Whenever you leave the house, try giving your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food. Something hollow that can be stuffed with treats, spray cheese, or low-fat peanut butter will keep your dog occupied for at least 20 to 30 minutes, which may be long enough for her to forget that she was afraid of you leaving.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
If your dog is bored, getting a companion may help. Consider fostering through a rescue organisation. That way you are not necessarily committing, in case you end up with two problem barkers! You could also arrange a play-date with a friends dog, or think about booking your dog into doggy day-care.
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.
Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.
Don’t punish your dog if the barking is due to fright or separation anxiety. You may have the opposite effect of increasing his anxiety, and therefore, his barking. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or Veterinary Behaviorist can give you specific directions for correcting this behavior.
Why do dogs bark? Unfortunately, there is no single reason that dogs vocalize, which means that there’s no across-the-board quick fix to stop your dog from barking. It can be frustrating to live in a home with (or next door to!) a dog that barks because it’s tough to prevent barking, and even tougher to stop it once the barking is underway. The first step to curbing a dedicated barker is discovering the motivation behind the behavior then addressing the problem with a customized training solution.
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.
Seriously, electric shock collars may not be illegal in the United States yet, but they should be. Electric shock, especially for a natural function such as barking, is cruel. I am certain that using this type of device does cause dogs to experience unnecessary anxiety and stress. In fact, people training dogs to be vicious for illegal dog fights also use electric shocks, that should tell you what a terrible idea this is.
Your ﬁrst step is to gently inform your neighbor that her dog is barking excessively, and when. This is best done during the day, not with an irate phonecall when the dog wakes you up at two o’clock in the morning again. Assume she’s not aware of it, or at least not aware it’s disturbing to her neighbors.
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!
Pheromone-based treatment: (helpful for fear barkers and separation distress barkers) plug-in diffusers that mimic the “calming chemicals” given off by female dogs can help to soothe dogs that bark due to stress. While you might not see a dramatic shift in behavior – keep in mind that pheromones are different from prescribed medications – the diffusers are an easy and affordable way to take the edge off a stressful situation.
This point is a biggie that even Cesar Millan can get behind. Barrack says that if your dog spends all day at home alone while you’re at work and has just a few hours of freedom before bed, it only makes sense that it’s restless at night. “They have pent up energy, are excited to see you and just want some attention. Exercise is the best solution for this cause of barking. One option is sending your dog to doggie day care where they can have a tiring day, running around and playing all day with other dogs. Alternatively, you and your dog can exercise together. A long walk or run will help tire both of you out before bedtime,” she explains.
Sometimes dogs bark for darn good reasons. I recall one January morning when I was awoken before the sun. The dogs were going ballistic. I peered out the window to see a young moose sauntering down the street!
You want some control over your dog’s voice, but don’t lose sight of the value of his vocal communications; he may be trying to tell you something important. If you ignore him you might find your horses on the highway, the house burned to the ground, or Timmy in the well.
Similarly, she says, if your dog barks when you pick up the to go for a walk, don’t reward him by heading out the door and giving him what he wants. Instead, drop the leash until he settles and stops barking. If he barks as soon as you clip on the leash, drop it and ignore him until he quiets down. It takes patience, but eventually he’ll learn that barking won’t get him what he wants.