The first step towards controlling excessive barking is to understand the specific reasons behind it. Even after you know the why, don’t expect to wave a magic wand and stop your dog from barking. Training your dog to bark less (you will never stop it altogether) is a time-consuming process. Also keep in mind that some breeds are more apt to bark than others and these could prove more difficult to train.
Wait until your dog is engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful tone of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
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.
As pet parents, we already work hard and tire ourselves out every day, it’s a major ask for us to use extra energy just to tire out our dogs, so try to find ways you can make your dog’s existing exercise more strenuous. Here are a few ways you can turn up the volume on everyday physical activities.
This is a common behavior for herding dogs – the cheerleaders and “fun police” of the canine world. As other dogs (or humans) romp and play, the play-barker runs around the edges, barking, sometimes nipping heels.
Similarly, she says, if your dog barks when you pick up the leash to go for a walk, don’t reward him by heading out the door and giving him what he wants. Instead, drop the leash until he settles and stops barking. If he barks as soon as you clip on the leash, drop it and ignore him until he quiets down. It takes patience, but eventually he’ll learn that barking won’t get him what he wants.
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.
In a dog’s mind, even yelling at her to stop is considered attention. If you lose your patience and yell at your dog, she will probably bark for even longer next time, because she will have been conditioned to expect any kind of response (even a negative response).
Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost if your dog’s barking has been going on for longer than it should. Silverman advises interrupting nighttime barking in a way that does not scare, startle or hurt your dog, while still getting the message across. He explains how to turn a nighttime distraction into a training tool. “You want to make sure that you start off with your dog in a place where he starts to notice, or is aware of a distraction, but is not going crazy. You want to find a way to correct the dog just as he barks. Once your dog responds to the correction, you can move a few feet closer the next training session. Over the course of time, you can see that as he understands to not bark and play out that action, you will eventually be next to the distraction that is making him bark.”
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.
If your dog barks all day because he is bored, try leaving him with puzzles or games that take a while to figure out in order to get to the treat. If the dog’s separation anxiety is intense, you may need to call on a trainer or behaviorist for more advice.
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 her 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.
Consider alternative arrangements. If your dog absolutely will not calm down in spite of training, or if your landlord or neighbors have expressed impatience with your dog’s need for training, you may need to consider alternative arrangements.
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.
It is understandable that a dog barking all the time can be annoying and even distressing, but if this happens when you are at home and you know that your dog is barking at something outside, try thanking it instead of what you may have one before. You are letting your dog know that you are aware of the situation and (most importantly) you are calm. This is vital in encouraging a dog to calm down. If you get animated and/or annoyed, the dog feels your adrenalin level rise too. The thing it is barking at must be a problem in that case.
“Demand barking tends to be shorter—a single bark or a few in quick succession. There are more pauses in between, and the dog is usually looking at you or the thing they want. It’s much more controlled,” she says.
When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience treating compulsive behavior, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these behavior experts in your area.
Punishing your pet might temporarily suppress the behaviour but does nothing to change the motivation behind it. So your bored barker might stop woofing when told off, but they might find a different thing to occupy themselves with instead – very likely something you won’t approve of, either!
Best case scenario, the neighbors will be able to put their heads together to come up with a good solution that doesn’t leave anyone feeling ostracized. However, if the dog owner is unreceptive and the barking continues unchecked, you may have to change tacks and get authorities involved.
An idle dog can be a bad thing, and one of the best ways to keep your dog out of trouble is simply to keep them busy. Lots of time barking can be a sign of pent-up energy that has no other way to get out. The good news is there are lots of products to help you do this and even DIYs you can make that will engage your dog’s brain and body. Here are a few ideas you can start with without dropping a dime:
To avoid this situation you need to leave a short or long line (as in the video above with the barking dog) on them so you can take control quickly and calmly when you need it. At the same time your dog still gets to run around.
You may have heard the suggestion that if you put a behavior such as barking on cue and have it under good stimulus control, the dog then won’t bark unless you give him the cue to speak. Here are the four rules of stimulus control:
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.
NILF stands for nothing in life is free and should be a way of life for most dogs and definitely if you are having any issues with your dog. Basically the dog is on a work to earn program and has to do something to get stuff. You should be your dog’s benevolent leader. NILF will help you get there.
“Often, a dog’s bark means he’s bored or frustrated, and he wants us to fix it,” she says. “In situations where you’re not sure what the cause of the barking is, it’s fair to assume your dog would like to interact with you.”
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.
It gives your dog the message that YOU are in charge, not them, and as explained above, it will help them stop worrying about you when you are not around. When you’re ready, you can always call them over to you, on your terms, for love and cuddles.
When your dog sees or hears something in an area your dog considers his/her territory, excessive barking will often be triggered. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive this type of barking and the barking will often get louder as the threat gets closer. It is good to note that this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory and people.
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.
Sometimes dogs bark for darn good reasons. I recall one January morning when I was awoken before the sun. The dogs were going ballistic. I peered out the window to see a young moose sauntering down the street!