Nancy lives in Portland Maine with her 3 kids, 2 dogs and a revolving door of foster dogs. She owns Gooddogz Training and believes in force free training and having fun with your dogs. Her Mom tells us “Dog” and “horse” were her first words.
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. They may be giving a warning to another animal, sounding an alarm, playing or instigating play, joining in the excitement of the moment, demanding a reaction (even using it as a command), doing it on command, out of fear and the need to drive another animal or object away, and sometimes dogs bark just for the sake of barking. On occasion it can be a combination of any of these. When puppies bark it can be insecurity after leaving the pack.
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.
Sarah has loved and trained both dogs and horses from a very early age. Her Staffordshire bull terrier, Mona, is trained as both a therapy dog and disaster stress relief dog. In addition, Sarah has trained her German Shepherd, Soren, as a service dog.
If your dog is in the garden and barks at passersby, make use of recall and praise your pet for returning to you rather than woofing. If you can’t supervise your dog in the garden, don’t leave them there on their own without something to do which will distract them away from what they want to bark at.
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.
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Why? Because it HURTS. It physically hurts when he barks. Last time he barked was 30 mins ago and my ear is still ringing! Because it’s been tried and didn’t work. I love my dog but my patience has reached its limits. He’s LOUD. Even the vet, after I got him neutered and he had stayed overnight, told me he’s got a good volume compared to most dogs. She looked sorry for me.
A humane alternative to shock collars of yore, the citronella spray bark collar uses a burst of citronella spray to eliminate or reduce excessive barking. Dogs don’t like the taste of citronella, and the “shhh” sound and sensation startles them out of barking.
Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.
I would NOT use one. We had a sport dog no bark collar and we recently found two large holes and missing hair on our dogs neck. She just had surgery and came out with five stitches and on a bunch of medications.
Teach “hush”: (helpful for territorial barkers and alarm barkers, as well as some excitement and play barkers) sometimes we want our dog to bark for a short time to alert us to people at the door, but many of us would like to be able to stop the barking after a few minutes. Teaching your dog the “hush” command can short-circuit a dedicated barker. The next time your dog barks at something, place a treat in your hand, walk up to your dog and put your hand in front of his nose so that he can smell the treat but can’t get to it. He should stop barking to sniff at your hand. Once he’s quiet and sniffing say “hush” and toss the treat a few steps away from him. Repeat the process until you can just say “hush”’ without needing the hand prompt in front of his nose, then give him a treat. In time, you should be able to say “hush” and your dog will abandon the barking and come to you for his reward for being quiet.
Before you can train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when a door opens, you’ll need to teach him how to sit or lie down and then how to stay. After your dog has learned these skills, you can progress to Step 2.
My year and a half old lab barks only when she goes out in the yard. She will sit by the door to ask to go out and a few seconds later she is barking her head off. I then call her back inside so she doesn’t disturb the neighbors. I have trained her to respond to the come command and when she does I give her a little treat. I am worried that now she is barking so I will call her in and give her a treat. But that is the only way I know how to stop her from barking right now. What do you suggest I do instead of the come command with a treat?
If you have a problem barker make an appointment with your veterinarian. Many vets have additional qualifications or a special interest in behavior, so it is worth asking whether one of the vets has a special interest in behavior. Often there are health conditions that could be exacerbating the problem, such as dementia, pain, vision or hearing problems.
I have a cocker spaniel rescue dog which I have had now for over a year – he is red colour and is now 18 months old. Hunter has had issues since we got him in that he growls if you go near his toys, food etc he is clearly resource guarding. However during the time we have had him his behaviour has worsened. He now chasing lorries, vans and buses, he growls for no reason whilst in the home, he has snapped, growled and ‘gone for’ all of us, never actually bitten but I suppose the threat is there.
2. Territorial/Defensive Barking. Barking at the postman or other dogs walking past your house. Most dog owners will experience this type of dog barking and often encourage it to keep intruders from the house.
Remember, animals don’t engage in any behavior unless they get some reward. Believe it or not, they aren’t barking to annoy you. They’re getting a positive stimulus by engaging in the activity. Your job is to identify it, and then give them an even greater reward to be quiet.
Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. Some bark collars emit a noise, some bark collars a blast of air or citronella and some use an electric stimulation between two points on the collar that limit the feeling to that area. They can all work. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter. The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. With any form of bark collar, however, I would recommend you seek expert advice before using one.
Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.
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I love my dogs but I do admit their behaviour problems are extremely frustrating, especially when I myself feel like I can’t work with them one at a time because the other doesn’t like to be left out. I didn’t plan on the third dog (originally was just gonna keep the brothers until they passed on, then start afresh with a ‘clean slate’) but my sister and mum rescued the pup from someone who wasn’t particularly good to him. He came to us really thin and has since filled out nicely, and because I love dogs, rehoming him isn’t an option anymore (though my fears of a pup learning the brothers hiccups were realised as he’s started becoming more vocal x_x).
White noise machine: (helpful for alarm barkers and territorial barkers) the machine’s steady unchanging sound is an easy way to cover incidental noises from outside like delivery trucks or people passing by that might trigger an alarm barker.
Try a new tone. Tone collars emit a loud, short tone at the first “woof.” That’s often enough to make Fluffy stop and search for what caused the tone — it eliminates boredom and the barking, often within minutes. However, the collar must be adjusted properly or can “punish” the wrong dog if a canine friend is barking nearby.
Do not punish your dog for this invaluable commmication! It’s the most benign means he has of letting you know that something bothers him. Take away his growl, and a snap or bite is likely to happen without warning. Rather, when your dog growls in warning, step back to see what’s causing him such discomfort, remove the stressor, and ﬁgure out how to give him a more positive association with the thing that’s causing the growling.
Some dogs are very excitable and nervous, and they bark at everything that passes. Obedience training can be very helpful. You might want to provide the names of a few well-rated training schools in the area.
Looks like no one has posted for a couple years, but I wanted to thank you for the article. I have a 45 pound hound/border collie, and she pulled on the leash and drug me around. I use a harness so she doesn’t choke herself. I got a 16 foot retractable leash and used the reverse method, and say “this way.” Wow, it worked! She’s quite intelligent and eager to learn, as well. Within a half hour she caught on and I noticed her cueing in to me more for direction. Using a retractable leash is really good because it clicks loud enough for her to hear when I push the button, and she stops pulling and looks to me. I even got her walking beside me with no problem. We had the best walk ever and after a half hour we were walking with a loose leash. Most dogs really do want direction and to please their handler. So, thank you again! This was exactly what we needed!
At DoodyCalls, we spend a lot of time with our dogs. In fact, our dog Rusty—who looks a whole lot like our mascot Doodle—sleeps right next to me at night. Although hard to wake up in the morning, once he’s up he says hello with a good morning kiss and quickly gets ready to go to work.
Consider building a fence around your yard to keep your dog safe–or letting your dog out in your backyard instead. You can also approach your neighbor to discuss the two dogs’ behavior and relationship. Your neighbor might be willing to come up with a solution with you, as this also considers his dog’s safety.
Finally, it’s worth it to note that we love our dog, but his barking makes him completely miserable to be around. So now we get to enjoy our dog, and not be in a constant state of apprehension over his truly awful barking.
This is caused by one of two reasons. It could be an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when a dog is on lead or at the other side of the road, which is known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, it could be a “GO AWAY, you are scaring me” situation, also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
My min Schnauzer starts barking,yowling and squeaking the moment you bring the lead in to the room. she doesn’t stop for almost the entire walk. She can bark for up to an hour on a walk with no dogs in sight.