Learning how to stop a dog from barking doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Sure, it’s a challenge to stop dog barking, but most importantly, through all of these techniques, you have to remember that just as there are some great ways to treat dog barking, there are definite ways NOT to treat it. Because frustration and boredom are often at the heart of incessant barking, scolding your dog won’t do anything. Agitation won’t be fixed with more agitation, so try to speak to your dog in a soothing voice and don’t let your anger over the situation get the best of you.
When your dog can consistently stay in a sit or a down on his spot for 30 seconds, while you turn away and walk to your front door, you can start to introduce some distractions. Tell your dog to stay, and then do something distracting. At first make your distractions mild. For example, start by bending down or doing a single jumping jack. Over many sessions of training, gradually intensify your distractions to things like running a few steps or tossing a treat on the floor. Reward your dog quickly after each distraction for holding the stay. If he breaks the stay, quickly say “Uh-uh,” ask him to sit or lie down on his spot, and try again. When your dog can stay while you do all sorts of distracting things, ask him to stay while you go to the front door of your home and pretend to greet someone there. Your goal is for him to learn to stay the entire time you’re at the door.
Here’s an important distinction to remember as a softhearted animal lover: Attention seeking is different from loneliness in dogs, says Ganahl. She explains, “Many dogs bark for attention, whether they want petting, the food you are eating or something else. It is important that you completely ignore your dog if you feel they are barking for attention, otherwise the barking will continue. If you tell your dog ‘quiet,’ ‘shush’ or any other vocalization to tell them to stop, that is considered attention to your dog.”
When we adopted Rusty, he had a terrible case of intestinal worms and joining a new family must have been pretty stressful for him. It took some time, but he recovered from the worms and after he grew used to his new home, he stopped his poop eating escapades.
Most dogs out there cannot simply stay and do nothing. They need to solve puzzles, learn new things and have their minds challenged. So many games exist for this and you can find them with a simple Google Search. You want to be sure that the dog gets the attention he needs. If you cannot offer that attention, you want to arrange someone stepping in so that the dog receives the attention. You can even hire a dog sitter if this is something that will keep the mind of the dog active.
Leave distractions for your dog. In addition to exercise, leaving distractions around the house is a great way to inhibit problem behaviors like boredom barking. You can use a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter, or simply toss a handful of treats in various places around the room. You can also leave a radio or television on for the dog so the sound will distract her.
Apply the quiet command. Once your dog has learned the quiet command in training sessions, you’ll need to apply the quiet command to real-world scenarios. You can do this by having a friend slam a car door in front of your house, rattle your mailbox, or approach your front door.
Curb barks with scent. Researchers at Cornell University in New York found citronella collars to be much more effective in bark training. Citronella collars give a warning tone first; additional barking prompts a squirt of scent that stops the barking. Some of these collars have remote control activators.
Give your puppy a “bark limit.” Maybe he’s allowed to bark three times or five times — until you acknowledge his warning so he knows you can take over for him. After the designated number of barks, praise your puppy — “GOOD bark, GOOD dog, now HUSH,” and give him a treat as you praise. It’s hard for dogs to bark while chewing so this actually serves a dual purpose.
Boredom: Do you ever sing or talk to yourself when you’re bored? Your dog may do the same thing. The we often see the boredom bark is when dogs are left outside for long periods of time. We all know that dogs are pack animals and want to be near you. When they are left alone, they often occupy their time by barking.
Try counterconditioning your dog. Counterconditioning is a common treatment method for dogs that typically involves training the dog to associate something fearful with a reward. In the case of separation anxiety, instead of fearing someone or something, the dog fears being left alone. To counter condition separation anxiety, you’ll need to train your dog to associate being left alone with something the dog enjoys (like treats).
Dogs kept outside commonly bark from boredom; this is especially true for energetic breeds like German Shepherds, terriers (including Pit Bulls), and guard dogs like Dobermans and Rottweilers. Suggest that the dog needs more exercise.