When your dog sees or hears something in an area your dog considers his/her territory, excessive barking will often be triggered. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive during this type of barking and the barking will often get louder as the threat gets closer. It is good to note that this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory and people.
Dogs often bark when they find themselves excited but thwarted, or frustrated, from getting to something they want. For example, a frustrated dog might bark in his yard because he wants to get out and play with children he hears in the street. A frustrated dog might bark and run the fence line with the dog next door, or bark by the patio door while watching a cat or squirrel frolicking in his yard. Some dogs bark at other dogs on walks because they want to greet and play, or they bark at their caretakers to get them to move faster when preparing to go for walks. The most effective means for discouraging excitement or frustration barking is to teach a frustrated dog to control his impulses through obedience training. You can teach your dog to wait, sit and stay before gaining access to fun activities like walks, playing with other dogs or chasing squirrels. This can be a daunting task, so you may need the assistance of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer to help you. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a CPDT in your area. You can also discourage the presence of cats and other animals in your yard by using motion-activated devices to startle intruders.
Dogs are pack animals and social barking is just part of that fact. Dogs bark in response to other dogs barking, whether around the neighborhood or even on the TV. You will never stop it, but you can control it somewhat. Start by changing your dog’s environment, minimizing sound from the source of the barking. If he can still hear it, try using a radio or TV to drown it out.
Correct dog when they bark by giving them a stern look, making a loud, sharp sound, or physically touching your dog to distract them. Keep correcting if the dog starts barking again and do this consistently and repeatedly until they stop.
Certain dog breeds bark more than others. In fact, some types of dogs were actually bred to be barkers. This may be so they could alert people about dangers, protect homes, or even scare prey out of hiding for hunters. On the flip side, the Basenji does not bark at all (though the breed can vocalize in other ways).
Dog cameras like Petcube Bites let you not only know when your dog is barking, but let you correct it using two-way audio, and distract them using a laser pointer or treats. A pet treat camera can be a great way to stop your dog from barking even when you’re not at home. Some cameras even have “bark alerts” that send you push notifications every time your dog makes noise so that you can address the problem before your neighbors get angry.
Once they understand the concept under less-stimulating circumstances, gradually ask them for silence in more challenging scenarios. Eventually, they will work up to even ignoring the archenemy at the gate.
To extinguish the behavior you must completely ignore it. Walk away, or look away and do not speak or give eye contact. Bear in mind that the behavior will temporarily increase before it improves, and you must be persistent and consistent. Try never to enter the house or yard or let your dog inside while your dog is barking, as this can easily reinforce the behavior too.
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.
When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.
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.
In addition to what is noted in this article, if you’re working with your dog to stop leash-pulling, it would be best to practice in a low-stimulus environment. With less stimuli to distract or entice him, he can pay better attention to you, and learn. Once the dog consistently shows that he can walk without pulling in the low-stimulus setting, you can start again in a slightly more stimulating location… and so on, and so on. 🙂
HI Melissa, I think GSDs take barking to a whole nother level. And they really do need more basic training and more socialization than other dogs. Have you tried cutting visual stimulation in the car? Covered crate? Every seen a Calming cap? Sometime shades like the ones you buy for infants can help to. One thing that worked for my collie was a combo of the game Look at that (you can do a web search) and taking handfuls of kibble and throwing it at the window when he saw a bike or dog coming straight for us. Also having a dog savvy person extra set of hands in the car really helps–so you don’t crash! There is no shame in hiring a great trainer. It sounds like you are on the right path. Best of luck to you both.
Food puzzle toys and hollow rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats are great entertainment for dogs. They give your dog something fun to do while you are gone. Keep a couple on hand so you can leave one for him every day. It’s okay if he gets most of his meals this way. He’s working for his food!
Barking is one of many forms of vocal communication for dogs. People are often pleased that their dog barks, because it alerts them to the approach of people to their home or it tells them there’s something that the dog wants or needs. However, sometimes a dog’s barking can be excessive. Because barking serves a variety of functions, you must identify its cause and your dog’s motivation for barking before you can treat a barking problem
Saying something positive like “Thank you” or “Good dog” starts training the owner to think of barking as a positive thing, which helps the dog to calm down sooner. Remember the Dobermans in the non-burgled house?
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices and are not recommended as a first choice for dealing with a barking problem. This is especially true for barking that’s motivated by fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer for guidance.
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.