First of all we have to identify WHY your dog is barking, because the solution we use is not always going to be the same. After all, you’d never use the same approach to stop a child who was shouting out for help as a child who was screaming at you for more chocolate, now would you?
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 an ”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.”.
The trick in getting the dog to stop barking is assessing the cause. This practically means that you have to identify why your dog barks in the first place and then see what you can do. We cannot tell you why your dog is barking. You want to try to do your best to identify the problem. If you cannot, it is time to contact a dog trainer as he can easily tell you why the dog barks.
The key here is that you must not reward any bad behavior. For example if your dog is barking outside to come inside, don’t let them in (I know it’s tempting and you don’t want to upset the neighbors) but if you reward them with what they want then it will happen again and again. Think of it as a little short term pain for some long term gain!
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.
Create distractions. With some dogs it does require an interrupter or distraction to take their mind off of the stimulus to bark. In other words, there has to be something that breaks the concentration on the barking. In some cases the intensity is too high for a verbal command to cut through the behavior. The interrupter in that case may be another noise, such as using a tool that emits a high frequency sound when the dog barks. This is not a pleasant sound to the dog and interrupts his barking. A beanbag, a piece of chain and even a can with pebbles or coins in it, can provide the interruption too. It works like this – the dog barks and this loud object lands on the floor in front of him. You act as though it came from “Heaven.” Now he thinks every time he barks for no reason or if he continues unnecessarily, something falls from the sky.
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.
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.
The key concept is to keep control at all times. In other words DO NOT LOSE control of your dogs (think of a horse that has bolted from a stable)…a dog who is off leash and does not respond to a is by definition “out of control”.
Many owners can identify why their dog is barking just by hearing the specific bark. For instance, a dog’s bark sounds different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from the yard. If you want to reduce your dog’s barking, it’s crucial to determine why he’s barking. It will take some time to teach your dog to bark less. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect a quick fix or to expect that your dog will stop barking altogether. (Would you expect a person to suddenly stop talking altogether?) Your goal should be to decrease, rather than eliminate, the amount of barking. Bear in mind that some dogs are more prone to barking than others. In addition, some breeds are known as “barkers,” and it can be harder to decrease barking in individuals of these breeds.
Incidentally, while I was at the home of the 30-minute barker, he started to do his thing. I casually called out “Thank you”, and he trotted back into the living room and sat down. This was quickly followed by two thuds as the owners’ jaws hit the floor…