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 should 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.
Dogs make wonderful companions and ideal pets, but sometimes even a good dog can become an incessant barker. There are numerous reasons why dogs bark, and that problematic behaviour is both annoying and, in many places, illegal. The first step to quieting your dog’s barking is to find out why he/she is making so much noise. Once you’ve determined why he/she’s barking, you’ll know what actions to take to get him/her to stop. Learning how to silence your barking dog can help ensure a quiet community and keep you out of trouble with the law.
Seek assistance from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) if all else fails. A CPDT will know how to help your dog in the best way possible. Find a CPDT in your area by searching online, or ask your vet for a recommendation.
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
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.
When your dog barks at people passing by or at the door, you will allow a limited number of barks, three or four, before giving the command “quiet.” Call your dog to you or go to him and gently hold his muzzle. Repeat the command “quiet” in a calm definitive voice. Release his muzzle and call him to you and ask him to “sit.” Praise and give him a treat if he complies. If he doesn’t, repeat the steps. Continue to give him praise and treats until the people are have passed by completely or come inside your home. Use these same steps when he barks at people from the yard.
Take a moment to think about how you react when your dog barks to get your attention. Do you raise your voice, shout, or tell them off for it? If so, stop. When you meet your dog’s barking with noise and attention, you are rewarding your dog by giving them the attention they are asking for.
Your pet likes to greet you after not seeing you for a while. This can lead to excessive barking. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with a wagging tail and sometimes even jumping. This is one of the areas where owners, without being aware, reward their dog for their unwanted behavior. But more on this later.
Saying something positive like “Thank you” or “Good dog” starts training the owner to think of barking as a positive thing, which helps the dog to calm down sooner. Remember the Dobermans in the non-burgled house?
It’s always important to consider the alternatives to no-bark collars, such as traditional disciplinary measures, or other means which avoid inflicting physical or emotional pain or stress on the dog. If it’s possible, it’s best to discipline dogs in this way, as we’re sure you’ve seen on various episodes of the Dog Whisperer, rather than to cause any unnecessary suffering by using a no-bark dog collar.
This type of barking is a form of expression which often developed through positive reinforcement from the owner. If your dog barks to let you know he needs to go relieve himself, this is usually a good thing. When he barks because he wants your dinner or to play or go for a walk, this is less positive.
In general, a no-bark dog collar is able to detect barking by sensing vibrations in the dog’s vocal chords. When this occurs, the collar provides a stimulus to the dog, warning him that this is the consequence for barking. All three of the no-bark collars fit snuggly against your dog’s neck when they are fitted correctly. It is increasingly important both for safety and for proper training that this collar is fitted by a professional or by an experienced dog owner.
If your dog barks at things he sees out the window or front door, block the view. Close the blinds or curtains on the windows. If he can see out windows near the front door, Aga suggests covering them darkening film you can buy from an auto parts store or even temporarily taping up some bubble wrap to block the view. If possible, confine the dog in a part of the house that doesn’t have windows or doors.
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?
Identify a place in your home where you’d like your dog to go when people come to the door. If possible, choose a place that’s at least eight feet away from the front door but still within sight. It might be a spot at the top of a set of stairs, inside the doorway of an adjacent room, your dog’s crate, or a rug positioned at the far corner of an entryway or foyer.
You might want to ask if anonymity is an option when you file the report. In some cases, this may not be an issue for you, especially if it’s plain-as-day that you’re the one pointing the finger thanks to previous attempts. However, if you have various upset neighbors, maintaining anonymity may be useful to prevent retaliation of any sort.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 10 to 20 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a startling noise by shaking a set of keys or an empty soda can filled with pennies. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he’ll stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him to sit, and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this procedure doesn’t work after 10 to 20 attempts, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for guidance.
Getting a new dog means that the other dog has someone to play with. The only problem is that you want to be sure that you get the dogs to like each other. You want to talk with your vet or with a trainer and get some help with that. A great idea is to get another dog of the same breed but when this is not possible, you want to make sure that the old dog does not feel threatened. In some situations the owners will start to favor a dog and that can hurt the relationship with the other one. Make sure that you can offer equal love if you decide to get a second dog.
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.
You’ll need that calm response when his loud greetings are directed toward arriving guests, too. If you use loud verbal reprimands you add to the chaos and arousal; your dog may even think you’re barking along with him!
Providing something for your dog to do during the day also can help. Try leaving out a couple of food-dispensing toys, which come in different shapes and sizes. These can keep him busy for several hours, then he’ll probably take a nap.
What a shame to see you suggesting cruel methods such as citronella collars. Punishing and/or scaring a dog for barking is cruel and does not address the root issue(s). You should be encouraging people to actually _train_ their dogs (using scientifically valid, humane, force-free methods).
If you train your dog to “speak” on command, then you can then teach him “quiet.” Next time your dog barks, say “speak” while he’s doing so. Once he’s mastered this, ask him to speak when he’s not distracted then say “quiet” and hold a treat near his nose. When he stops to sniff the treat, praise him. Master this in quiet atmospheres, then try in more distracted environments such as after he’s barked when someone comes to the door.