Why am I telling you this? Well, barking has to be the most annoying behaviour problem that is suffered by dog owners and neighbours alike. However, Karina in Copenhagen will be the first to tell you that she is glad that her dogs bark. Of course, it helps that she knows what to do to get them to stop barking so they do not become a neighbourhood nuisance. Here’s what she does… Are you ready?
You can solve this problem through management. If your dog likes to sit on the window sill and bark at everyone passing by, first block access to their vantage point and then offer them an alternative, more appropriate pastime.
Play: If you’ve ever gotten your dog involved in an intense play session, you’ve probably heard them bark at you. Like kids yelling on a playground, dogs bark to communicate their willingness and excitement to play.
When your dog masters going to his spot, start asking him to sit or down when he gets there. As soon as your dog’s rear end hits the floor on the spot, say “Yes!” and reward him with a tasty treat. Then say “Okay,” and allow him to move off the spot. Repeat these steps at least 10 times per training session.
To be successful, try your best to NEVER reward your dog for barking at you again! In some cases, it’s easiest to teach your dog an alternative behavior. For instance, if you don’t want your dog to bark when he needs to go out or come in, get a doggy door installed or teach him to ring a bell hanging on a door by touching it with his nose or paw. If your dog barks to get you to play with him, teach him to bring a toy and sit in front of you. Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid problems by eliminating the things that cause your dog to bark. If your dog barks to ask you to retrieve his toys from under the sofa, block the space so that the toys don’t get stuck beyond his reach. If your dog barks at you when you’re talking on the telephone or working on the computer, give him a tasty chew bone to occupy him before he starts to bark.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.
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.”
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.
In the photo above, Beck is about to bark. He barked to get Finney to chase him. Right after this photo was snapped, I intervened and stopped Finney from barking. Beck is an action guy and he then barked to get Finn going again. In this instance, I called them to me and gave them both a minute to chillax and regroup.
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.
Don’t use inconsistent rules. If you yell at him for barking at some sights or sounds, such as the kids leaving for school, and encourage him to bark at others, like the salesman at the door, he will be hard-put to distinguish between the two events. The result will be a still-constantly barking dog.
Puleeeze – I’ve been doing the “we’re stopping and we’re not moving until the leash is loose” crap for MONTHS with my 10 month old and he STILL immediately lunges to the end of the lead and pulls the instant I start moving again. When it’s tight and I stop he turns to look at me, excitedly, and loosen sometimes, but the instant I move he’s jerking me along again. Apparently the consequence of not moving isn’t severe enough, so I’m moving up to a choke chain because I’m tired of his crap. I’ve had 2 MRIs and a trip to the ER because of injuries caused when he’s seen a cat (I have to walk two puppies at the same time at least once a day – at least she’s smaller and more easily reigned in).
There’s a lot of talk these days about the fact that dogs are primarily body language communicators. It’s true, they are. But as anyone who’s spent time with them knows, dogs also have a pretty well-developed ability to express themselves vocally. Dogs bark. Some bark more, some bark less, and a few don’t bark at all, but most dogs bark at least some of the time.
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.
What if your dog completely ignores you when you try to redirect them with a command? With some dogs, you can utilize a strange noise to help them refocus on you. Make sure the noise isn’t your voice, but an outside source.
Crate training your puppy. A puppy barking in his crate may stop if covered with a cloth sheet so he is not stimulated to bark by what he sees. With a cover over it, the crate also feels more like a den and hence more secure. Some puppies will stop barking if allowed to sleep in their crate next to the owners’ bed, or with a belonging that smells of the owner or their siblings. When your puppy is in the crate do get to know the sounds he makes and unless it is an emergency for the bathroom do not go and open the crate or let the puppy out when the puppy barks. If you do he will learn to bark demanding to be let out and in this way tell you what to do. Sometimes a squirt bottle of water can be used to direct a spray at a puppy that barks in the crate but I have seen dogs that enjoy this too and make a game out of it. Plus, it can make quite a mess.
With the static shock dog collar the mechanism that sits against the dog’s throat sends out a static shock that travels down two metal prongs that touch your dog’s neck. The static shock in some of these collars begins with a rather small shock which increases in intensity up through a variety of levels as your dog continues his or her nuisance barking. You can personally test the static shock bark collar on your hand prior to using it on your dog if you are worried about the intensity of the shock your dog will receive.
Grumbles and growls can have several meanings. Some dogs grumble and growl in enjoyment at a butt-scratch or body massage. More often, a growl is an important warning – “I don’t like you (or whatever you’re doing); please stop!” (See “Understand Why Your Dog Growls,” October 2005.)
Give your dog more exercise and mental activities to let them have an outlet for their energy. Take them on an uphill walk or a hike instead of the normal daily walk. Train your dog in herding or agility activities for mental stimulation.
When your dog barks at people passing by or at the door, you will allow a limited number of barks, three or four, before giving the command “quiet.” Call your dog to you or go to him and gently hold his muzzle. Repeat the command “quiet” in a calm definitive voice. Release his muzzle and call him to you and ask him to “sit.” Praise and give him a treat if he complies. If he doesn’t, repeat the steps. Continue to give him praise and treats until the people are have passed by completely or come inside your home. Use these same steps when he barks at people from the yard.
Your dog probably has separation anxiety, as you must have noticed by now. When you have time, try training your dog by leaving the house for short periods of time (e.g., 2-4 min) then gradually increasing the time. Eventually your dog will realize that every time you leave, you will always return.
“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.”