Barking is a normal canine communication, but inappropriate barking – too much or too often – is probably one of the most commonly reported problems owners have with their dogs. It can be annoying and can lead to unhappy situations with neighbours, particularly if your dog barks a lot.
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.
Obedience collars will assess the effect of a problem and not its cause. If you really want to stop the dog from barking, you need to stop the cause or do something to fix the problem that exists. We have to add that it has been proven that shock collars are not as effective as they are advertised. Modern dog trainers see this method as something that should never be tolerated. You do not want to hurt the dog in order to get him to do something for you. He loves you and will want to please you. He might not really love you anymore when he realizes that you abuse him.
An example of this is a dog barking outside in the yard unattended. One thing that works around here is I leash walk the Collie in the yard before taking him off leash. This gives Finn a chance to chill a bit and the squirrels a chance to flee, without the added satisfaction my dog gets of driving them away. For many of us, it means just not opening the dog and sending the dogs out to play in the yard unattended to bark.
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.
If she seems receptive, show her this article to give her some ideas about how to modify her dog’s barking behavior. If you’re feeling generous, give her a copy of Terry Ryan’s book, The Bark Stops Here, for more in-depth information on barking.
Puleeeze – I’ve been doing the “we’re stopping and we’re not moving until the leash is loose” crap for MONTHS with my 10 month old and he STILL immediately lunges to the end of the lead and pulls the instant I start moving again. When it’s tight and I stop he turns to look at me, excitedly, and loosen sometimes, but the instant I move he’s jerking me along again. Apparently the consequence of not moving isn’t severe enough, so I’m moving up to a choke chain because I’m tired of his crap. I’ve had 2 MRIs and a trip to the ER because of injuries caused when he’s seen a cat (I have to walk two puppies at the same time at least once a day – at least she’s smaller and more easily reigned in).
Alarm barking is very similar to territorial barking in that it’s triggered by sights and sounds. However, dogs who alarm bark might do so in response to things that startle or upset them when they’re not on familiar turf. For example, a dog who barks territorially in response to the sight of strangers approaching will usually only do so when in his own home, yard or car. By contrast, a dog who habitually alarm barks might vocalize when he sees or hears strangers approaching in other places, too. Although territorial barking and alarm barking are a little different, the recommendations below apply to both problems.
There are a few things you can do to get your dog to stop barking at inappropriate times. It’s important to note that these tips aren’t an overnight fix. Be patient and stick with it, though, and you will begin to notice a change in your pup’s behavior.
My year and a half old lab barks only when she goes out in the yard. She will sit by the door to ask to go out and a few seconds later she is barking her head off. I then call her back inside so she doesn’t disturb the neighbors. I have trained her to respond to the come command and when she does I give her a little treat. I am worried that now she is barking so I will call her in and give her a treat. But that is the only way I know how to stop her from barking right now. What do you suggest I do instead of the come command with a treat?
Once you’ve taught your dog the “quiet” command in a calm environment, practice in increasingly distracting situations until your dog can immediately stop barking when asked to, even when that “intruder” arrives at the door.
Barking in the morning for the purpose of waking up the owners and eliciting them to start their day early is a form of nuisance barking. What increases this form of barking is obviously the act of getting up and attending to the dog by giving it food or attention. To better understand though why a dog continues to bark in the morning despite not getting up and attending to the dog, it helps to understand all the mechanisms that come into play when a behavior is about to extinguish.
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.
Teach your dog that when someone comes to the door or passes by your property, he’s permitted to bark until you say “Quiet.” Allow your dog to bark three to four times. Then say “Quiet.” Avoid shouting. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle closed with your hand and repeat “Quiet.” Release your dog’s muzzle, step away, and call him away from the door or window. Then ask your dog 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 your dog resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence above. Do the same outside if he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard.
So if it is agreed that the most common motivations for dog barking (Separation and Defensive/Territorial) can or do occur when you are not there, what methods will stop dog barking more effectively than others? Chastising and physical punishment are obviously impossible when you are not there.
I have a beautiful border collie that we found at work wandering around half starved at 4 months old. I fell in love with Maggie Mae right away and while at 1st she showed signs of possible abuse such as cowering she soon adapted and joined our beagle and chihuahua-pug mix she has a couple quirks. Whenever my husband’s cell phone rings or even vibrates she makes a mad dash for the back dog door and runs around the pool before coming back in. Only his phone and regard less of the ringer. I have even changed mine to the same as his with No result. She does the same thing when he sneezes and only him. We laugh about it now but it is a little bewildering!
If you decide you want to give in, however, Spaulding says it’s best to do that after the first or second bark, if you can, because waiting teaches dogs they have to bark a lot to get what they want, and they may become very pushy in the future.
A tired dog, is a quiet dog. Nearly every dog can do from a little extra exercise, both mentally and physically. A dog that has had a good workout will be less likely to react to barking triggers. Take the time to exercise your dog daily by going for a run or playing fetch. Mind-teaser games like “find the toy” or hide-and-seek will also tire your dog out.
Citronella collars deliver a small, short blast of citronella every time the dog barks. These types of collars have been shown to be at least as effective as electronic collars, and do not risk causing any pain or real discomfort to the dog.
Understandably, if your dog is barking because he is anxious, this will really add to his problems. Citronella collars require you to buy replacement cartridges frequently, so can be much more expensive than consulting a veterinary behaviorist.
While all of these causes can trigger dog barking at night, for Joel Silverman, professional dog trainer seen on Good Dog U on Animal Planet, the solution is simple. When asked about the main culprit behind nighttime barking, Silverman says, “Just stand up and take a look in the mirror.”
I realize that shock collars can work to correct a barking issue. However, they’re a negative Band-Aid people employ instead of training their dog. It’s much better for both parties to address the underlying causes of the barking instead of shocking them for unwanted behavior.
Territorial and alarm barking happen when dogs see or hear something that arouses their attention (that’s why so many dogs bark at the living room window or along the fence). The quickest trick to stop barking at the window or in the yard is to manage the environment. Block your dog’s sightline to potential barking triggers.
Don’t encourage your dog to bark at strangers or people walking by the door. Asking your dog “who’s that?” in a querying tone will excite their curiosity. Looking out the window or door will encourage him to do the same, and once there, he will bark.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it is a good idea to set up a safe and quiet placed for them when you aren’t home. Choose a room in your home that is away from the front door and with limited distractions from the outside world. This can be a back bedroom, laundry room or spare space.
Attention-seeking: When you hear this bark, you will usually know just what it means. This bark says “Hey! Hey! Look! Here I am!” Other dogs may whine and bark together to get attention, almost like the tone of a whining child.
Meet your dog’s needs. If your dog is hungry or left out in the yard all day every day, she will probably bark. No amount of training or behavioral techniques will subdue her need for food and comfort. Make sure your dog always has plenty of cool, clean water to drink any time she needs it, two to three nutritious meals each day, and access to the inside of your home.
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!
Think twice before ignoring. Of course another less preferable way is to ignore the barking and wait for it to go away. In a crate or enclosed area this may work (particularly with a puppy who is learning to settle) but if the dog is outside or in a large area then the barking itself can be self-rewarding. In many instances there are multiple stimuli occurring which will encourage the dog barking. In my opinion, dogs should never be left outside unsupervised or unaccompanied. Go out with your dog and do not allow him to run the fence, race down the hedgerow chasing the cars, or at the person walking by. Show your control and confidence in handling these situations and be the leader of your pack. Have him on a leash or a long line so that you can reinforce your commands and maintain control without shouting or becoming agitated.
Do not punish your dog for this invaluable commmication! It’s the most benign means he has of letting you know that something bothers him. Take away his growl, and a snap or bite is likely to happen without warning. Rather, when your dog growls in warning, step back to see what’s causing him such discomfort, remove the stressor, and ﬁgure out how to give him a more positive association with the thing that’s causing the growling.
Your dog will bark when he wants something, be it food, water, or your attention. When learning how to get a dog to stop barking, it’s important to ensure that you’ve met all of his needs before moving forward with treatment.
Once your dog can be comfortably left alone for 90 minutes, she will most likely be able to handle four to eight hours of solitude. However, in the early stages of that comfort level, it’s best to “test” your dog at four hours of solitude, rather than jumping right to a full work day (if possible).
Matthijs B.H. Schilder and Joanne A.M. van der Borg studied behavioral effects of electric shock collars and came to the conclusion that shocked dogs showed more stress-related behavior than the control dogs — dogs controlled via human discipline instead of no-bark collars — the shocked dogs connected their handlers with getting shocks, and may even connect orders given by their handlers with getting shocked. What does this mean? Schilder and Borg conclude that, while they have not proven that the long-term welfare of the shocked dogs is affected, it is clearly under serious threat.
Personally I feel horrible about it but we just had to get a shock collar for our dog today. We own a town home and today our neighbor told us she called our association and reported us for his barking. He’s always been a very well behaved, easily trainable dog, so we decided to let him stay out of his crate while away since we hate having to lock him up when we leave for extended hours occasionally. Day 1: absolutely great. He stayed in the baby gated area. Day 2: did not go well at all. He escaped the area, ate the cat food, pooped all over the house, chewed up tons of things… Behavior that he has never displayed before even when left out briefly. He was put back in the crate and ever since we’ve been having issues. He tries to escape it. He’s somehow dented it and he’s only 40 pounds. Tried covering and he ate the blanket. He’s even got scratch marks on his face from trying to escape and when he does, he destroys everything. Again this is a dog that has always been happy, never barked, never chewed anything up, never misbehaved. The only naughty things he did prior was potty a couple times as a puppy and I caught him licking my pizza when I went to use the restroom… Other than that he gets nothing but compliments on his great behavior. We moved his kennel to different areas of the house. We’ve left TVs on for background noise. But nothing works. This is brand new behavior and we have had him almost 2 yrs since he was 4 months. Our neighbor constantly is complaining and calling us that he’s barking when we leave. The issue is we have only caught him 1x. We’ve definitely tried the whole routine of acting as if we’re leaving hoping we’ll catch and correct him. Putting him away and everything but quietly standing in the house for up to a half hour and heard absolutely nothing. We’ve caught him once when we came home where we could hear him outside barking from inside. Our neighbor has called us asking when we are coming home and just basically harassing us. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t work, so she is always home. We have tried numerous attempts to give him positive reinforcement taking him for walks, giving him treats, and giving him lots of love and affection before putting him in his crate. The neighbor still calls complaining. Nothing works. This is behavior that’s been going on for about six weeks. We had to get the shock collar because we really had no other choice except for let him continue then get more calls to our association and be told that we’re not allowed to have him anymore.
Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. Some bark collars emit a noise, some bark collars a blast of air or citronella and some use an electric stimulation between two points on the collar that limit the feeling to that area. They can all work. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.