Ignore the barking. Attention-seeking or request barking may be the only way your dog knows how to behave. Even after you’ve discontinued your reinforcement of that behavior, it will most likely take a while to break your dog of the habit. In the meantime, it’s best to ignore – rather than punish – this attention-seeking behavior.
Eventually, when real visitors come to your home, you can ask your dog to go to his spot as soon as they knock or ring the doorbell. After letting your guests in, ask them to sit down. Wait about one minute before releasing your dog from his spot to greet them. Put your dog on a leash if you think he might jump on your guests or behave aggressively. After a minute or two of allowing your dog to greet people, ask him to lie down at your feet and stay. Give him something to keep him busy, such as a rawhide or a puzzle toy stuffed with something really tasty, like low-fat cream cheese, spray cheese or low-fat peanut butter, frozen banana and cottage cheese, or canned dog food and kibble. After your dog finishes with the rawhide or the KONG, he’ll probably go to sleep. If you repeat the ritual above for a while, your dog should learn to settle down calmly when guests visit your home.
Don’t use a muzzle or HusherTM as a substitute for training, or while you are absent. Your dog regulates his temperature through the mouth by panting and muzzles prevent your dog from doing this as well as drinking water and eating.
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.
Dogs that are bored have no way to release their energy. You want to be sure that the dog has different ways to let off some steam and have fun. You might think that the dog is getting enough exercise and plays enough but according to the dog, this may be incorrect. Every single dog has his own personality. You want to learn what your dog wants to do. If there is a need to offer more entertainment, you need to take steps to do that.
Ignore barking: (helpful for attention-seeking barking, play barking and frustration barking) attention seeking barkers are looking for some sort of acknowledgement from you when they bark. You can take the power out of your dog’s demanding barking by completely tuning him out when barks at you with an agenda. Turn away, walk out of the room or do anything but look at your dog when he engages in attention-seeking barking. The same goes for frustration barking. If your dog is barking because his ball rolled under the couch and you fetch it for him, you’ve just taught him that being pushy gets him what he wants.
Because every pup is different, not all the techniques listed above work for every pup — most require an investment of time. If you haven’t seen improvement in three to five days using one of the anti-bark techniques, try a different approach.
Block the dog’s view. If the dog barks every time it sees movement, blocking its view of your movements might help. Increase the height of your fence or close off areas where the dog sees movement. If the dog is being set off by your cats or other pets moving in the yard at night, this might be enough to quieten the dog.
PerfectFit harnesses have tiny sizes (for tiny dogs, ferrets, etc.), so if Victoria’s don’t yet come in the size you need, you could have a look on dog-games.co.uk (they also have a list of stockist worldwide on the site should you wish to have one fit in person).
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
Oh my dog can walk fine on a leash, when HE wants to. When we first leave the house I have to literally drag him for half of the time for the first 20 minutes. After that, he’s great. Loves it. If he doesn’t feel like walking, he will not. If I try to wait him out and see if he’ll walk eventually, he’ll just stand there…forever I think. lol
The trick in getting the dog to stop barking is assessing the cause. This practically means that you have to identify why your dog barks in the first place and then see what you can do. We cannot tell you why your dog is barking. You want to try to do your best to identify the problem. If you cannot, it is time to contact a dog trainer as he can easily tell you why the dog barks.
If you prefer not to hold your dog’s muzzle or if doing so seems to scare your dog or make him struggle, you can try a different method. When your dog barks, approach him, calmly say “Quiet,” and then prompt his silence by feeding him a steady stream of tiny, pea-sized treats, such as chicken, hot dogs or bits of cheese. After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days or more of training, your dog will begin to understand what “Quiet” means. You’ll know that he’s catching on if he consistently stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet.” At this point, you can gradually extend the time between the cue, “Quiet,” and your dog’s reward. For example, say “Quiet,” wait 2 seconds, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time from 2 seconds to 5, then 10, then 20, and so on.
She thanks them, and you can do this to stop your dog barking! When she hears them barking outside, she calmly walks outside and says, “Tak”. N.B. This is Danish for “Thank you”; she is not telling them to attack! This might sound like a crazy way to solve barking, but bear with me; it will all make sense very shortly.
A variety of devices are designed to teach dogs to curtail barking. Most often, these are collars that deliver an unpleasant stimulus when your dog barks. The stimulus might be a loud noise, an ultrasonic noise, a spray of citronella mist or a brief electric shock. The collars that deliver noise are ineffective with most dogs. One study found that the citronella collar was at least as effective for eliminating barking as the electronic collar and was viewed more positively by owners. Virtually all dogs become “collar-wise,” meaning that they learn not to bark while wearing their anti-bark collars but revert to barking when they’re not wearing them. Collars that work on a microphone system to pick up the sound of a dog’s bark should not be used in a multidog home because any dog’s bark can activate the collar.
If your dog is rewarded every time he or she chooses to come to you rather than woof, they will start paying much more attention to you than they do to cats or birds, and even if they do start barking at them, they will be much easier to recall.
Does she bark at every movement she sees through the window and every sound she hears? An easy fix for this is to simply block the view. Close the shades. Confine her to a part of the house that doesn’t have windows she can see through or if she stays outside in a fenced-in yard, keep her indoors rather than leaving her outside all day. She won’t bark at what she does not see. Play some music or the television, loud enough to cover outside noises.
Chewing causes the release of happy hormones in dogs, so giving your dog something to chew as you leave the house is a good routine to get into. If your dog tends to bury things or is reluctant to chew, just give a small amount of breakfast, so your dog is hungry enough to want to chew. Use something large such as a pigs ear or Kong® stuffed with treats so it lasts for a while. You can also put dry food into an old plastic drink bottle, and let your pet work to get the food out. For some great ideas for homemade chew toys check out this article on The Bark Post.
Dog trainers often make promises to fix a dog barking problem that in all honesty they should not make. In all my years as a Police Dog Trainer and private dog trainer, fixing dog behaviour issues that occur when the owner is not around are the most difficult. How to stop dog barking in this instance is the toughest of all. Sure, increased exercise, changing routines and leadership structures can all help.
Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog’s life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.
Remove the audience. If she barks and you come running every time, you reward the behavior. Instead, thank her then say, “HUSH.” When she stops, you should praise and give her a treat. If she keeps barking, turn your back and leave the room. Most dogs want company, so leaving tells her she’s doing something wrong. She’ll learn to be quiet if she wants you to stay and give her attention.
Try to distinguish between barking that stems from needing to use the bathroom (which is a valid need to vocalize) and barking over every minor desire, such as wanting to come on the couch or be given more attention.
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)
Barking does not always require a big interrupter, however. You can use everyday objects. If your dog barks near to you, slam the cupboard door or a drawer, so the noise distracts or startles him. Make nothing of this, and carry on as normal. This can work especially well when a dog barks simply to be let out of a crate. You don’t want to scare the dog, just quickly alter his state of mind and change the focus. He should not see you launch the object or make the noise. He has to think that the unwanted barking creates the occurrence. Practice this while you are watching TV, working in the kitchen or whatever you’re doing – the dog should not relate it to you but to the nuisance barking. An important part of this is that if you do drop or throw an object it should not hit the dog, but land at his feet. You should also leave it there for a while so he does not relate it to you. Remember though that you have to be able to understand and translate the different barks. One of his barks may be – I need to go to the bathroom. So learn to understand the tone of the bark or noise he makes.