If your dog is bored, getting a companion may help. Consider fostering through a rescue organisation. That way you are not necessarily committing, in case you end up with two problem barkers! You could also arrange a play-date with a friends dog, or think about booking your dog into doggy day-care.
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.
If you feel you do not have the time or the money to train your dog, I urge you for your own sake and the sake of others around you to really consider whether a dog is right for you at this point in your life. Owning a dog in many ways is similar to having a child, as you are responsible for the dog’s welfare and are there to be the dog’s companion as well as his provider. This is not a light responsibility, and lasts for rest of your pet’s life.
Before starting her full-time writing business, Sarah worked with a top pet food company as a consultant to veterinarians conducting weekly classes on canine and feline nutrition for the doctors and staff.
If your dog is 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.
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.
For instance, if every time the neighborhood kid comes to shoot hoops in front of your house, your dog barks at them, try teaching them that every time the kid comes to shoot hoops in front of house it means treats at their mat for chilling out. Can you think of other alternatives that you could train at your house?
Punishing your pet might temporarily suppress the behaviour but does nothing to change the motivation behind it. So your bored barker might stop woofing when told off, but they might find a different thing to occupy themselves with instead – very likely something you won’t approve of, either!
It’s a lose-lose situation no matter which side of the fence you’re on. Whether it’s your dog that’s barking or your neighbor’s pooch that won’t stop flapping his jowls, nobody’s happy … including the dog.
When your dog masters going to his spot, start asking him to sit or down when he gets there. As soon as your dog’s rear end hits the floor on the spot, say “Yes!” and reward him with a tasty treat. Then say “Okay,” and allow him to move off the spot. Repeat these steps at least 10 times per training session.
If your dog likes to play fetching games, try teaching them to retrieve a toy or other item when the situation occurs that sets them off. Asking them to “go to bed” is also something you could try as this removes them from the area that the trigger is coming from and asks them to concentrate on a neutral task that they are already familiar with.
If the dog carries on barking, then go to where it is and look to see what the problem is. Do not pay attention to your dog at this point just in case it is doing it to try to get your attention on its terms (Simon Says is a game that dogs are VERY good at). Instead, show your dog that you are investigating the problem. Whether anything is there or not is not important. The main thing is that your dog sees you assessing the situation as the responsible one in the family. Give another “Thank you” and either take the dog away or just leave. Your dog sees that you have had a look and you do not think it is a problem. If your dog still continues after that, then quietly put your dog somewhere on its own until it is quiet. Your attitude is one of “Calm down”. Once you get silence, you can let your dog out again. If it goes back, repeat the process. If this happens three times then leave the dog in Time Out to show it that it really needs to chill out. This helps your pulse rate to stay low which will always have a good effect on your dog. The best leaders remain calm in a crisis.
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 you have a backyard area, even if it is not fenced in, you can create the play area. This is actually recommended. Whenever the dog is bored and starts barking uncontrollably, all you have to do is let him play.
First, get your dog excited by ringing the doorbell, knocking on a wall or whatever you know will start him barking. Say your command word, such as ‘speak’ and pair it with a treat. When your dog is consistently barking when you say ‘speak’, you can then say ‘quiet’ and give a treat. Your dog will have to stop barking to get the treat.
Several variations of no-bark collars exist on the market, most of which have multiple levels of stimulation based on how quickly the dog learns. In other words, if the dog doesn’t stop, the collar will continue to provide increasing levels of shock until the dog learns. These are engaged in a manner which allows the dog to learn and recover, but the question we must ask ourselves is: How safe are these no-bark collars? Even if there’s no evidence of physical damage, are our dogs suffering unnecessary stress and anxiety through their use?
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.
Citronella collars deliver a small, short blast of citronella every time the dog barks. These types of collars have been shown to be at least as effective as electronic collars, and do not risk causing any pain or real discomfort to the dog.
Once he stops barking, call him to you, praise him, and fulfill his request, as long as it’s reasonable. However, if he is barking for food, do not reward him with food, treats, chews etc. This will simply reinforce begging and instead of barking, he will switch to pawing at you or some other attention getting behavior.
“Often, a dog’s bark means he’s bored or frustrated, and he wants us to fix it,” she says. “In situations where you’re not sure what the cause of the barking is, it’s fair to assume your dog would like to interact with you.”
If your dog is barking, do not yell at her, or pet her, or give her what she wants. Do not even look at her. The best strategy is to distract yourself, like reading a book or newspaper, until your dog calms down or tires herself out.
Watch out for extinction bursts and behavior chains. When you’re trying to make a behavior go away by ignoring it, your dog may increase the intensity of his behavior – “I WANT IT NOW!” This is an extinction burst. If you succumb, thinking it’s not working, you reinforce the more intense behavior, and your dog is likely to get more intense, sooner, the next time. If you stick it out and wait for the barking to stop, you’re well on your way to making it go away. You have to be more persistent – and consistent – than your dog.
“In this case, it is best to ignore the barking, wait for five seconds of quiet and then reward him with attention,” Stillwell tells The Bark. “This way, the dog learns that he gets nothing from you when he barks but gets everything when he’s quiet.”