When your dog automatically turns his attention to you in response to your cue when confronted with major real-life distractions, you have a valuable tool for interrupting his barking. Be sure you practice occasionally with mild distractions to keep the cue “tuned up”, and remember to thank him and tell him what a wonderful dog he is when he stops barking on your request.
A young, energetic dog craves lots of exercise and attention from you. Thirty minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise in the morning will go a long way toward helping your dog settle down. For the first few weeks, you may need to have someone come over at lunch to exercise him again.
What you have to do is make it clear that he will not be able to play with you and that you will not acknowledge him until he stops barking. Use a trigger word and establish it. You want to be calm and simply not acknowledge your dog until he stops barking. Then, offer a treat and start playing with him. If he starts barking again and acting hectic, stop playing and repeat the process. Your dog will then figure out that his excessive barking is the problem and the reason why you are not happy to see him.
Remember, most people actually do want their dog to alert them that something is going on outside. It’s like the doorbell. You want to be able to hear it and know something is there, but you only want it to ring once.
A tired dog, is a quiet dog. Nearly every dog can do from a little extra exercise, both mentally and physically. A dog that has had a good workout will be less likely to react to barking triggers. Take the time to exercise your dog daily by going for a run or playing fetch. Mind-teaser games like “find the toy” or hide-and-seek will also tire your dog out.
Be very stern with your dog and jerk it away. Keep doors or curtains closed around the time the enemy dog walks by. Consider talking to the enemy dog’s owner to see if they can change their walking route.
I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
Ok, our’s goes nuts when she sees an animal on TV (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone rides by on a bike or skateboard (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone walks by on the sidewalk (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if she sees any animal….ever (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if kids play in their yards (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if a neighbor mows their lawn (lunging, snarling and barking). I’ve been trying to train her by providing instant, unwavering correction, but she is unable to resist her instincts. She is unable to break her focus without being strongly corrected. Frankly, I’m sick of fighting with her. I’m for the bark collar or a remote controlled training collar.
Why am I telling you this? Well, barking has to be the most annoying behaviour problem that is suffered by dog owners and neighbours alike. However, Karina in Copenhagen will be the first to tell you that she is glad that her dogs bark. Of course, it helps that she knows what to do to get them to stop barking so they do not become a neighbourhood nuisance. Here’s what she does… Are you ready?
Meet Beck. He is my first failed foster Beck officially joined our family in March. Guess what? The damn dog didn’t bark the entire 6 weeks he was in foster care with me. It is true what they say about rescue dog’s honeymoon periods.
Some jurisdictions will act on anonymous complaints, while others require your name and address but won’t reveal this to the neighbor complained about. Check the public or private status of making a complaint before making it.
What you want to do is first focus on teaching your dog the “Speak” command. This is really easy as the dog will react to you. Make sure that you practice this when the dog is not barking. After the command is learned, you want to teach the “Quiet” command. Use any trigger word that you feel comfortable with. When the dog barks, you signal him by putting your fingers to your lips and saying the trigger word. A dog naturally picks up physical signals much faster than a voice command. That is why the gesture helps. After some practice and after you hand out treats as the dog does what he is supposed to, all you need to do is calmly say the trigger word when the dog starts barking and barking will stop.
Outside: Dogs that bark only outside are usually displaying territory barking, anxiety, frustration, or guarding behavior. They will often bark at the edge of the fence if anyone comes near or because they are bored.
Unless a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist advises you to do otherwise, never use punishment procedures if your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety. This could make him feel worse and, as a result, his barking might increase.
In addition to what is noted in this article, if you’re working with your dog to stop leash-pulling, it would be best to practice in a low-stimulus environment. With less stimuli to distract or entice him, he can pay better attention to you, and learn. Once the dog consistently shows that he can walk without pulling in the low-stimulus setting, you can start again in a slightly more stimulating location… and so on, and so on. 🙂
*Debarking is very controversial and is considered inhumane by many. It does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure in which the folds of tissue on either side of a dog’s larynx, or voice box, are removed, leaving dogs with a raspy bark instead of a full bark. Complications are common and can be life threatening, including breathing difficulties, higher incidents of choking, and ongoing pain. Dogs also have been known to regain their voices after the surgery. The procedure does not stop the barking, it only makes it sound different.
Find a replacement behavior. One of the best ways to train an animal out of undesirable behavior is to teach her an alternative behavior. That way, instead of growing increasingly frustrated and irritated that you are not responding to her desires, your dog will eventually realize that if she wants to get her way, she’ll need to engage in the other, more-desirable behavior.
Gently closing your dog’s mouth. If you have a dog that will bark and ‘sport’ at people or other animals a head halter, such as a Gentle Leader that enables you to close his mouth and guide him into an acceptable behavior is a big advantage. Introduce the halter so your dog accepts it willingly and, when an unwanted bark happens, lift the leash so the dog’s mouth closes and he is guided into a sit. Now move again and change your direction creating attention to you as you move elsewhere. So, we stop dog barking, we gain attention and we redirect to an acceptable behavior in one simple step.
Are you irritated when you have some medical problems that cause pain and discomfort? Do you find yourself shouting without being able to control it as that happens? The dog can have a similar problem. There are various different medical conditions that lead to excessive barking. The really common examples of that are bee stings and gum problems.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he’s no longer forced to bark for attention. Regularly seek your dog out to give him attention—sweet praise, petting and an occasional treat—when he’s not barking.
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!)
You can use the positive interrupt to redirect a frenzy of frustration barking. If you consistently offer high value treats in the presence of frustration-causing stimuli, you can counter-condition your dog to look to you for treats when the cat strolls by (cat = yummy treats) rather than erupt into a barking fit.
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
If Method #1 isn’t working after at least 10-20 sessions, add a startling noise to the “quiet” command, such as a can of pennies, a bell, even a loud single clap of your hands. This should gain his attention and you can then go through the remaining steps of calling him over, asking him to sit, and giving praise and treats until the person or noise is gone. If he begins barking immediately after you release him, repeat the steps. If after 10-20 more tries the barking hasn’t diminished you may have an obsessive or anxiety situation and should seek the advice of a professional.