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.
Call animal control to report abuse. If you believe the barking is a result of neglect or another form of abuse, you have the right to call animal control. If the dog is being severely abused it will be confiscated from the owner, but in most cases animal control won’t take the dog away. Instead, they’ll come to assess the situation and try to educate the owners as to how to properly care for the dog.
In addition to what is noted in this article, if you’re working with your dog to stop leash-pulling, it would be best to practice in a low-stimulus environment. With less stimuli to distract or entice him, he can pay better attention to you, and learn. Once the dog consistently shows that he can walk without pulling in the low-stimulus setting, you can start again in a slightly more stimulating location… and so on, and so on. 🙂
Some medical problems can cause excessive barking, from bee stings to brain disease to ongoing pain. Older pets can develop a form of canine senility that causes excessive vocalizations. It’s always a good idea to have a pet checked by a veterinarian to be sure there’s no medical reason for a problem.
Do your neighbors who get barked at have predictable patterns? The neighbor’s little yippie pup gets let our everyday at 12:20 when the Dad comes home for lunch. This can get my dogs going. You can bet my dogs are not in the yard at that time. No need to have a bark off if you can avoid it. Some dogs would do well to avoid being out and about at certain times. For some dogs that means avoiding before and after work times. Know your hood.
I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will create a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
If you have a nervous dog, time and patience is key! The overall goal should be to get your dog comfortable around the things that is making him nervous. If you can get a nervous dog to play a game of tug-of-war around things that seem to make them nervous, then you off to a great start! But, most dogs don’t play when they’re nervous, so having high quality rewards nearby can help. This will slowly help your dog associate something great with things that used to make him uncomfortable. Over time, (sometimes a long time,) you should begin seeing improvements.
If things like other dogs or people are your pet’s trigger, you need to expose them to these stressors. Again, reward them with treats when they are behaving, and let them know that barking means no attention or tasty food.
Wait until your dog is engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
I am working on the follow up article to this one and apologize for not having it last week…I was really sick! You need to introduce all the things that flip your dog out at very low stimulation levels with very high levels of reinforcement. My Collie has issues with things on wheels to, and to be honest, while we have overcome the vacuum cleaner, bikes, and skateboards, the lawn mover is so evil, i gave up and just keep him in the house. Genetics are strong with some dogs! Basically your goal is t the give the dog a different job. Look at you, down, anything other than go forward and back at it. I hope you find some tips in this week’s article.-Nancy
Dogs can bark excessively in response to people, dogs or other animals within or approaching their territories. Your dog’s territory includes the area surrounding his home and, eventually, anywhere he has explored or associates strongly with you: your car, the route you take during walks and other places where he spends a lot of time.
“Demand barking tends to be shorter—a single bark or a few in quick succession. There are more pauses in between, and the dog is usually looking at you or the thing they want. It’s much more controlled,” she says.
Find a replacement behavior. One of the best ways to train an animal out of undesirable behavior is to teach her an alternative behavior. That way, instead of growing increasingly frustrated and irritated that you are not responding to her desires, your dog will eventually realize that if she wants to get her way, she’ll need to engage in the other, more-desirable behavior.
Is your dog barking over and over again at the same object, person, situation, or place? Then you need to step up and claim that stimulus as your own. Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.
Do not attempt to work with a neighbor’s dog without the permission of the owner. Even with your best of intentions, you could be bitten, you could be sued, and you could actually intensify the bark rather than reducing it. And do not install any electronic anti-barking devices. We are hearing reports that these can be quite aversive, perhaps even painful, for the dogs at which they are directed.
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Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog.
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.
I think I’ll start using “thank you” with our German Shepherd, Thor. He is a big talker and like Ginger, he has different ‘words’ for different things. Whining for ‘I’m lonely’, a higher pitched bark for ‘pay attention to me/play with me’ and his Big Loud Alert/Protection bark.
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.
“In this case, it is best to ignore the barking, wait for five seconds of quiet and then reward him with attention,” Stillwell tells The Bark. “This way, the dog learns that he gets nothing from you when he barks but gets everything when he’s quiet.”
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.
Below is a basic list of tried and true barking solutions that we utilize around here pretty much on a daily basis. I have not met you and your dog. Your issues and mileage may of course vary. The list is intended to serve as a spring board, and get you thinking of ways to solve your barking issues in a positive way.
Boredom: The bark of a bored dog sounds like a dog that barks just to hear her own voice. Though it tends to be annoying, it is also kind of sad. Bored dogs often bark to release excess energy, and sometimes bark out of loneliness. They usually need an activity and perhaps even a companion.
My min Schnauzer starts barking,yowling and squeaking the moment you bring the lead in to the room. she doesn’t stop for almost the entire walk. She can bark for up to an hour on a walk with no dogs in sight.
Create distractions. With some dogs it does require an interrupter or distraction to take their mind off of the stimulus to bark. In other words, there has to be something that breaks the concentration on the barking. In some cases the intensity is too high for a verbal command to cut through the behavior. The interrupter in that case may be another noise, such as using a tool that emits a high frequency sound when the dog barks. This is not a pleasant sound to the dog and interrupts his barking. A beanbag, a piece of chain and even a can with pebbles or coins in it, can provide the interruption too. It works like this – the dog barks and this loud object lands on the floor in front of him. You act as though it came from “Heaven.” Now he thinks every time he barks for no reason or if he continues unnecessarily, something falls from the sky.
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.
Once you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can begin to control the behavior. The best way to prevent barking in the first place is to try and remove any potential sources of the behavior. You also want to be certain not to inadvertently encourage the barking. Finally, give her better things to do besides barking.
The no-bark collar has received quite a few critics whose points should be brought to light. Bark collars, while they discourage problem barking can also discourage all barking in some more sensitive dogs. On the topic of sensitive dogs it is also true that some dogs can be particularly sensitive to one type of bark collar or another so it is recommended that you discuss all of your options with your vet prior to using a bark collar. For some dogs the shock collar is too painful, while others seem to be unaffected by it. For some dogs that still have the natural instinct to disguise their scent the citronella bark collar can start the dog rolling on the floor trying to disguise their scent with the citronella. For some dogs the ultrasound noise just does not deter the dog from barking so it really is beneficial to know your dog and know your options when it comes to using a bark collar on your dog.
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.
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
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.