Genetics play a role in your dog’s predisposition to barking. If she’s a hound or hound mix, you’re likely to be treated to a certain amount of baying; Chihuahua owners should accept the likelihood of yapping, and so on.
Dogs bark for various reasons. If you want to modify your dog’s barking behavior (either decrease it or increase it) it’s helpful to know what kind of barking your dog is doing, how the behavior is being reinforced, and what to do about it.
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.
Teach your dog that when someone comes to the door or passes by your property, he’s permitted to bark until you say “Quiet.” Allow your dog to bark three to four times. Then say “Quiet.” Avoid shouting. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle closed with your hand and repeat “Quiet.” Release your dog’s muzzle, step away, and call him away from the door or window. Then ask your dog to sit and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes, until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If your dog resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence above. Do the same outside if he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard.
Have some high-value treats ready – small and soft so they can be eaten quickly. While the dog is barking, just wait for her to stop. When she does stop, wait a beat, praise, and give her a treat. Gradually increase the time she must be quiet before rewarding her. If she starts barking, take a few steps backward and make the duration less. Once she seems to be understanding, add a word – hush, quiet, whatever works for you. Be consistent.
You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go.
Reward good behavior. When your dog finally does stop barking, it’s important that you praise and reward her for her silence. Over time, your dog will learn that being silent and obedient will achieve greater results than acting out and barking.
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.
Just like any human left alone for too long, your dog gets bored, too. And as Heidi Ganahl, founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, explains, “If a dog is bored, they are likely to vocalize more often. If dogs are left alone for long periods of time, they can become very bored, especially if there is nothing for them to do. Dogs who are bored should be provided interactive toys such as a KONG or any of PetSafe’s Busy Buddy toys to keep your dog occupied until you get home.”
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.
I had a six month old puppy in class last night that barks at his humans when they sit down to watch TV,usually from 5-7 PM range. That pup needs more exercise, but also something to do. Enrichment toys, bully sticks, raw marrow bones, training games before they settle for the night will all help this dog. This one also falls under most of the other numbers.
Some dogs bark excessively in a repetitive way, like a broken record. These dogs often move repetitively as well. For example, a dog who’s compulsively barking might run back and forth along the fence in his yard or pace in his home.
Especially with the larger breeds, there is this necessity to be active at all times. If there is not much space available indoors, the dog will become frustrated. The same thing happens when he is not allowed to play. What you want to do is create an area where the dog can play. This is where you put all his favorite toys and you let him do whatever he wants.
Try bark deterrents. Bark deterrents like anti-bark collars are very unpleasant for dogs, and should only be used as a last resort when no other method has worked. Some people oppose bark collars because of the perception that these bark deterrents are punishment devices. Training works much better than punishment devices, and training will of course provide the best long-term solutions to behavioral problems, but if training hasn’t worked for your dog and your landlord has threatened eviction or police intervention, you may need to resort to a bark collar.
Here’s a list of six techniques that can help stop your dog from barking. While all of them can be very successful, you shouldn’t expect miraculous results overnight. The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways.
Dogs are pack animals and social barking is just part of that fact. Dogs bark in response to other dogs barking, whether around the neighborhood or even on the TV. You will never stop it, but you can control it somewhat. Start by changing your dog’s environment, minimizing sound from the source of the barking. If he can still hear it, try using a radio or TV to drown it out.
I leave you with a warning. If your dog is barking while tied out, or even worse barking and chasing while out on an electric fence or even in a fenced yard, you have the makings of a time bomb. Dogs who see the world just out of their reach and are allowed to live in an aroused state are the dogs will be go after things when the opportunity arises.
Obedience collars will assess the effect of a problem and not its cause. If you really want to stop the dog from barking, you need to stop the cause or do something to fix the problem that exists. We have to add that it has been proven that shock collars are not as effective as they are advertised. Modern dog trainers see this method as something that should never be tolerated. You do not want to hurt the dog in order to get him to do something for you. He loves you and will want to please you. He might not really love you anymore when he realizes that you abuse him.
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 a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
Meet your dog’s needs. If your dog is hungry or left out in the yard all day every day, she will probably bark. No amount of training or behavioral techniques will subdue her need for food and comfort. Make sure your dog always has plenty of cool, clean water to drink any time she needs it, two to three nutritious meals each day, and access to the inside of your home.
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.