Sometimes dogs bark for darn good reasons. I recall one January morning when I was awoken before the sun. The dogs were going ballistic. I peered out the window to see a young moose sauntering down the street!
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 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.
I think I’ll start using “thank you” with our German Shepherd, Thor. He is a big talker and like Ginger, he has different ‘words’ for different things. Whining for ‘I’m lonely’, a higher pitched bark for ‘pay attention to me/play with me’ and his Big Loud Alert/Protection bark.
These collars stop dog barking by delivering a shot of citronella, a short noise, or a small shock near the dog’s face to detract it from making noise. The problem with this solution though is that it doesn’t give any positive reinforcement when the dog is behaving, nor does it address the underlying problem of the dog being bored and having pent-up energy.
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.
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.
Matthijs B.H. Schilder and Joanne A.M. van der Borg studied behavioral effects of electric shock collars and came to the conclusion that shocked dogs showed more stress-related behavior than the control dogs — dogs controlled via human discipline instead of no-bark collars — the shocked dogs connected their handlers with getting shocks, and may even connect orders given by their handlers with getting shocked. What does this mean? Schilder and Borg conclude that, while they have not proven that the long-term welfare of the shocked dogs is affected, it is clearly under serious threat.
Español: lograr que los perros dejen de ladrar, Deutsch: Einem Hund das Bellen abgewöhnen, Русский: добиться, чтобы собака перестала лаять, 中文: 让狗停止吠叫, Nederlands: Een hond leren minder te blaffen, Čeština: Jak utišit štěkající psy, Italiano: Calmare un Cane che Abbaia, Bahasa Indonesia: Menenangkan Anjing Menggonggong, Français: faire taire un chien qui aboie, Português: Acalmar um Cão que não para de Latir, 日本語: 犬の無駄吠えを止めさせる, Tiếng Việt: Dạy Chó Ngừng Sủa, ไทย: ทำให้สุนัขหยุดเห่า, العربية: جعل الكلاب تتوقف عن النباح
In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
Visualize attention-seeking barking and frustration barking like a child having a tantrum; if you give in to the demands you’ll soon be a slave to them. Wait for a moment of quiet, or a calm sit, then give your dog attention or fetch his ball. If you’re consistent, your dog will soon realize that barking doesn’t work to get him what he wants and he’ll abandon the strategy.
Your dog probably has separation anxiety, as you must have noticed by now. When you have time, try training your dog by leaving the house for short periods of time (e.g., 2-4 min) and then gradually increasing the time. Eventually your dog will realize that every time you leave, you will always return.
If you want to find out more about what makes your dog tick, and what to do about any unwanted behaviour you may be experiencing, then The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell (my Mum) is available at your local library, online and in all good bookstores. If you would like more hands-on help, let me know.