Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
Offer him a treat when he stops barking. This creates a connection between the action done and the treat. In time, he can learn the command Quiet and whenever he hears it, he will just stop barking because he knows that this is what you want the dog to do.
The next step in “Go to Your Spot” training is to recruit friends and family to help you conduct mock practice visits. Arrange to have someone come to the door. You will work with your dog to help him stay on his own. Be prepared! This will probably take a long time the first few visits. When you open the door, one of two things can happen. Sometimes you leave your dog there on his spot while you talk to the person at the door, as if your visitor is a courier or delivery person. Your dog never gets to say hello. (However, you, the person or both of you should frequently toss treats to your dog to reward him for staying.) At other times, invite the visitor in. Wait until the person sits down somewhere, and then release your dog to join you and your guest. When you have a friend help you with a mock visit, be sure to repeat the scenario over and over, at least 10 to 20 times. Practice makes perfect! Have the person come in for 5 to 10 minutes or just pretend to deliver something, then leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then return for a second visit, and so on. Your dog should experience at least 10 visits in a row with the same person. With each repetition, it will become easier for him to do what you expect because he’ll be less excited by the whole routine—especially when it’s the same person at the door, over and over again.
Providing something for your dog to do during the day also can help. Try leaving out a couple of food-dispensing toys, which come in different shapes and sizes. These can keep him busy for several hours, then he’ll probably take a nap.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.
I am working on the follow up article to this one and apologize for not having it last week…I was really sick! You need to introduce all the things that flip your dog out at very low stimulation levels with very high levels of reinforcement. My Collie has issues with things on wheels to, and to be honest, while we have overcome the vacuum cleaner, bikes, and skateboards, the lawn mover is so evil, i gave up and just keep him in the house. Genetics are strong with dogs! Basically your goal is t the give the dog a different job. Look at you, down, anything other than go forward and back at it. I hope you find some tips in this week’s article.-Nancy
Medical problems that lead towards excessive barking are more common in the older dog. Canine senility can lead towards excessive vocalization. You want to take the dog to a vet and simply get him checked out. You might be faced with a case in which you want to deal with the barking and you use all the wrong techniques as the dog simply has a medical problem. He is telling you that he needs help in his very own way. Dogs cannot speak so they will bark. You want to really listen to the dog and you will need to take him to that routine checkup.
One tool that may help with this training is a head halter. It looks somewhat like a combination collar/muzzle, but it allows the dog to breath and drink. Used with supervision (never leave it on the dog when he is alone), it may have a controlling and calming effect on your walks and at home, reducing the likelihood of barking. A head halter does not replace training, rewards and praise, but is a tool to help you in your counter-bark training.
Some dogs end up being distracted in just a few seconds. It is so common to see them look outside the window and then stop barking. That is because they saw something that made them enthusiastic. Such a situation is really common with the large or medium sized breeds that have a strong hunting instinct. They will see a sparrow out the window and will want to chase it. Since they cannot do that, they start barking at the sparrow.
This behavior is more likely to annoy you than your neighbors, but it’s annoying nonetheless. A demand barker has learned that he can get what he wants – usually attention or treats – by telling you. It often starts as a gentle, adorable little grumble, and can quickly turn into insistent, loud barks – your dog’s way of saying, “I want it, NOW!”
Anxiety or Fear: Dogs also bark when they are unsure or scared. They may use barking as they run away the same way a human would scream. They may also use sound as a defense mechanism to keep their attacker at a distance. Dogs learn early that the best defense is often a good offense.
Bark on command. Another approach that can work is to teach your dog to bark on command, or “speak,” and then command him to be quiet. If you use treats or even verbal praise – do wait a few seconds after dog has finished barking before rewarding him. What you don’t want him to think is that he is being rewarded for barking when really he is being rewarded for being quiet. To get him to bark initially you can have someone ring your doorbell or you can encourage him to bark by “barking” yourself. Have him on a leash during the exercise so that you can distract and stop the barking with a light pop of the leash. To make the response even better teach your dog that he can bark at the doorbell but then must be quiet and go to a place near the door where he can watch who is at the door and allow them to come in. This can give a very effective security touch to a home. Dog barks, owners says “Quiet,” and he stops barking, showing he is under control. When the door is opened he is sat watching and waiting for anything that could be a threat. One word – “Speak” – has him barking again. So by teaching the commands – “Speak,” “Quiet,” and “Place,” – you have a dog that is both under control, yet ready to give a warning or even threaten if required.