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.”
HI Nat, we recommend a consultation with a qualified trainer to give you some tips on how to manage or change this behavior. It is impossible to give you good advice without seeing your pup’s behavior, I’m afraid.
Leave distractions for your dog. In addition to exercise, leaving distractions around the house is a great way to inhibit problem behaviors like boredom barking. You can use a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter, or simply toss a handful of treats in various places around the room. You can also leave a radio or television on for the dog so the sound will distract her.
Giving Warning: Dogs bark to warn their pack of danger and to keep intruders away. Most creatures will think twice before approaching a dog that comes running up making loud barking noises. In nature, the bigger the sound, the better.
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When your dog barks, mark the desired behavior with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him a treat. Repeat this until he’ll bark on just the cue, without the trigger. Then practice in different environments until the “bark on cue” behavior is well generalized. When his “bark on cue” is well established, you can follow it with a “quiet!” cue, so you’ll be able to turn the bark off when you want.
If you are consistent with your training and practice several times each day on the weekends and at least twice a day on weekdays (such as before work and in the evening), you may be able to accomplish long-term comfort in under a month. However, every dog is different, and your dog may need a training period or more training sessions each day.
As pet parents, we already work hard and tire ourselves out every day, it’s a major ask for us to use extra energy just to tire out our dogs, so try to find ways you can make your dog’s existing exercise more strenuous. Here are a few ways you can turn up the volume on everyday physical activities.
Have a treat ready every time your friend comes to the door. Even if you’ve passed the point of giving treats during regular training, you may need to use treats for applied training sessions involving an actual perceived intruder.
Constant barking can be irritating, but you won’t be able to correct the dog behavior problem if you are frustrated. Animals don’t follow unbalanced leaders. In fact, your dog will mirror your energy. If you’re frustrated, he will be, too! And barking is a great release for that frustrated energy. Take a moment to curb your own internal barking first.
Repeat this process until your dog learns to associate the word “quiet” with her silence. Once your dog has done this successfully on 10 or more occasions, you can begin giving the quiet command without showing her a treat. If she still complies with your command, then give her a treat. If she does not, you may need to show her the treat for several more training sessions.
Then one day you decided not to get up and ignore the barking thinking this would nip the behavior in the bud. It did not work, your dog very likely barked even more than before. Why is this? It is because of the process of ”extinction burst”. Basically, your dog is thinking ”My owners this morning are not getting up as usual. I need to INCREASE, my barking in intensity and duration so they get up since just barking a little is not working”. She therefore barked more and perhaps you or somebody else in your family finally tired of hearing her, finally got up.
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.
Other types of no-bark collars are just as bad, including those that squirt lemon juice, emit noises that are too high-pitched for human ears, or emit a citronella smell. The purpose of all of these is the same: The collar senses when the dog’s vocal cords are moving and an unpleasant response is made active. The result is to train the dog to stop barking through negative re-enforcement of the behavior. Negative re-enforcement, however, is not a good way to train dogs, and newer, more advanced training methods of training rely on positive re-enforcement. Punishments, if they still play a role in some training regimens, are not repulsive and hurtful to the dog, and might be something like a drop of water on the tip of the nose.
It could be that your dog does a lot of ’alarm barking’, for example when there is someone at the door, or maybe they bark when left on their own. They may bark when other dogs in the neighbourhood start. Or they could be barking at birds or cats in the garden.
Provide door drills. Ringing the bell, knocking on the door, and arrivals or departures excite puppies or sometimes scare shy pups, so associate the location and sounds with good things for the puppy. Stage arrivals at the front door with an accomplice “visitor” loaded up with treats to toss the pup to help her stop seeing visitors as threats.
So if it is agreed that the most common motivations for dog barking (Separation and Defensive/Territorial) can or do occur when you are not there, what methods will stop dog barking more effectively than others? Chastising and physical punishment are obviously impossible when you are not there.
The first step toward reducing your dog’s barking is to determine the type of bark your dog is expressing. The following questions can help you to accurately decide on which type of barking your dog is doing so that you can best address your dog’s problem. Think about your answers to these questions as you read through the information below on the different types of barking and their treatments.
Understandably, if your dog is barking because he is anxious, this will really add to his problems. Citronella collars require you to buy replacement cartridges frequently, so can be much more expensive than consulting a veterinary behaviorist.
*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.
Many dogs bark when they get excited or when they are frustrated by an inability to get at or do something. For example, the dog who runs through the backyard barking and whining when he hears his buddy out in the yard next door, or the dog who barks at the ball that rolled under the sofa a bit too far for him to get.
Each type of barking serves a distinct function for a dog, and if he’s repeatedly rewarded for his barking—in other words, if it gets him what he wants—he can learn to use barking to his benefit. For example, dogs who successfully bark for attention often go on to bark for other things, like food, play and walks. For this reason, it’s important to train your dog to be quiet on cue so that you can stop his attention-related barking and teach him to do another behavior instead—like sit or down—to get what he wants.