What do I mean by this? Don’t pick the time to start your training where your dog’s archenemy saunters by the fence, causing a 10-minute vocal tirade. Find an occasion where the dog may just bark a few times, but won’t get overly excited. You want them to still be able to focus on you.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviors.
The bad news is that if you just can’t get your dog to shut up in the wee hours, you’re probably not the only person who has a problem with it. In a 2,000-person survey conducted on dog barking in New Zealand, 75 percent of the participants indicated that they would be bothered by a dog barking at night. Dog barking and howling ranked highest among all other forms of suburban noise pollution. A New York Times article on the same topic confirmed that a nonstop barking dog is one local disturbance that can pit neighbors against each other.
I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
This type of barking is a form of expression which often developed through positive reinforcement from the owner. If your dog barks to let you know he needs to go relieve himself, this is usually a good thing. When he barks because he wants your dinner or to play or go for a walk, this is less positive.
When your dog barks do you have the tendency to yell something like “NOOOOOOO” or “STOOOPPP?” While you think you’re telling your dog to stop barking, they just think you’re joining in. So yelling won’t do you much good. Instead, when your dog starts barking inappropriately it’s important to stay calm. Develop a signal that alerts your dog to stop barking. That signal could be a look, sound, or physical correction. Below, I will go over the “quiet” command.
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)
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.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the fact that dogs are primarily body language communicators. It’s true, they are. But as anyone who’s spent time with them knows, dogs also have a pretty well-developed ability to express themselves vocally. Dogs bark. Some bark more, some bark less, and a few don’t bark at all, but most dogs bark at least some of the time.
Unlike the separation anxiety panic attack, is simply an “I WANT IT!” style temper tantrum similar to demand barking, but with more emotion, and directed at the thing he wants, such as a cat strolling by, rather than at you.
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.
Best case scenario, the neighbors will be able to put their heads together to come up with a good solution that doesn’t leave anyone feeling ostracized. However, if the dog owner is unreceptive and the barking continues unchecked, you may have to change tacks and get authorities involved.
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.
Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.
As your dog learns that silence is rewarded with treats and barking is ignored, you’ll need to gradually extend the period of time that your dog must be quiet before receiving a treat. For example, once she has passed the initial stages of getting a treat after the barking has stopped, you may want to prolong the required quiet time by a few seconds each day and work your way up to a minute or two before rewarding her.
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