There are a few things you can do to get your dog to stop barking at inappropriate times. It’s important to note that these tips aren’t an overnight fix. Be patient and stick with it, though, and you will begin to notice a change in your pup’s behavior.
Dogs do more than just bark. They whine, they whimper, they grumble and growl, they scream, they howl…and each communication can contain messages that help you understand your dog. When your dog is communicating out loud, take a moment to ﬁgure out what he’s trying to say, and why, and what, if anything, you should do about it.
Food puzzle toys and hollow rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats are great entertainment for dogs. They give your dog something fun to do while you are gone. Keep a couple on hand so you can leave one for him every day. It’s okay if he gets most of his meals this way. He’s working for his food!
While barking at people outside or at the door (including you and your family), if your dog is also wagging his tail, crying, and jumping, this is a greeting bark, and must be handled differently than territorial barking. Greeting barks are friendly, but can still be annoying to you and your neighbors. Here are a few tips to help control the barking.
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from a 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.
But first the good news. If your dog continues to keep you up at night, even after you have tried every humane method to calm it down, you’re far from alone. As the owner of two Chihuahuas, the notoriously “yappy” dogs, I have been woken up many a night from a deep and restful sleep for no good reason at all. In fact, Chihuahuas were named by the Houston Chronicle as one of the loudest dog breeds — along with breeds like beagles, huskies, dachshunds, terriers and basset hounds.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.
Dogs are social animals, so it’s natural for them to bark when they hear others barking. You can discourage this tendency by keeping your dog indoors when other dogs are barking, by playing music to drown out the sound of other dogs, and by distracting your dog with treats or play when other dogs bark (whether it’s in real life or on TV).
Whines and whimpers are usually related to stress and/or excitment. Some breeds of dogs seem to whine more than others – German Shepherds, for example, seem especially prone to whining. Often this behavior persists because it’s reinforced by the natural human tendency to comfort a whining puppy. Like demand barking, it’s best to ignore whining and reinforce quiet. However, because it’s often stress-induced, if your dog’s a whiner, you might want to evaluate his environment to see if you can reduce the stressors in his world.
You can solve this problem through management. If your dog likes to sit on the window sill and bark at everyone passing by, first block access to their vantage point and then offer them an alternative, more appropriate pastime.
During walks, a dog may let out an excited bark if they see another pup along the way, Spaulding says. “You’ll also see excitable barking when dogs are doing something they enjoy, like chasing a small animal or for agility dogs when they run a course.”
You surely know what your dog loves to do and what makes him tired. Make sure that you offer more of that. In many cases the problem is that the dog has too much energy so the solution to stop him from barking can be as simple as taking him for walks more often than you do right now. See if this helps. If not, it might be because he is bored at home. Buy more toys and make sure that he has a space where he can play. Eventually, you will see him tired and going to sleep. As the dog is busy, he will stop barking.
Before we dive into the “how” of stopping dog barking, we need to look at the “why” of why they’re barking in the first place. There are lots of reasons dogs might bark from play to defense, but in the case of excessive barking at home it’s most often separation anxiety. If you listen carefully, you can start telling the difference between the various sounds:
Once you discover the true reason for the behavior, you can begin to learn how to get a dog to stop barking. The method that you use to stop the behavior will vary depend on the reason why your dog is making the nuisance noise in the first place. Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything you need to know about learning how to get a dog to stop barking in this article.
Think twice before ignoring. Of course another less preferable way is to ignore the barking and wait for it to go away. In a crate or enclosed area this may work (particularly with a puppy who is learning to settle) but if the dog is outside or in a large area then the barking itself can be self-rewarding. In many instances there are multiple stimuli occurring which will encourage the dog barking. In my opinion, dogs should never be left outside unsupervised or unaccompanied. Go out with your dog and do not allow him to run the fence, race down the hedgerow chasing the cars, or barking at the person walking by. Show your control and confidence in handling these situations and be the leader of your pack. Have him on a leash or a long line so that you can reinforce your commands and maintain control without shouting or becoming agitated.
To bring attention/request barking under control, you need to start by stopping–stop rewarding the barking and stop paying attention to the barking. For this, borrowing a training method that helps to stop jumping up is good idea. When your dog barks for attention or for food, cross your arms and turn your back on him. If he continues, walk out of the room.
Of course with all dog training the more your dog takes notice of YOU the better! (Something I’ll explain a bit more later on…) So if your dog is not taking a blind bit of notice then we need to go back a couple of steps and get their focus and attention first!
Personally I feel horrible about it but we just had to get a shock collar for our dog today. We own a town home and today our neighbor told us she called our association and reported us for his barking. He’s always been a very well behaved, easily trainable dog, so we decided to let him stay out of his crate while away since we hate having to lock him up when we leave for extended hours occasionally. Day 1: absolutely great. He stayed in the baby gated area. Day 2: did not go well at all. He escaped the area, ate the cat food, pooped all over the house, chewed up tons of things… Behavior that he has never displayed before even when left out briefly. He was put back in the crate and ever since we’ve been having issues. He tries to escape it. He’s somehow dented it and he’s only 40 pounds. Tried covering and he ate the blanket. He’s even got scratch marks on his face from trying to escape and when he does, he destroys everything. Again this is a dog that has always been happy, never barked, never chewed anything up, never misbehaved. The only naughty things he did prior was potty a couple times as a puppy and I caught him licking my pizza when I went to use the restroom… Other than that he gets nothing but compliments on his great behavior. We moved his kennel to different areas of the house. We’ve left TVs on for background noise. But nothing works. This is brand new behavior and we have had him almost 2 yrs since he was 4 months. Our neighbor constantly is complaining and calling us that he’s barking when we leave. The issue is we have only caught him 1x. We’ve definitely tried the whole routine of acting as if we’re leaving hoping we’ll catch and correct him. Putting him away and everything but quietly standing in the house for up to a half hour and heard absolutely nothing. We’ve caught him once when we came home where we could hear him outside barking from inside. Our neighbor has called us asking when we are coming home and just basically harassing us. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t work, so she is always home. We have tried numerous attempts to give him positive reinforcement taking him for walks, giving him treats, and giving him lots of love and affection before putting him in his crate. The neighbor still calls complaining. Nothing works. This is behavior that’s been going on for about six weeks. We had to get the shock collar because we really had no other choice except for let him continue then get more calls to our association and be told that we’re not allowed to have him anymore.
For the come command, you can call your dog to you and ask for a down. When your dog is focused on you, they are less likely to bark at something else. You can find on how to train your dog to come here.
The point is this: Dealing with a dog that won’t stop barking day or night is frustrating for everyone. Figuring out the behavioral problem that is causing your dog’s barking could save your sanity and keep the peace.
I have a 5 yr. old rough coated collie who barks very loud and consistently every tine I am talking on the telephone I at first thought he wanted attention but that’s not the case. When I am finished talking he walks away and is quiet. Please someone help. I am tired of going into the bathroom and closing the door if it’s a important phone call ! Ugggg