dog out of the crate when they are calm. It means only petting your pup when they are exhibiting relaxed behaviors.
Dogs bark because it works, whether to scare off a perceived intruder, self-soothe, get attention or release frustration. Tackling your dog’s barking first requires that you identify the drive behind your dog’s vocalization. These are the most typical types of canine communication:
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.
Talk to your neighbor. Many people jump straight to drastic measures instead of simply talking to the neighbor about their concerns. Unless you’re on bad terms with your neighbor, the best way to solve this problem usually to just talk to him or her about it. You could casually approach your neighbor next time you see him or her outside, or write a note asking to set up a time to talk.
I know this isn’t exactly on topic tonight, but I have been having issues with my young male rottweiler following my commands to go to bed at night. He is normally so well behaved and a great listener. I don’t know if it is because Ares is getting to the age where his hormones or kicking in and he doesn’t want to listen, or what. I understand that sometimes he gets bored in his crate when I have been at work, and I have let him take his favorite toy to bed with him, but tonight was a struggle to get him to bed. I was actually home all day today with him, and we had fun playing out doors and relaxing inside, but for some reason, he absolutely would not go up the stairs tonight. I had to carry him up the stairs, and mind you he is a 50-60 pound pup who is 5 months, but to do that seemed a bit extreme. Am I not being firm enough? I just don’t understand. I could have him outside going potty and he gets a whiff of something, and all I have to do is call him and he comes running. What could be so different about tonight?
Get other neighbors to file the same complaint. If the authorities get multiple calls about the same dog owner, they’ll be more likely to take action quickly. There’s definitely strength in numbers in this situation, so rally as many people as you can to remedy the situation.
You are exactly right. People who are lucky enough to not have a dog that barks a ridiculous amount don’t know the frustration of this problem for owners and neighbor. Pretty sweet to get a dog early enough to train it not to do this. Many dog owners have dogs that have already developed constant barking and something had to be done to be fair to the neighbors who are the biggest sufferers.
Incidentally, while I was at the home of the 30-minute barker, he started to do his thing. I casually called out “Thank you”, and he trotted back into the living room and sat down. This was quickly followed by two thuds as the owners’ jaws hit the floor…
This is caused by either an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when your dog is in another room from you; also known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, the dogs is saying, “GO AWAY, you scare me”; also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
Keep in mind that not all the dog daycare centers out there are really good. You want to meet with the people that will take care of him and fully understand what happens there. After all, you are leaving the dog with strangers. You want to be sure that the dog feels great and is treated as he should be treated. If you notice that the dog is not happy and does not enjoy his time at the center, do not force him to keep going!
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.
Ultrasonic bark deterrent devices work by emitting an ultrasonic sound that dogs find unpleasant, which startles them out of barking. Reviews of ultrasonic anti-bark devices are mixed; some dogs don’t respond to them, and others are too sensitive for what is essentially a correction. But for some dogs, these are very effective.