A young, energetic dog craves lots of exercise and attention from you. Thirty minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise in the morning will go a long way toward helping your dog settle down. For the first few weeks, you may need to have someone come over at lunch to exercise him again.
Territorial behavior is often motivated by both fear and anticipation of a perceived threat. Because defending territory is such a high priority to them, many dogs are highly motivated to bark when they detect the approach of unknown people or animals near familiar places, like their homes and yards. This high level of motivation means that when barking territorially, your dog might ignore unpleasant or punishing responses from you, such as scolding or yelling. Even if the barking itself is suppressed by punishment, your dog’s motivation to guard his territory will remain strong, and he might attempt to control his territory in another way, such as biting without warning.
Pay attention to the circumstances. Barking at the mailman teaches pups to repeat the behavior when your two-pound terror thinks, “My ferocious bark chased him away — I’m an awesome guard dog, beware!” You may want to enlist your mail carrier’s help — ask him/her to feed your pup a treat once he is quiet and praise him for being silent.
Ironic that I should be writing a how to get your dog to stop barking post when for the first time in my life, and after being a pro dog trainer for close to 20 years, I am living with dogs who love the sound of their own voices. Let’s meet the players, shall we.
Stress-reducing collar – This is similar to the diffusers discussed earlier. Stress-reducing collars are loaded with soothing pheromones that will help stressed dogs calm down and reduce anxious barking.
Attention seeking: Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. If he barks to go outside, it’s the same. So teach him to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe he’ll start pushing it with his nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.
Alternatively, you can teach your dog to “speak; once he’s doing that reliably, signal him to stop barking with a different command, such as “quiet”, while holding your finger to your lips (dogs often pick up body signals faster than voice commands.) Practice these commands when he’s calm, and in time he should learn to stop barking at your command, even when he wants to bark at something.
If your dog likes to play fetching games, try teaching them to retrieve a toy or other item when the situation occurs that sets them off. Asking them to “go to bed” is also something you could try as this removes them from the area that the trigger is coming from and asks them to concentrate on a neutral task that they are already familiar with.
Teaching replacement behaviors may be time consuming, but ultimately it is the best way to encourage desirable behavior. Instead of responding to your dog’s vocal requests to play, for example, teach her to bring her favorite toy to you and set it on the floor.
For example, some people find success by keeping pennies in a can and rattling them when their dog begins to bark. If the dog stops barking when you make the noise and looks at you, you can then follow up with a come command or quiet command and give treats for compliance.
There was the time I was engrossed in writing an article and our dogs were alarm-barking ferociously. Resisting the urge just to tell them to stop, I reluctantly got up to investigate. No, the house wasn’t on fire, but I did find our horses running down the driveway toward the road.
Do you have a problem barker? It’s best to address the issue now before it gets any worse. Learn how to stop barking and prevent excessive barking in dogs. In most cases, you can curb barking with basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise. In more serious situations, you may need to bring in a trainer or behaviorist. One thing you should not do is ignore the problem. Excessive barking is not likely to improve with out intervention from you.
If the dog seems to be barking at nothing, he’s likely bored. Boredom, due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation, is probably the biggest reason for excessive barking. Think honestly about whether your dog is getting enough. How would you feel if you were locked up at home all day with no cell phone, tablet, computer or even television? Not even a book to read. You’d get bored pretty fast.
After several weeks, you should progress to practicing out-of-sight stays at an exit door. But even then, it’s best to use an alternate door (if possible) than the one you typically use to leave for work. For example, instead of going out the front door or the door to the garage, try going out the back door.
While you cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by brushing your dog regularly. Your veterinarian or groomer should be able to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type.
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’.
Please note that there there are instances of excessive barking for which it is a good idea to seek the advice of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a Veterinary Behaviorist, or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer first.
Go for a walk around the block with your dog on leash. Use the interrupt when he’s sniffing a bush, or eyeing garbage in the gutter. Start with mild to moderate real-life distractions if possible, but if a major distraction presents itself, including a stimulus that causes him to bark, give it a try!
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This is caused by one of two reasons. It could be an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when a dog is on lead or at the other side of the road, which is known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, it could be a “GO AWAY, you are scaring me” situation, also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
The chest harness was a life saver for me. My dog hates to have anything around her neck. I think it’s baggage from life before she wound up on the streets and in the shelter. I’ll never know what baggage she has left over from then, but I am pleased that we found a compromise that’s as pleasant for her as it is for me.
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.
Saying something positive like “Thank you” or “Good dog” starts training the owner to think of barking as a positive thing, which helps the dog to calm down sooner. Remember the Dobermans in the non-burgled house?
Unlike the separation anxiety panic attack, this is simply an “I WANT IT!” style temper tantrum similar to demand barking, but with more emotion, and directed at the thing he wants, such as a cat strolling by, rather than at you.
If you a problem barker make an appointment with your veterinarian. Many vets have additional qualifications or a special interest in behavior, so it is worth asking whether one of the vets has a special interest in behavior. Often there are health conditions that could be exacerbating the problem, such as dementia, pain, vision or hearing problems.
Greeting/Play: To stop a dog from going into a barking frenzy every time you come home or the doorbell rings, you’ll need to teach him other behaviors. One way is to train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when the door opens. It’s best if they can see the door, but not be too close to it. Pick a spot and practice getting your dog to go there and stay, but don’t touch the door yet. Use lots of treats and praise, making it a game.
Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.
In situations such as when the postman or visitors come to the door or a phone rings and your dog becomes very vocal, teaching them to perform a behaviour that simply takes your dog’s mind off barking should do the trick.
If she’s not receptive, or if your neighbor is such a threatening presence from the dark side that you’re not comfortable contacting her, you can file a complaint with the animal authorities in your community. Most will not disclose the identity of a complainant, but you should double-check with them to be sure. You may need to make follow-up complaints if their initial contact with the dog owner doesn’t effect an adequate change in behavior.