*Debarking is very controversial and is considered inhumane by many. It does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure in which the folds of tissue on either side of a dog’s larynx, or voice box, are removed, leaving dogs with a raspy bark instead of a full bark. Complications are common and can be life threatening, including breathing difficulties, higher incidents of choking, and ongoing pain. Dogs also have been known to regain their voices after the surgery. The procedure does not stop the barking, it only makes it sound different.
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If all else fails and your neighbor is making no attempt to curb the barking, it may be time to file a noise complaint. Talk to your other neighbors and see if they are as bothered by the barking as you are. Urge them to file a similar complaint. Look up your local laws, as different areas have different laws that govern dog barking and noise complaints.
For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
Dogs are super sensitive and pick up on our deepest emotions and slightest body movements. If you think of your dog as like your mirror, then you will start to understand that the calmer you are, the more chance your dog will be relaxed.
Let’s look at this from the dog’s point of view. A dog in the home is in its den, and there are often potential threats passing by (anything could be a problem seeing as they are in a world they don’t really understand). Often, dogs will bark at the passing person/dog/bike/car/hot air balloon (this last one comes from personal experience a few years ago in the Netherlands). How many dog owners thanks their dogs for letting them know? What is the usual response to a dog barking? It’s OK, there is no need to tell me; I may not understand Dutch but I can tell if someone is happy or not…
Do your neighbors who get barked at have predictable patterns? The neighbor’s little yippie pup gets let our everyday at 12:20 when the Dad comes home for lunch. This can get my dogs going. You can bet my dogs are not in the yard at that time. No need to have a bark off if you can avoid it. Some dogs would do well to avoid being out and about at certain times. For some dogs that means avoiding before and after work times. Know your hood.
Block scary sounds. Inexperienced pups hear lots of “new” stuff that may inspire barking. When barking arises from fear, the pheromone product Comfort Zone with D.A.P. may help relieve the angst. White noise machines are available to mask sounds, or simply turn the radio to a normal volume and tune it to static.
Tony has been dog training (in association with his mother Jan Fennell) since 1999. The Dog Listener book has been translated into over 25 languages. He has been on radio and television on 4 continents and teaches the Amichien Bonding dog training process all over the world in English and French.
In Nature, there are plenty of animals living in groups that have “sentinels” – members of the group looking out for potential danger while the others are at rest or playing etc. If the sentinel sees something that could be a problem, it is raise the alarm. In wild canines, the leaders will check out the problem once alerted and act accordingly. The sentinel is never punished for doing its job, just like how I was never hit by Mum for letting her know when someone was at the door.
Some medical problems can cause excessive barking, from bee stings to brain disease to ongoing pain. Older pets can develop a form of canine senility that causes excessive It’s always a good idea to have a pet checked by a veterinarian to be sure there’s no medical reason for a problem.
Excessive barking due to separation anxiety occurs only when a dog’s caretaker is gone or when the dog is left alone. You’ll usually see at least one other separation anxiety symptom as well, like pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress. For more information about this problem, please see our article, Separation Anxiety.
Animal Control authorities will usually be responsible for enforcing noise complaints about barking dogs. Your neighbor will most likely get a formal warning, but if the noise continues, they might be issued a citation. Calling the police isn’t always the best move, as officers often have bigger problems to worry about than barking dogs. However, if you suspect abuse or neglect are causing the barking, you should absolutely get authorities involved.
Be consistent so you don’t confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately. You can’t let your dog get away with inappropriate barking some times and not others.
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
For the come command, you can call your dog to you and ask for a down. When your dog is focused on you, they are less likely to bark at something else. You can find instructions on how to train your dog to come here.
Dogs engage in territorial barking to alert others to the presence of visitors or to scare off intruders or both. A dog might bark when he sees or hears people coming to the door, the mail carrier delivering the mail and the maintenance person reading the gas meter. He might also react to the sights and sounds of people and dogs passing by your house or apartment. Some dogs get especially riled up when they’re in the car and see people or dogs pass by. You should be able to judge from your dog’s body posture and behavior whether he’s barking to say “Welcome, come on in!” or “Hey, you’d better hit the road. You’re not welcome at my place!” If you’re dealing with a dog in the first category, follow the treatment outlined in this article for greeting barking (below). If you’re dealing with a dog in the latter category who isn’t friendly to people, you’ll be more successful if you limit your dog’s ability to see or hear passersby and teach him to associate the presence of strangers with good things, such as food and attention.
You may also be surprising the dog when you’re in your yard because you don’t go out there often. If the dog is startled by you, you may want to try spending some more time in the yard. That way, nothing will seem out of the ordinary for the dog when you’re there.