In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
A lot of dogs bark because there is little else to do. If your dog is a nuisance barker, look at their daily routine and how much free, unoccupied time that they have to fill with their own activities.
Teach your dog tricks. Learning and practicing tricks is an excellent way to prevent boredom in dogs and discourage compulsive behavior. Tricks require focus, attention, and retention of lessons, which can occupy your dog both physically and mentally.
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.
Your pup’s constant barking may just be an annoyance to you; but if it starts to encroach on other people’s sanity, you may have some fines to pay for your dog’s gift of gab. This is why it’s critical for both pup and pocketbook that you learn how to find your dog’s vocal off switch.
Besides boredom and frustration, one of the major reasons dogs bark is territorial. To you, it’s just the mailman, but to your dog, it’s a vicious robber there to attack their master. You can’t stop receiving your mail, but there are lots of things you can do to desensitize your pet and make your home a haven away from negative external stimulus.
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We don’t necessarily want to stop dog barking though, especially when the barking is an alarm alerting us to danger, or perhaps warding off an intruder. But we do want to stop dog barking when we ask them to, and we don’t want them to bark if there is no reason. Some dogs will bark at the slightest noise, disturbance or movement. Often, although barking could be in the breed’s instinct, the owner has unknowingly reinforced the behavior. If we shout at the dog that is barking he may think we are joining in. If we tell him gently to be quiet or give him affection, he may mistakenly think we like it and sees this calm voice as praise for barking.
A chest-led harness is a perfect training aid, as it takes pressure off a dog’s sensitive neck by distributing the pressure more evenly around the body. When the leash is attached to a ring located on the chest strap and your dog pulls, the harness will turn his body around rather than allowing him to go forward. I recommend this kind of harness for anyone who needs extra help, as safety has to come first.
My year and a half old lab barks only when she goes out in the yard. She will sit by the door to ask to go out and a few seconds later she is barking her head off. I then call her back inside so she doesn’t disturb the neighbors. I have trained her to respond to the come command and when she does I give her a little treat. I am worried that now she is barking so I will call her in and give her a treat. But that is the only way I know how to stop her from barking right now. What do you suggest I do instead of the come command with a treat?
For this reason bark collars are considered by veterinary behaviorists to be a costly investment for something that most likely will not work long-term and may even be harmful. More exercise, chewing, company and stimulation can assist.
Meet Beck. He is my first failed foster dog. Beck officially joined our family in March. Guess what? The damn dog didn’t bark the entire 6 weeks he was in foster care with me. It is true what they say about rescue dog’s honeymoon periods.
On walks, teach your dog that he can walk calmly past people and dogs without meeting them. To do this, distract your dog with special treats, like chicken, cheese or hot dogs, before he begins to bark. (Soft, very tasty treats work best). Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he’s walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to barking due to separation anxiety occurs only when a dog’s caretaker is gone or when the dog is left alone. You’ll usually see at least one other separation anxiety symptom as well, like pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress. For more information about this problem, please see our article, Separation Anxiety.
It’s a lose-lose situation no matter which side of the fence you’re on. Whether it’s your dog that’s barking or your neighbor’s pooch that won’t stop flapping his jowls, nobody’s happy … including the dog.
With all of these different forms of barking there are a variety of approaches we can take to ensure the barking is for the right reason and we can prevent dog barking when the reason is no longer there. Much of this will come from the confidence the owner shows to his dog in being able to handle different situations. To gain this confidence the owner has to get to know his dog and the situations that create the barking. With this understanding, an owner can demonstrate calm, confident leadership and take control in the right way. The dog responds because he can trust the leader has taken charge. From the very beginning of our dog/owner partnership, we should be building a foundation that allows such trust and confidence. Remember that dog barking is one way the dog communicates to us, so we do not wish to prevent dog barking but we do wish to control barking as required. Learning to read your dog’s signals and means of communicating is incredibly important to your overall relationship.
You can use the positive interrupt to redirect a frenzy of frustration barking. If you consistently offer high value treats in the presence of frustration-causing stimuli, you can counter-condition your dog to look to you for treats when the cat strolls by (cat = yummy treats) rather than erupt into a barking fit.
Try ignoring the barking and waiting till your dog stops. If simply waiting silently doesn’t work, calmly ask them to “sit” or “lie down”. Once they are calm and have stopped barking, praise them with lots of fuss or a treat.
Eventually your dog will learn to be quiet on command without getting a treat. Even after you’ve reached this stage of training, however, you should still give your dog verbal praise when she stops barking.
I live in AA County too and it’s a great law. I have two labs, of course the one I raised since he was 8 weeks old is perfect, rescuing someone else’s mess is another story. The law in AA County is vague for a reason and your situation is exactly why that’s the case. If your dog is randomly barking in the house, they won’t do anything. Leave your dog outside unattended and excessively barks, that’s a huge problem. It’s a great law because if you can’t let your dog in after a few barks or leave him out for long periods of time while he barks, the law needs to get it to stop if you can’t.
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’.
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!”)
Try to keep meeting and greeting under control. When you or a family member comes home, ignore your dog for the first couple minutes. When people come to the door, teach your dog to sit and wait until the person comes to him; this will bring control and anticipation to the greeting rather than barking.