We tend to think of barking as a generally undesirable behavior. ln fact, there may be times when you want your dog to bark. lf you routinely walk or jog with your dog in areas where you might be accosted by unwelcome strangers, a controlled bark from your dog might serve as a useful deterrent. You know your dog is barking on cue, but the potential mugger doesn‘t, and likely assumes your dog‘s willing to back up his bark with a bite.
See what works best for your dog and go from there! Use the same techniques below, but once you get your dog’s attention, move them into a room where they are more protected from the cause of the barking. It might also help your nervous dog to soothingly talk and pet him until he calms down.
Studies have shown that the collars that make a noise do not work with most dogs. One study compared the citronella spray collar and the electronic shock collar and found they are equally effective for eliminating barking. Some collars use a microphone to hear the dog’s bark. If you have more than one dog, the second one could set off the collar with his barking. Anti-bark collars are not designed to be left on all the time and your dog may learn not to bark when the collar is on, and then resume the barking when the collar is off.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 10 to 20 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a startling noise by shaking a set of keys or an empty soda can filled with pennies. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he’ll stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him 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 he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this procedure doesn’t work after 10 to 20 attempts, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for guidance.
The positive interrupt is a well-programmed, highly reinforced behavior that allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you when she’s doing something inappropriate like barking. Ideally, you want your dog’s response to the “Over here!” cue to be so automatic – classically conditioned – that he doesn’t stop to think whether what he’s doing is more rewarding or interesting than turning his attention toward you and running to you for a treat. He doesn’t think – he just does it, the way your foot automatically hits the brake of your car when you see taillights flash in front of you on the highway.
Say “Go to your spot,” show your dog a treat, and then throw the treat onto the spot where you’d like your dog to go. Repeat this sequence 10 to 20 times. By the tenth time, try pretending to throw the treat so that your dog begins to move toward the spot on his own. As soon as he’s standing on his spot or rug, throw him the treat. As your dog catches on, you can stop making the fake throwing motion with your arm and just give him the cue, “Go to your spot.” Then wait until he does and reward him.
Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog’s life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
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 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!
When your dog barks, mark the desired behavior with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him a treat. Repeat this until he’ll bark on just the cue, without the trigger. Then practice in different environments until the “bark on cue” behavior is well generalized. When his “bark on cue” is well established, you can follow it with a “quiet!” cue, so you’ll be able to turn the bark off when you want.
This is the dog who saves his family from a fire, tells us that Timmy’s in the well, scares off the rapist, barks at the dogs on Animal Planet – and goes bonkers every time someone walks past on the sidewalk outside the picture window. Alarm barkers can save lives – but sometimes their judgment about what constitutes an alarm-appropriate situation can be a little faulty.
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My dog Ralph is my best friend, my favorite companion, and one of the barkiest dogs I’ve ever met. I love her, but I’ll be honest, her barking drives me bananas! Thankfully, I’ve learned a few ways to control it. If you have a dog who barks excessively, you’ll want to read this. Try these four strategies to help stop dog barking—with more details below:
Sometimes you can tell whether the type of bark is a play bark or anxious bark. A play bark is usually made while the dog has loose, relaxed body language. An anxious dog has ears back and the whites of the eyes are showing. If your dog barks only when you go out, he may have separation anxiety.
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.
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’.
Dogs engage in territorial barking to alert others to the presence of visitors or to scare off intruders or both. A dog might bark when he sees or hears people coming to the door, the mail carrier delivering the mail and the maintenance person reading the gas meter. He might also react to the sights and sounds of people and dogs passing by your house or apartment. Some dogs get especially riled up when they’re in the car and see people or dogs pass You should be able to judge from your dog’s body posture and behavior whether he’s barking to say “Welcome, come on in!” or “Hey, you’d better hit the road. You’re not welcome at my place!” If you’re dealing with a dog in the first category, follow the treatment outlined in this article for greeting barking (below). If you’re dealing with a dog in the latter category who isn’t friendly to people, you’ll be more successful if you limit your dog’s ability to see or hear passersby and teach him to associate the presence of strangers with good things, such as food and attention.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog, but if your neighbor isn’t taking training seriously, it may fall on you to correct the barking dog’s behavior. A dog whistle makes a noise that won’t disturb humans and won’t harm dogs, but the high frequency will annoy any pooch that can hear it. When the neighbor’s dog starts barking, give the whistle a blow. It may cause more barking at first, but if the pup comes to associate its barking with the irritating whistle sound, it will eventually stop barking to avoid the noise.
Continue the training. Don’t stop at discontinuing barking for attention. Continue your training to eventually cover all aspects of request/attention-seeking barking. Eventually, your dog will learn to wait patiently whether she wants to play, eat, or receive pets.
Block what bothers her. If your dog has barking problems whenever she sees or hears something outside, a simple solution might be to block her access to seeing or hearing that trigger. If she stands at the window and barks, try putting up curtains or blinds so she can’t see passing people or animals. If the sounds she hears outside tend to set her off, try leaving a radio on during the day to distract her and muffle the sounds outside your home.
Play: If you’ve ever gotten your dog involved in an intense play session, you’ve probably heard them bark at you. Like kids yelling on a playground, dogs bark to communicate their willingness and excitement to play.
Many owners can identify why their dog is barking just by hearing the specific bark. For instance, a dog’s bark sounds different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from the yard. If you want to reduce your dog’s barking, it’s crucial to determine why he’s barking. It will take some time to teach your dog to bark less. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect a quick fix or to expect that your dog will stop barking altogether. (Would you expect a person to suddenly stop talking altogether?) Your goal should be to decrease, rather than eliminate, the amount of barking. Bear in mind that some dogs are more prone to barking than others. In addition, some breeds are known as “barkers,” and it can be harder to decrease barking in individuals of these breeds.