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.
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.
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.
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.
The easiest and quickest way to quiet down a territorial/alarm/defense barker is to manage their environment. By blocking your dog’s sight line to potential barking triggers, you can stop the uncontrollable barking.
Give your puppy a “bark limit.” Maybe he’s allowed to bark three times or five times — until you acknowledge his warning so he knows you can take over for him. After the designated number of barks, praise your puppy — “GOOD bark, GOOD dog, now HUSH,” and give him a treat as you praise. It’s hard for dogs to bark while chewing so this actually serves a dual purpose.
Barking is one of many forms of vocal communication for dogs. People are often pleased that their dog barks, because it alerts them to the approach of people to their home or it tells them there’s something that the dog wants or needs. However, sometimes a dog’s barking can be excessive. Because barking serves a variety of functions, you must identify its cause and your dog’s motivation for barking before you can treat a barking problem
Patrick has been a long-time dog adopter and currently lives with his two dogs – Tarzan and Loki – in Brooklyn, NY. He is a certified dog trainer, writer on all things dogs, animal shelter volunteer, freelancer researcher of animal sciences and aspiring author.
Desensitize your dog to solitude. If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety, she most likely will not be cured overnight. A good way to get your dog more accustomed to solitude is to gradually desensitize to being left alone and reinforce the fact that getting ready to leave does not mean abandonment. This is a slow process that will take several weeks of practice and consistency, but should prove effective for long-term results.
You want some control over your dog’s voice, but don’t lose sight of the value of his vocal communications; he may be trying to tell you something important. If you ignore him you might find your horses on the highway, the house burned to the ground, or Timmy in the well.
At DoodyCalls, we spend a lot of time with our dogs. In fact, our dog Rusty—who looks a whole lot like our mascot Doodle—sleeps right next to me at night. Although hard to wake up in the morning, once he’s up he says hello with a good morning kiss and quickly gets ready to go to work.
Why? Because it HURTS. It physically hurts when he barks. Last time he barked was 30 mins ago and my ear is still ringing! Because it’s been tried and didn’t work. I love my dog but my patience has reached its limits. He’s LOUD. Even the vet, after I got him neutered and he had stayed overnight, told me he’s got a good volume compared to most dogs. She looked sorry for me.
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.
“Barking is driven by a whole bunch of things,” says Dr. Kristina Spaulding, a certified applied animal behaviorist from upstate New York, “and while some dogs don’t bark much, they’ll sometimes find other ways to show their emotions or signal that they want something—like pawing at you, jumping, mouthing, stealing things, or finding other ways to get into trouble.”
Some dogs are very excitable and nervous, and they bark at everything that passes. Obedience training can be very helpful. You might want to provide the names of a few well-rated training schools in the area.
Ok, our’s goes nuts when she sees an animal on TV (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone rides by on a bike or skateboard (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts when someone walks by on the sidewalk (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if she sees any animal….ever (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if kids play in their yards (lunging, snarling and barking). She goes nuts if a neighbor mows their lawn (lunging, snarling and barking). I’ve been trying to train her by providing instant, unwavering correction, but she is unable to resist her instincts. She is unable to break her focus without being strongly corrected. Frankly, I’m sick of fighting with her. I’m for the bark collar or a remote controlled training collar.
My min Schnauzer starts barking,yowling and squeaking the moment you bring the lead in to the room. she doesn’t stop for almost the entire walk. She can bark for up to an hour on a walk with no dogs in sight.
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.
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!
Hate to burst your bubble but you cannot determine why a dog barks as they are NOT human and cannot tell you why or more importantly, how I can help him stop. All of my dogs (labs) were trained and raised by me. Now that I decided to take on a Rescue Lab, I am taking on someone else’s horrendous lack of training and a major problem they caused. He barks at everything and goes from 0 to 1,000 and scares the living heck out of everyone. From someone just walking outside to any vehicle he can here drive by. Any type of delivery truck including the mail man he turns into Cujo. He’s 3, was locked in a crate in an unfinished basement for the first 3 years of his life. NO Social skills and is very skittish. I know he’s barking because someone screwed him up from every angle, but one thing is for sure, I can’t ask him why he’s barking and how I can help him stop. I need to continue working on him and a bark collar will be my last resort.
Consult an expert. There are many different types of dog behavior specialists, each with their own unique qualifications. No matter what kind of expert you choose, you should always check the person’s qualifications and look for recommendations or reviews online. If you can’t find an expert online, ask your vet for recommendations on an expert who can help your dog with her unique needs.
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.