You’ve probably never had a dog that has a penchant for barking. It is indescribably miserable, and it makes everyone around the dog miserable. We tried everything at first. Our dog is a terrier. He wants to chase and bark at every dog, squirrel, cat, or shadow that walks by our house. He sits in the window. Waits by the glass door. Goes outside and barks and chases. It’s clearly in his DNA. I can’t cover up every window or door in my house. He would be super miserable if we did.
Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Barking is a normal canine communication, but inappropriate barking – too much or too often – is probably one of the most commonly reported problems owners have with their dogs. It can be annoying and can lead to unhappy situations with neighbours, particularly if your dog barks a lot.
So what is treatment plan? Eventually, your dog will have some pauses in between barking. These pauses must be used to your advantage. Only get up when there is quiet. If you are getting up and the barking resumes, walk back to your bedroom. Make sure your dog takes notice of this. She has to hear that her barking is what causes you to not open her door. Quiet brings you closer to opening her room, while barking gets you distant. Being smart, and looking for rewards, dogs eventually learn that quiet becomes reinforcing and it will eventually replace barking which should gradually extinguish.
The key thing is to realise that your dog or puppy’s barking has got NOTHING to do with boredom! This means that trying to keep your dog occupied by leaving bones down and loads of chews and toys stuffed with peanut butter are unlikely to work. In fact it can make things much worse, so pick up the food.
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
Don’t encourage your dog to bark at strangers or people walking by the door. Asking your dog “who’s that?” in a querying tone will excite their curiosity. Looking out the window or door will encourage him to do the same, and once there, he will bark.
Give her more exercise. Exercise is a great way to curb problem behavior, including excessive barking. Whether your dog is anxious, territorial, or simply bored, getting a good workout will probably help reduce the frequency and intensity of her problem barking.
If your dog barks at things he sees out the window or front door, block the view. Close the blinds or curtains on the windows. If he can see out windows near the front door, Aga suggests covering them with darkening film you can buy from an auto parts store or even temporarily taping up some bubble wrap to block the view. If possible, confine the dog in a part of the house that doesn’t have windows or doors.