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Another thing you can try is recording sounds that trigger the barking and playing these back to your dog – very quietly at first, and gradually increasing the volume – while rewarding them with food. This is a process known as desensitising and counter conditioning.
Several variations of no-bark collars exist on the market, most of which have multiple levels of stimulation based on how quickly the dog learns. In other words, if the dog doesn’t stop, the collar will continue to provide increasing levels of shock until the dog learns. These are engaged in a manner which allows the dog to learn and recover, but the question we must ask ourselves is: How safe are these no-bark collars? Even if there’s no evidence of physical damage, are our dogs suffering unnecessary stress and anxiety through their use?
All three of the bark collars have a nylon collar which fits similarly to a regular nylon dog collar. At the front of all three of the bark collars there is a mechanism which releases the deterrent of choice, this mechanism fits against your dogs throat so that the vibrations caused by nuisance barking can trigger the mechanism. The shock collars for dogs provide an electric current, the citronella dog collars provide a spray of citrus, and the sonic dog collars produce a tone that only the dog can hear (it’s out of human hearing range).
Now one way you can do this is by leaving your home calmly and then coming home calmly and ignoring your dog. (I know this may sound a bit harsh to some of you, and it may not be what you want to do, but this advice is all about doing what’s best for your dog and how to stop the barking!) Also, remember they are a different animal, and just like ignoring the cat or a goldfish when you enter the house it will not result in them being upset.
Boredom: Do you ever sing or talk to yourself when you’re bored? Your dog may do the same thing. The reason we often see the boredom bark is when dogs are left outside for long periods of time. We all know that dogs are pack animals and want to be near you. When they are left alone, they often occupy their time by barking.
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.
If you are overpowered by your dog’s pulling and cannot start the teaching process for fear of being pulled over, then there are humane equipment solutions to help modify the pulling while you teach your dog to walk appropriately.
Just like any human left alone for too long, your dog gets bored, too. And as Heidi Ganahl, founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, explains, “If a dog is bored, they are likely to vocalize more often. If dogs are left alone for long periods of time, they can become very bored, especially if there is nothing for them to do. Dogs who are bored should be provided interactive toys such as a KONG or any of PetSafe’s Busy Buddy toys to keep your dog occupied until you get home.”
Give your dog more exercise and mental activities to let them have an outlet for their energy. Take them on an uphill walk or a hike instead of the normal daily walk. Train your dog in herding or agility activities for mental stimulation.
Our senior Danish Dog Listener lives in Copenhagen. Down her street, every single house has been burgled, with one exception. That house is the one with Karina’s four Doberman living there. Now, I don’t know any burglars (I am not a ne’er-do-well) but I imagine that there are very, very few burglars who, upon seeing four Doberman running out into the garden and barking, will think to themselves, “I like a challenge!”
It may be time to get some earplugs for these first few sessions, especially if you’ve let them train you to come when they bark. Completely ignore them and let them bark until they take a break. Then, when they are quiet, treat and reward them or let them out for quiet behavior.
First of all we have to identify WHY your dog is barking, because the solution we use is not always going to be the same. After all, you’d never use the same approach to stop a child who was shouting out for help as a child who was screaming at you for more chocolate, now would you?
Curb barks with scent. Researchers at Cornell University in New York found citronella collars to be much more effective in bark training. Citronella collars give a warning tone first; additional barking prompts a squirt of scent that stops the barking. Some of these collars have remote control activators.
In Nature, there are plenty of animals living in groups that have “sentinels” – members of the group looking out for potential danger while the others are at rest or playing etc. If the sentinel sees something that could be a problem, it is raise the alarm. In wild canines, the leaders will check out the problem once alerted and act accordingly. The sentinel is never punished for doing its job, just like how I was never hit by Mum for letting her know when someone was at the door.
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)
Say “Go to your spot,” show your dog a treat, and then throw the treat onto the spot where you’d like your dog to go. Repeat this sequence 10 to 20 times. By the tenth time, try pretending to throw the treat so that your dog begins to move toward the spot on his own. As soon as he’s standing on his spot or rug, throw him the treat. As your dog catches on, you can stop making the fake throwing motion with your arm and just give him the cue, “Go to your spot.” Then wait until he does and reward him.
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Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.
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.
While you cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by brushing your dog regularly. Your veterinarian or groomer should be able to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type.
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience treating compulsive behavior, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these behavior experts in your area.