But first the good news. If your dog continues to keep you up at night, even after you have tried every humane method to calm it down, you’re far from alone. As the owner of two Chihuahuas, the notoriously “yappy” dogs, I have been woken up many a night from a deep and restful sleep for no good reason at all. In fact, Chihuahuas were named by the Houston Chronicle as one of the loudest dog breeds — along with breeds like beagles, huskies, dachshunds, terriers and basset hounds.
With all of these different forms of barking there are a variety of approaches we can take to ensure the barking is for the right reason and we can prevent dog barking when the reason is no longer there. Much of this will come from the confidence the owner shows to his dog in being able to handle different situations. To gain this confidence the owner has to get to know his dog and the situations that create the barking. With this understanding, an owner can demonstrate calm, confident leadership and take control in the right way. The dog responds because he can trust the leader has taken charge. From the very beginning of our dog/owner partnership, we should be building a foundation that allows such trust and confidence. Remember that dog barking is one way the dog communicates to us, so we do not wish to prevent dog barking but we do wish to control barking as required. Learning to read your dog’s signals and means of communicating is incredibly important to your overall relationship.
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.
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.
For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
Making sure your dog gets exercise is always a great start. “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration,” the Humane Society of the United States suggests.
Respected trainer and president of Legacy Canine Behavior & Training Inc, Terry Ryan, explains in her book ”The Toolbox for Building A Great Family Dog” Once you recognize what the rewards are (in your case getting up and feeding) and take them away, the behavior will likely increase immediately. This is known as ”extinction burst”. In plain words, Gus will get worst before he gets better. It might be frustrating, but take it as a good sign. It’s working! You’ve got his number! Stay the course and the behavior will drop off over time.”.
Alarm barking does not always require a visual confirmation of the perceived intruder. Some dogs may engage in alarm barking simply from hearing a car door outside or hearing voices on the sidewalk.
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.
But in most cases, you can’t just tell a dog to hush. Trainers and dog behaviorists say that working with barking dogs is one of their most common requests. If your dog has a vocal problem, here are some tips that might help.
You can also prevent undesirable behavior by reducing the chances of those situations arising. For example, if your dog barks for your help whenever her ball rolls underneath the couch, try putting something under the couch to block her toys from rolling under there.
Here’s an important distinction to remember as a softhearted animal lover: Attention seeking is different from loneliness in dogs, says Ganahl. She explains, “Many dogs bark for attention, whether they want petting, the food you are eating or something else. It is important that you completely ignore your dog if you feel they are barking for attention, otherwise the barking will continue. If you tell your dog ‘quiet,’ ‘shush’ or any other vocalization to tell them to stop, that is considered attention to your dog.”
Block the dog’s view. If the dog barks every time it sees movement, blocking its view of your movements might help. Increase the height of your fence or close off areas where the dog sees movement. If the dog is being set off by your cats or other pets moving in the yard at night, this might be enough to quieten the dog.
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
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.
There are a number of different collars available to stop barking. The most humane is the Husher®, which is a soft elastic loosely fitting muzzle, that stops your dog from opening his mouth to bark, but will allow him to pant, eat and drink. It can be left on while your dog is alone, and can be used as a training aid. If you hear your dog barking, say ‘hush’ and show him the Husher® and if he does not stop, put the Husher® on.
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.
Be very stern with your dog and jerk it away. Keep doors or curtains closed around the time the enemy dog walks by. Consider talking to the enemy dog’s owner to see if they can change their walking route.
Dogs are pack animals and social barking is just part of that fact. Dogs bark in response to other dogs barking, whether around the neighborhood or even on the TV. You will never stop it, but you can control it somewhat. Start by changing your dog’s environment, minimizing sound from the source of the barking. If he can still hear it, try using a radio or TV to drown it out.
past bad words, and let her know you’d like to help with her dog’s barking, if you can. Even short of doing actual behavior modiﬁcation, offers to let her dog play with yours (if they’re compatible) or taking her dog for walks (if you can safely manage the dog) may enrich the dog’s environment and provide enough exercise to reduce or eliminate the barking.
Sue the dog owner in small claims court. Even after getting the authorities involved, some stubborn dog owners won’t comply with requests to quiet the dog. If nothing else works, you can sue for nuisance in small claims court. The goal will be to make a case that the dog’s barking is preventing you from enjoying your own home. If you win, the dog owner will have to pay a small sum of money. Prepare to sue by doing the following:
Sounds like the dog has separation anxiety and barks when you leave him alone. If you don’t have a lot of time to train your dog, consider putting him in a professional training program and/or a doggie daycare program.
If your dog likes toys, keep a favorite toy near the front door and encourage him to pick up the toy before he greets you or guests. If he learns to hold a toy in his mouth, he’ll be less inclined to bark. (He’ll probably still whine, however).
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
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.
Once you discover the true reason for the behavior, you can begin to learn how to get a dog to stop barking. The method that you use to stop the behavior will vary depend on the reason why your dog is making the nuisance noise in the first place. Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything you need to know about learning how to get a dog to stop barking in this article.
No matter why your dog is barking, some general training will help keep his mind occupied and wear him out. A tired dog is a happy dog. Regular walks in the morning can help, even just a 15 minute walk around the block is better than nothing. Two walks a day would be perfect. If you work long hours, consider a dog walker, doggy daycare, a play-date with a friend’s dog or asking a someone to visit in the middle of the day.
Dog poop eating is GROSS, but not necessarily detrimental to your dog’s health, and it can generally be stopped. Sometimes Coprophagia (when your dog eats his poop), can be an indication of more serious problems though, and you should have your pal checked out by a vet.
Your dog needs to understand when to bark and when to be quiet, and it’s your job to teach this to her. Start working on problem barking as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to curb the behavior.
Try ignoring the barking and waiting till your dog stops. If simply waiting silently doesn’t work, calmly ask them to “sit” or “lie down”. Once they are calm and have stopped barking, praise them with lots of fuss or a treat.
In the yard, use privacy fencing to cut off views to neighboring yards or the street. Commercial grade privacy screening installs over your existing fence and may be allowed in your rental unit. If you own your home and seek a long-term, attractive option, consider planting privacy hedges to both beautify and bark-proof the yard.
Teach your dog tricks. Learning and practicing tricks is an excellent way to prevent boredom in dogs and discourage compulsive behavior. Tricks require focus, attention, and retention of lessons, which can occupy your dog both physically and mentally.
If your dog has trouble getting the message, you can also put a Kong filled with peanut butter in the crate so they have something to do besides bark. After they are quietly licking out the peanut butter, you can then let them out and praise them.