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!
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:
The bad news is that if you just can’t get your dog to shut up in the wee hours, you’re probably not the only person who has a problem with it. In a 2,000-person survey conducted on dog barking in New Zealand, 75 percent of the participants indicated that they would be bothered by a dog barking at night. Dog barking and howling ranked highest among all other forms of suburban noise pollution. A New York Times article on the same topic confirmed that a nonstop barking dog is one local disturbance that can pit neighbors against each other.
The first two categories are definitely the most common types of dog barking. The first, separation anxiety, obviously occurs when you are not around. The second category may occur when you are home but will also occur when you are not. In most cases the territorial barking probably increases as you are not there to stop it and the dog may become more defensive when you are not there. Obviously to stop dog barking when you are not there is a far more difficult proposition.
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.
Outside, you might consider putting slats in the chain link fence to cut down on his visual access to the world surrounding his yard (better yet, install a privacy fence) or put up an interior fence to block his access to the more stimulating parts of the yard. Given that alarm barking will inevitably occur, it’s also useful to teach him a positive interrupt – a cue, other than “Shut up!” that you can use stop him in mid-bark. (See “The Positive Interrupt,” to the right of this page.)
Don’t allow problems to go on and on. The longer a dog does something, the more ingrained it becomes. Barking can give dogs an adrenaline rush, which makes the barking pleasant. And allowing a dog to bark in certain situations, such as when the mailman arrives, can eventually make a dog aggressive in those situations. What if your dog gets out one day as the mail is being delivered? Deal with barking problems as quickly as possible.
There are all sorts of devices that claim to stop barking. Most of them are some sort of collar that offer a negative response when a dog barks, such as an electric shock, a spray of citronella or a burst of static electricity. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist before considering one of these devices. If used incorrectly, they can cause more problems. For example, if your dog gets shocked every time he barks at a neighbor, he could associate the pain with the neighbor instead of the barking.
Getting a new dog means that the other dog has someone to play with. The only problem is that you want to be sure that you get the dogs to like each other. You want to talk with your vet or with a trainer and get some help with that. A great idea is to get another dog of the same breed but when this is not possible, you want to make sure that the old dog does not feel threatened. In some situations the owners will start to favor a dog and that can hurt the relationship with the other one. Make sure that you can offer equal love if you decide to get a second dog.
However, that doesn‘t mean the dog never chooses to sit of his own accord. Dogs sit all the time! The above rules apply only during actual training sessions. Having a behavior on cue and under stimulus control does not mean the dog will never choose to do the behavior on his own, or be triggered to offer the behavior by some other stimulus.
Ignore barking: (helpful for attention-seeking barking, play barking and frustration barking) attention seeking barkers are looking for some sort of acknowledgement from you when they bark. You can take the power out of your dog’s demanding barking by completely tuning him out when he barks at you with an agenda. Turn away, walk out of the room or do anything but look at your dog when he engages in attention-seeking barking. The same goes for frustration barking. If your dog is barking because his ball rolled under the couch and you fetch it for him, you’ve just taught him that being pushy gets him what he wants.
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.
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.
If your dog barks a lot when left and you are unable to resolve this by following our tips, you are likely to need help from a qualified dog behaviourist to address the problem. You can find one by contacting your vet, or on the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website.
Hunter has been to training classes when we first got him and was great however became food possessive with the treats and therefore aggressive towards other dogs. We felt this made him and his behaviour worse so after the course completed we never signed up for the second course.
Don’t use a muzzle or HusherTM as a substitute for training, or while you are absent. Your dog regulates his temperature through the mouth by panting and muzzles prevent your dog from doing this as well as drinking water and eating.
More exercise: (helpful for all barkers) nearly every dog can benefit from more exercise, both mental and physical. A dog that has had a good workout will be less likely to be on alert for perceived interlopers or feel the need to pester you for attention. Take the time to wear your dog out every day with a rousing game of fetch or tug and get his brain activated by introducing mind-teasers like “find the toy” and hide-and-seek. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!