Although easier said than done, you can slowly but surely train your dog away from barking or at least desensitize them to the stimulus. Dogs respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement training so make a barking dog treat jar for the yummies that will stimulate your dog to behave. Below are a few tips on how to get your dog to stop barking using treats, but remember that it’s important to be extremely consistent with your pet.
Consider crate training. Crate training’s success varies considerably from one dog to another. Some dogs are frightened by having to be left in a crate, while others see the crate as their own safe space and an assurance that someone will be home at some point to open the crate.
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.
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.
If you have a problem barker make an appointment with your veterinarian. Many vets have additional qualifications or a special interest in behavior, so it is worth asking whether one of the vets has a special interest in behavior. Often there are health conditions that could be exacerbating the problem, such as dementia, pain, vision or hearing problems.
Try a new tone. Tone collars emit a loud, short tone at the first “woof.” That’s often enough to make Fluffy and search for what caused the tone — it eliminates boredom and the barking, often within minutes. However, the collar must be adjusted properly or can “punish” the wrong dog if a canine friend is barking nearby.
Most dogs will bark if there’s motion or sound — like a squirrel zipping across the lawn or a kid racing on his bike past the house. They might bark to warn off intruders at the door or other dogs that come too near the fence. Dogs might bark in excitement when you get out the leash to go for a walk or they might bark from stress when they have separation anxiety from being away from you. And some dogs just bark because they’re bored and don’t have anything else to do.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he’s no longer forced to bark for attention. Regularly seek your dog out to give him attention—sweet praise, petting and an occasional treat—when he’s not barking.
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.
You can also work with a trainer to practice desensitization techniques that help your dog become accustomed to barking triggers and ultimately stop responding. Training takes consistency and patience, but the long-term rewards are worth it!
Another reason wild dogs bark less than our own furry family members is that they are less likely to be subjected to environments that encourage barking, such as fenced yards with potential prey objects (skateboards, joggers, bicycles) speeding tantalizingly past just out of reach; or humans who inadvertently – or intentionally – reinforce barking.
The best way to think of it is to imagine some children playing… then you’ll get the idea of what is going on… They start to have fun, then they get excited, then they start shouting and then start yelling!
I know first hand the frustration of dealing with a barking dog. Trust me, I have a Chihuahua! While inappropriate barking can make you want to pull your hair out at times, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural behavior for your pup. Barking is the way he communicates and of course he’s going to feel the need to alert you when an intruder is approaching (by “intruder” I really mean a friendly neighbor)!
If your dog’s barking has got to the stage where you are considering using a bark collar, before you do, please speak to a qualified behaviourist. You can contact one through your vet, or visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website. If you rehomed your dog from Blue Cross, simply get in touch with the centre you rehomed your pet from for free, expert behavioural advice.
As the owner of four dogs, two of whom are very vocal, with a third quite willing to express himself on occasion, I can testify to the domestic dog’s ability to speak. Interestingly, while wild puppies bark, wild adult dogs rarely do, at least not to the degree our canine companions do.
When they bark, simply say something like “Thank You”, in a VERY gentle voice (rather like you would whisper in somebodies ear). Then if they continue with the barking, go and take a look out the window and again say “Thank You” again very softly, before walking away. (Now I know this may seem odd, BUT it makes total sense to your dog – I promise!)
Watch out for extinction bursts and behavior chains. When you’re trying to make a behavior go away by ignoring it, your dog may increase the intensity of his behavior – “I WANT IT NOW!” This is an extinction burst. If you succumb, thinking it’s not working, you reinforce the more intense behavior, and your dog is likely to get more intense, sooner, the next time. If you stick it out and wait for the barking to stop, you’re well on your way to making it go away. You have to be more persistent – and consistent – than your dog.
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).
Dogs are super sensitive and pick up on our deepest emotions and slightest body movements. If you think of your dog as like your mirror, then you will start to understand that the calmer you are, the more chance your dog will be relaxed.
If your dog is barking, do not yell at her, or pet her, or give her what she wants. Do not even look at her. The best strategy is to distract yourself, like reading a book or newspaper, until your dog calms down or tires herself out.
It is so easy to train a dog not to bark by simply telling him not to bark and when he quit barking telling him what a good dog he is this is very repetitious has to be consistent but even though it takes a long time to do it is very effective in the long run it’s best for your dogs peace of mind
Research your town or city’s anti-barking laws. Look online at your town or city’s codes, by-laws or dog legislation. There may be a code against unruly pets or incessant barking at night; many places have legislation or regulations in place that deal specifically with dogs and/or noise. There might also be a code covering ignoring requests from neighbors.
This is caused by either an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when your dog is in another room from you; also known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, the dogs is saying, “GO AWAY, you scare me”; also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
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.
Dogs want to and need to be busy. They have to be mentally challenged. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done. When he barks too much, it might be because he is bored and one way to solve this is to go for obedience training. The great thing about it is that he will also learn that Quiet command that you might have difficulties in training him. At the same time, training will help the both of you to establish a much stronger relationship as you will end up understanding each other at a whole new level.
If you prefer not to hold your dog’s muzzle or if doing so seems to scare your dog or make him struggle, you can try a different method. When your dog barks, approach him, calmly say “Quiet,” and then prompt his silence by feeding him a steady stream of tiny, pea-sized treats, such as chicken, hot dogs or bits of cheese. After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days or more of training, your dog will begin to understand what “Quiet” means. You’ll know that he’s catching on if he consistently stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet.” At this point, you can gradually extend the time between the cue, “Quiet,” and your dog’s reward. For example, say “Quiet,” wait 2 seconds, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time from 2 seconds to 5, then 10, then 20, and so on.
Let’s look at this from the dog’s point of view. A dog in the home is in its den, and there are often potential threats passing by (anything could be a problem seeing as they are in a world they don’t really understand). Often, dogs will bark at the passing person/dog/bike/car/hot air balloon (this last one comes from personal experience a few years ago in the Netherlands). How many dog owners thanks their dogs for letting them know? What is the usual response to a dog barking? It’s OK, there is no need to tell me; I may not understand Dutch but I can tell if someone is happy or not…
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When you brought this dog into your life, you made a commitment to provide the care he needs. Prevent dog barking, and other dog behavior problems by calling in a canine professional to help him cope with a behavior issue.
Uncontrolled barking might be triggered by a noise or object that catches their attention and startles them. This can happen anywhere and not just at home. If it does happen at home it could possibly be part of territorial or protective barking.
It is understandable that a dog barking all the time can be annoying and even distressing, but if this happens when you are at home and you know that your dog is barking at something outside, try thanking it instead of what you may have one before. You are letting your dog know that you are aware of the situation and (most importantly) you are calm. This is vital in encouraging a dog to calm down. If you get animated and/or annoyed, the dog feels your adrenalin level rise too. The thing it is barking at must be a problem in that case.
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices and are not recommended as a first choice for dealing with a barking problem. This is especially true for barking that’s motivated by fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer for guidance.
Behaviorists may have a number of different types of titles, but essentially any kind of behaviorist must have earned a master’s degree or a PhD in animal behavior. Typically a behaviorist with a doctoral degree will be called a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), while a behaviorist with a master’s degree will be called an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).
Visualize attention-seeking barking and frustration barking like a child having a tantrum; if you give in to the demands you’ll soon be a slave to them. Wait for a moment of quiet, or a calm sit, then give your dog attention or fetch his ball. If you’re consistent, your dog will soon realize that barking doesn’t work to get him what he wants and he’ll abandon the strategy.