As an example, think about barking when left alone. A dog that is very loud when left isn’t making a noise because he or she is being spiteful or wants to get you in trouble with your neighbours. The vocalization is an expression of the dog’s fear, loneliness and sometimes even panic. By strapping a device such as an electric shock collar to an upset dog, you don’t do anything to make them feel safer or more comfortable when left on their own – and what’s more, the pain confirm their fears that being left means horrible things happen to them (painful electric shocks occur every time they bark).
Gently closing your dog’s mouth. If you have a dog that will bark and ‘sport’ at people or other animals a head halter, such as a Gentle Leader that enables you to close his mouth and guide him into an acceptable behavior is a big advantage. Introduce the halter so your dog accepts it willingly and, when an unwanted bark happens, lift the leash so the dog’s mouth closes and he is guided into a sit. Now move again and change your direction creating attention to you as you move elsewhere. So, we stop dog barking, we gain attention and we redirect to an acceptable behavior in one simple step.
The collar wasn’t used properly and you obviously weren’t interested in the welfare of your dog if you weren’t checking how it was affecting it. Sounds like the collar was on constantly without checking to make sure it wasn’t hurting the dog. Maybe you had it turned all the way up. A lower setting barely shocks.
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience treating compulsive behavior, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these behavior experts in your area.
Don’t use a muzzle or HusherTM as a substitute for training, or while you are absent. Your dog regulates his temperature through the mouth by panting and muzzles prevent your dog from doing this as well as drinking and eating.
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.
In reference to the leash article above….we react on leash when we see other dogs on our walks. What our 5 y.o BSD male (neutered) does is he turns on me snapping…has bitten me….with a glazed over look in his eyes. We have been dealing with this for a few years and so he wears and accepts a muzzle when we go out…for my safety. He is ok with our 2 y.o. male GSD through lots of careful positive associations in baby steps. However, it breaks my heart to see him so freaked out with strange dogs along our walks. (We walk at odd hours to enjoy our exercise but not have ‘encounters’). Any new suggestions would be appreciated. I had bad luck with 2 separate trainers and refuse to deal with another as the boy suffered for our mistakes. Thank you.
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).
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.
You can’t correct them if you’re not at home. I have a 5 year old bulldog/dalmation mix. When I rescued her, literally off the street, I lived in a house, with a yard. Unfortunately I went through a nasty divorce and she and I are forced to live in a condo. She barks all day while I’m gone. I leave the radio on, a fan…anything that will cover up noise or distract her. I walk her 3x’s a day and wear her out at night. She still barks. People don’t want to put a bark collar on their dogs. It’s unfair for you to be so condescending and judgemental. My neighbors complain constantly. What would you have people do? Put them down? Give up their pets?
Why am I telling you this? Well, barking has to be the most annoying behaviour problem that is suffered by dog owners and neighbours alike. However, Karina in Copenhagen will be the first to tell you that she is glad that her dogs bark. Of course, it helps that she knows what to do to get them to stop barking so they do not become a neighbourhood nuisance. Here’s what she does… Are you ready?
That constant barking that you hear might be due to boredom or simply the need to interact with people and other animals. A solution for that barking problem may be as simple as dropping the pet at a dog daycare centre. You can do this around 3 days per week.
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.
Once your dog barks, get their attention on you. Once they stop barking to look at you, say your command. It can be “Quiet,” “Enough” or “No Bark.” The phrase doesn’t really matter as long as you are using it consistently.
Your ﬁrst step is to gently inform your neighbor that her dog is barking excessively, and when. This is best done during the day, not with an irate phonecall when the dog wakes you up at two o’clock in the morning again. Assume she’s not aware of it, or at least not aware it’s disturbing to her neighbors.
You’ll need that calm response when his loud greetings are directed toward arriving guests, too. If you use loud verbal reprimands you add to the chaos and arousal; your dog may even think you’re barking along with him!
If your dog barks at cats or birds in the garden, teach your pet a reliable recall that rewards them for turning away from the thing that triggers their vocalisation and coming to you instead. Because you have no control over this situation, you’ll need to apply a problem-solving method that gives you a way to manage it.
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.
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.
Let’s take a look at what happens in the dog’s mind during an ”extinction burst”. The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and fed the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding.
Pheromone-based treatment: (helpful for fear barkers and separation distress barkers) plug-in diffusers that mimic the “calming chemicals” given off by female dogs can help to soothe dogs that bark due to stress. While you might not see a dramatic shift in behavior – keep in mind that pheromones are different from prescribed medications – the diffusers are an easy and affordable way to take the edge off a stressful situation.
Separation distress: dogs that don’t like to be alone engage in this pitiful bark. It is not the same bark made by dogs going through true separation anxiety, as distress is a milder and more manageable form of canine discomfort than true separation anxiety.
In fact I was working with one yesterday! (A poor little Golden Doodle who was annoying the neighbors…the owners had tried everything and were just about to strap on an electric shock collar!) Not cool!
I should add here that many years ago (when I was pretty new to dog training) I used to think that barking could all be sorted out with the same approach. Now I’m a few years older and wiser (hee hee), and I can see the error of my ways.
Dogs do more than just bark. They whine, they whimper, they grumble and growl, they scream, they howl…and each communication can contain messages that help you understand your dog. When your dog is communicating out loud, take a moment to ﬁgure out what he’s trying to say, and why, and what, if anything, you should do about it.