Dogs that are bored have no way to release their energy. You want to be sure that the dog has different ways to let off some steam and have fun. You might think that the dog is getting enough exercise and plays enough but according to the dog, this may be incorrect. Every single dog has his own personality. You want to learn what your dog wants to do. If there is a need to offer more entertainment, you need to take steps to do that.
First, get your dog excited by ringing the doorbell, knocking on a wall or whatever you know will start him barking. Say your command word, such as ‘speak’ and pair it with a treat. When your dog is consistently barking when you say ‘speak’, you can then say ‘quiet’ and give a treat. Your dog will have to stop barking to get the treat.
Behaviorists may have a number of different types of titles, but essentially any kind of behaviorist must have earned a master’s degree or a PhD in animal behavior. Typically a behaviorist with a doctoral degree will be called a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), while a behaviorist with a master’s degree will be called an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).
Learning how to stop a dog from barking doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Sure, it’s a challenge to stop dog barking, but most importantly, through all of these techniques, you have to remember that just as there are some great ways to treat dog barking, there are definite ways NOT to treat it. Because frustration and boredom are often at the heart of incessant barking, scolding your dog won’t do anything. Agitation won’t be fixed with more agitation, so try to speak to your dog in a soothing voice and don’t let your anger over the situation get the best of you.
Recognize compulsive/boredom barking. If your dog barks compulsively for no reason, or tends to bark when she’s left alone (in the yard, for example), she may be engaging in boredom barking. Dogs that bark when left alone may be experiencing separation anxiety, but there are usually other symptoms which accompany that problem, like destructive behavior, bathroom problems, and following you around when you’re home. Common signs of compulsive or boredom barking include:
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
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The best way to think of it is to imagine some children playing… then you’ll get the idea of what is going on… They start to have fun, then they get excited, then they start shouting and then start yelling!
While barking at people outside or at the door (including you and your family), if your dog is also wagging his tail, crying, and jumping, this is a greeting bark, and must be handled differently than territorial barking. Greeting barks are friendly, but can still be annoying to you and your neighbors. Here are a few tips to help control the 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 by. 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.
Talk to your neighbor. Many people jump straight to drastic measures instead of simply talking to the neighbor about their concerns. Unless you’re on bad terms with your neighbor, the best way to solve this problem is usually to just talk to him or her about it. You could casually approach your neighbor next time you see him or her outside, or write a note asking to set up a time to talk.
No one should expect a dog to never bark. That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively. If that’s a problem in your home, the first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why he is barking, you can start to treat his barking problem.
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.
Meet Beck. He is my first failed foster dog. Beck officially joined our family in March. Guess what? The damn dog didn’t bark the entire 6 weeks he was in foster care with me. It is true what they say about rescue dog’s honeymoon periods.
Barking does not always require a big interrupter, however. You can use everyday objects. If your dog barks near to you, the cupboard door or a drawer, so the noise distracts or startles him. Make nothing of this, and carry on as normal. This can work especially well when a dog barks simply to be let out of a crate. You don’t want to scare the dog, just quickly alter his state of mind and change the focus. He should not see you launch the object or make the noise. He has to think that the unwanted barking creates the occurrence. Practice this while you are watching TV, working in the kitchen or whatever you’re doing – the dog should not relate it to you but to the nuisance barking. An important part of this is that if you do drop or throw an object it should not hit the dog, but land at his feet. You should also leave it there for a while so he does not relate it to you. Remember though that you have to be able to understand and translate the different barks. One of his barks may be – I need to go to the bathroom. So learn to understand the tone of the bark or noise he makes.
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.
Place your dog in a travel crate which restricts both movement and his vision of the outside distractions. Use a seat belt safety lead if you can’t use a crate. Begin training good car manners by making your dog sit and wait before jumping in the car. Play the radio to distract from outside noises.
The secret to stopping the behavior is therefore to never give in. The worst thing that can be done is giving in some days and resisting others. This puts the dog on a ”variable schedule”. What this means is that if the dog barks and gets fed one day and not the next day, the behavior of barking only puts more roots because it works in the same way as ”playing the lottery”. People get hooked on playing the lottery because of the variability of it. Slot machines are based on this principle.
Debarking or devocalization is a surgery performed under full anesthesia that removes all or part of a dog’s vocal cords. The dog can still make noise, but it’s more of a raspy, hoarse sound. Many animal rights and veterinary groups strongly discourage the practice.
Identify a place in your home where you’d like your dog to go when people come to the door. If possible, choose a place that’s at least eight feet away from the front door but still within sight. It might be a spot at the top of a set of stairs, inside the doorway of an adjacent room, your dog’s crate, or a rug positioned at the far corner of an entryway or foyer.
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.
Basically, the point is to redirect their focus away from barking to an activity that you can reward. You can also redirect them to a toy or a game of fetch. After all, it’s tough to bark when engaged in a fun tug session.
Watch out for extinction bursts and behavior chains. When you’re trying to make a behavior go away by ignoring it, your dog may increase the intensity of his behavior – “I WANT IT NOW!” This is an extinction burst. If you succumb, thinking it’s not working, you reinforce the more intense behavior, and your dog is likely to get more intense, sooner, the next time. If you stick it out and wait for the barking to stop, you’re well on your way to making it go away. You have to be more persistent – and consistent – than your dog.
If your dog isn’t house-safe, use crates, exercise pens, a professional dog walker (or volunteer one – you’d be amazed at how many people would like to walk a dog, but not own one!), lots of exercise, even doggie daycare to keep him out of trouble, until he earns house privileges. You can also enrich the dog’s environment, by giving him interactive toys such as food-stuffed Kong toys that keep his brain engaged and his mouth busy.