If you listen closely, you will eventually learn the sounds of your dog’s different barks. You may then be able to figure out what each bark means. Understanding the reason why your dog barks is the first step towards controlling the behavior.
Barking in the morning for the purpose of waking up the owners and eliciting them to start their day early is a form of nuisance barking. What increases this form of barking is obviously the act of getting up and attending to the dog by giving it food or attention. To better understand though why a dog continues to bark in the morning despite not getting up and attending to the dog, it helps to understand all the mechanisms that come into play when a behavior is about to extinguish.
What do you do when your pit mix has learned tricks and many other good things, but barks so loud and for so long at people it is beyond ridiculous. I think your advice is great; for some dogs. Others, like ours, are not playful barking. He is intimidating people although I don’t think he would ever bite. His bark is so loud in the house it startles us all the time I am worried he will cause a heart attack in my dad.
What you have to do is make it clear that he will not be able to play with you and that you will not acknowledge him until he stops barking. Use a trigger word and establish it. You want to be calm and simply not acknowledge your dog until he stops barking. Then, offer a treat and start playing with him. If he starts barking again and acting hectic, stop playing and repeat the process. Your dog will then figure out that his excessive barking is the problem and the reason why you are not happy to see him.
Provide door drills. Ringing the bell, knocking on the door, and arrivals or departures excite puppies or sometimes scare shy pups, so associate the location and sounds with good things for the puppy. Stage arrivals at the front door with an accomplice “visitor” loaded up with treats to toss the pup to help her stop seeing visitors as threats.
If you suspect that your dog is a compulsive barker, we recommend that you seek guidance from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience treating compulsive behavior, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these behavior experts in your area.
Pet owners always think it is strange when I recommend teaching their dog to bark on command. This places the behavior under stimulus control and with one more step, you can teach your dog to be ‘quiet’ on command.
Instead, use your positive interrupt to invite your dog to you, and calmly put him in another room or on a tether – then greet your visitors. You may want to tape a note to your door advising guests that you are training your dog and it may take you a moment or two to answer the door, so they don’t give up and go away.
It may help to have your dog wear a head halter at times when he’s likely to bark (for example, on walks or in your house). A halter can have a distracting or calming effect and make your dog less likely to bark. Make sure you reward him for not (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
If your dog barks inappropriately, it is important to start by setting yourself a realistic goal. Planning for your dog to stop barking completely is not realistic – barking is a natural dog behaviour and dogs will bark – more or less, and largely depending on the breed – whether we want it or not. You can reduce the amount of barking, but stopping it will never be possible.
Ironic that I should be writing a how to get your dog to stop barking post when for the first time in my life, and after being a pro dog trainer for close to 20 years, I am living with dogs who love the sound of their own voices. Let’s meet the players, shall we.
After several weeks, you should progress to practicing out-of-sight stays at an exit door. But even then, it’s best to use an alternate door (if possible) than the one you typically use to leave for work. For example, instead of going out the front door or the door to the garage, try going out the back door.
As previously mentioned, there are many reasons why dogs bark. Sometimes it is to warn of danger, but it could also be a sign that something is wrong with your pet. WebMD explains the many reasons for dogs barking:
Boredom: The bark of a bored dog sounds like a dog that barks just to hear her own voice. Though it tends to be annoying, it is also kind of sad. Bored dogs often bark to release excess energy, and sometimes bark out of loneliness. They usually need an activity and perhaps even a companion.
You don’t want to discourage your dog from playing, but play barking can get annoying at times. If you have more than one dog and they bark when playing together, build a set routine of times and places where it is okay. When you are playing with your dog, encourage the use of toy-based games to decrease the amount of barking.