Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
Is your dog barking over and over again at the same object, person, situation, or place? Then you need to step up and claim that stimulus as your own. Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.
Many of the “humane” methods are humane to humans. Those standards shouldn’t apply to animals. Citronella in the eyes is as painful as a quick shock. What we might prefer is not the same as what a dog might. The beauty of the shock collar is that it is over quickly, and animals (generally) learn fast. So while trying to work it out in a way that a human would prefer may work, for dogs that are persistent and stubborn barkers, these collars are quick and effective trainers. And, that method may have more to do with you and what you can stomach than what an animal might actually suffer less from.
Dog cameras like Petcube Bites let you not only know when your dog is barking, but let you correct it using two-way audio, and distract them using a laser pointer or treats. A pet treat camera can be a great way to your dog from barking even when you’re not at home. Some cameras even have “bark alerts” that send you push notifications every time your dog makes noise so that you can address the problem before your neighbors get angry.
Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.
Is your neighbor’s dog keeping you up all night? It’s time to take action. The fastest and best way to end the noise is usually to speak to your neighbor face to face to work out a good solution. If that isn’t effective, get law enforcement involved to solve the problem for you. In the meantime, try using a dog whistle or another method to help the dog stay quiet.
In Nature, there are plenty of animals living in groups that have “sentinels” – members of the group looking out for potential danger while the others are at rest or playing etc. If the sentinel sees something that could be a problem, it is raise the alarm. In wild canines, the leaders will check out the problem once alerted and act accordingly. The sentinel is never punished for doing its job, just like how I was never hit by Mum for letting her know when someone was at the door.
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.
If your dog barks all day because he is bored, try leaving him with puzzles or games that take a while to figure out in order to get to the treat. If the dog’s separation anxiety is intense, you may need to call on a trainer or behaviorist for more advice.
Your pet likes to greet you after not seeing you for a while. This can lead to excessive barking. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with a wagging tail and sometimes even jumping. This is one of the areas where owners, without being aware, reward their dog for their unwanted behavior. But more on this later.
If you listen closely, you will eventually learn the sounds of your dog’s different barks. You may then be able to figure out what each bark means. Understanding the reason why your dog barks is the first step towards controlling the behavior.
I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will create a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
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.
“Often, a dog’s bark means he’s bored or frustrated, and he wants us to fix it,” she says. “In situations where you’re not sure what the cause of the barking is, it’s fair to assume your dog would like to interact with you.”
Before you can fix the problem you must know what’s causing it. Why is your dog barking? Is your dog going crazy because he sees someone out the window? If so, close the blinds. Is your dog barking at passersby when he’s in the yard? If so, bring him in the house. Is your dog barking for attention? If so, ignore your dog until he quiets down. Is your dog barking because he’s bored? If so, go for a run!
Puppy barking drives owners and neighbors crazy—it can’t be totally eliminated so don’t expect to stop it. Dog barking is one of the most common behavior complaints, but this normal puppy communication becomes a problem only if puppies aren’t taught proper limits.
2. Territorial/Defensive Barking. Barking at the postman or other dogs walking past your house. Most dog owners will experience this type of dog barking and often encourage it to keep intruders from the house.
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.
“In this case, it is best to ignore the barking, wait for five seconds of quiet and then reward him with attention,” Stillwell tells The Bark. “This way, the dog learns that he gets nothing from you when he barks but gets everything when he’s quiet.”
Making sure your dog gets exercise is always a great start. “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration,” the Humane Society of the United States suggests.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
Boredom: The bark of a bored dog sounds like a dog that barks just to hear her own voice. Though it tends to be annoying, it is also kind of sad. Bored dogs often bark to release excess energy, and sometimes bark out of loneliness. They usually need an activity and perhaps even a companion.
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.
However, it’s unlikely that he became a noisy, insistent pest on his own; your family likely had a hand in this during his upbringing. For example, perhaps you thought it was cute when he barked at you while you were cooking chicken and you slipped a piece to him. Dogs are pretty good associative learners and if they make the connection that barking equals food, they won’t stop just because you no longer find it cute.
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.
As already mentioned, dogs are easily distracted. It is normal for them to hear sounds outside and start barking. What is interesting and is rarely understood is that the dog can hear sounds that you do not because of how well the sense is developed in these animals. In the event that you live in a small apartment, the dog hearing something outside is something that is quite common. Combine this with the fact that he might not have enough space to play and it is a certainty that he will start barking.
Some jurisdictions will act on anonymous complaints, while others require your name and address but won’t reveal this to the neighbor complained about. Check the public or private status of making a complaint before making it.
Try to agree on a concrete solution. Rather than expecting your neighbor to put a stop to all barking, it might be more feasible to agree on a practical solution that works for both of you. Here are a few solutions that might apply; you can adapt them to your situation as necessary:
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
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.