It is difficult to learn how to get a dog to stop barking is he has separation anxiety or barks compulsively. The help of a veterinary behaviorist should be considered. Likewise, medication may be needed to treat these issues.
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.
This is what’s generally known as “Separation Anxiety” because your dog after separation becomes anxious. I should add here that this stress results not only in barking, but can also manifest in destructive behaviour, chewing, injuring themselves, escaping, and excessive digging.
Doglover, totally agree with you and do what you have to. Our quality of life has been ruined for 10 years by our dogs barking. We had one dog and he barked incesently whenever I went out so we got him a companion dog, didn’t work, they both bark! The dogs are walked away from home every day and we have 7 acres of land at home they can go on, I only go out for about 4 hours a day (I have a right to a life!) and when we come home, bark bark bark, and when people visit bark bark bark, and when there is anything outside or a noise. Yep, bark bark bark etc etc etc. I’ve tried professional training – not effective if we’re out obviously, ultra sonic collars. Rubbish, spray collars. Ok but only about 50% and not when we come back home, barks right through the citronella spraying! Bark bark bark and very loud! So now, at my wits end, I’ve just ordered 2 static shock collars. We have lived in this stressful situation for too long so as not to put the dogs under stress! But enough is bloody enough now. Lets hope it works. You must do what is right for you and your situation Doglover and accept that there will always be people expressing opinions about everything, both good and bad, but they are not living your life and dealing with the stuff you are. So find what works for you and your dog, don’t make the mistake of discussing it with other people as that just elicits opinions which may not be nice or productive and good luck.
It also helps to teach your dog a specific set of behaviors to do when people come into your home so that he has fewer opportunities to alarm bark. Plus, when your dog performs his new behaviors and receives rewards, he’ll learn that people coming into his and your space is a good thing.
When your dog sees or hears something in an area your dog considers his/her territory, excessive barking will often be triggered. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive during this type of barking and the barking will often get louder as the threat gets closer. It is good to note that this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory and people.
A humane alternative to shock collars of yore, the citronella spray bark collar uses a burst of citronella spray to eliminate or reduce excessive barking. Dogs don’t like the taste of citronella, and the “shhh” sound and sensation startles them out of barking.
Consult an expert. There are many different types of dog behavior specialists, each with their own unique qualifications. No matter what kind of expert you choose, you should always check the person’s qualifications and look for recommendations or reviews online. If you can’t find an expert online, ask your vet for recommendations on an expert who can help your dog with her unique needs.
Try counterconditioning your dog. Counterconditioning is a common treatment method for dogs that typically involves training the dog to associate something fearful with a reward. In the case of separation anxiety, instead of fearing someone or something, the dog fears being left alone. To counter condition separation anxiety, you’ll need to train your dog to associate being left alone with something the dog enjoys (like treats).
Use a phrase such as “Over here!” or “Quiet please!” as your interrupt cue. Say the phrase in a cheerful tone of voice when your dog is paying attention to you, then immediately feed him a morsel of very high value treat, such as a small shred of chicken. Repeat you see his eyes light up and his ears perk when you say the phrase.
“Debarking,” or cordectomy is an elective surgical procedure involving partial removal of a dog’s vocal cords. Debarking does not take away the dog’s ability to bark – it just makes it sound quieter and raspy (considered annoying by some). In this dog lover’s opinion, debarking surgery is unnecessary and unfair to the dog. Surgery and anesthesia are always risks, so any procedure that is purely for human convenience and does not medically benefit the patient or animal community should be avoided. In addition, excessive barking indicates an underlying issue that is usually behavioral. Surgery takes the noise away, but the anxiety, fear or similar problem remains unaddressed. Rather than debarking your dog, spend your time and money on training and/or visiting a veterinary behaviorist.
Correct your dog when they bark by giving them a stern look, making a loud, sharp sound, or physically touching your dog to distract them. Keep correcting if the dog starts barking again and do this consistently and repeatedly until they stop.
If you want to find out more about what makes your dog tick, and what to do about any unwanted behaviour you may be experiencing, then The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell (my Mum) is available at your local library, online and in all good bookstores. If you would like more hands-on help, let me know.
Find your dog’s trigger, give your “Speak!” cue, then elicit the bark. (If you want the bark to eventually ward off potential accosters, select a cue that will make sense in that context, such as “Stop!” or “Leave me alone!”)
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.
While industry claims that no harm is done to the dog, obviously the stimulus, or sensation, provided by the no-bark collar is not something the dog likes. If it didn’t hurt them, they wouldn’t worry about barking freely despite the consequences. That being said, we don’t know of any severe injuries or deaths caused by no-bark collars, and if the dog learns not to bark, it won’t be shocked anymore. We can’t help but wonder how this is restraining some of dogs’ natural functions, however, or causing undue stress and anxiety. Furthermore, consider the fact that in Europe, electric shock no-bark collars are illegal.
During walks, a dog may let out an excited bark if they see another pup along the way, Spaulding says. “You’ll also see excitable barking when dogs are doing something they enjoy, like chasing a small animal or for agility dogs when they run a course.”
I just got the Petsafe static collar yesterday. It’s amazing the difference. We have a beagle/terror mix and she was just not tolerable. I can actually sit outside with her now. I don’t hear the neighbors telling us off behind the shrubs.
Research your town or city’s anti-barking laws. Look online at your town or city’s codes, by-laws or dog legislation. There may be a code against unruly pets or incessant barking at night; many places have legislation or regulations in place that deal specifically with dogs and/or noise. There might also be a code covering ignoring requests from neighbors.