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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.
Another way to get your dog to calm down is to get them focused on training instead of barking. You can teach them the place or come command to redirect them. Dogs have a harder time barking when lying down.
While Dr. Rachel Barrack of Animal Acupuncture explains that there is not always a universal cause for night barking, loneliness remains one of the top triggers she sees in dogs that can’t seem to settle down. Dr. Barrack says, “Dogs are pack animals, so if left alone in another room at night, they may bark to try and get attention. Allowing your dog to sleep in your room should help to eliminate barking due to separation anxiety. If sleeping in your bedroom isn’t an option, maybe you need another dog for a source of companionship.”
Instead of a no-bark collar, why not try training your dog traditionally, using voice and hand commands? This would help with other training issues that your dog might have, such as obeying commands, potty training, and playing well with other dogs at the dog park. Issues such as those are not at all solved by putting a collar on the dog that harms him when he barks. You will find that a lot of the issues you might have had with your dog are solved with the proper training regimen early in life. You can read up on the best new training methods in books or training manuals, enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend, or hire a personal trainer for a few hours per week if you cannot afford training school.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
In fact I was working with one yesterday! (A poor little Golden Doodle who was annoying the neighbors…the owners had tried everything and were just about to strap on an electric shock collar!) Not cool!
Customizing a training solution for your dog’s specific type of bark will make it much easier to stop, and in some cases, prevent the barking from happening. The following tips are a mix of management solutions, which are easier to implement, as well as training suggestions, which require more time and dedication on your part.
This is caused by either an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when your dog is in another room from you; also known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, the dogs is saying, “GO AWAY, you scare me”; also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
If your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, it can go beyond a minor annoyance. A barking dog that doesn’t belong to you can disrupt your sleep, ruin your peace of mind, or become a headache-inducing nuisance. It can even cause your dogs to misbehave as the constant barking becomes a distraction, and you might find that your own pups feel the need to bark back. So how do you get a neighbor’s dog to cut the noise?
This barking occurs when your dog wants something, rather like a nagging child. They’re not happy and they’re letting you know. So it could be that they want to come inside, or be let out of the crate, or be given some food, or they simply want your attention.
The key here is that you must not reward any bad behavior. For example if your dog is barking outside to come inside, don’t let them in (I know it’s tempting and you don’t want to upset the neighbors) but if you reward them with what they want then it will happen again and again. Think of it as a little short term pain for some long term gain!
When you hear yapping, it’s only natural to chastise a dog to stop. But if you’re pet is barking for attention, you’re giving him what he wants, even though the interaction is negative, says trainer Victoria Stillwell of “It’s Me or the Dog.”
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.
Outside: Dogs that bark only outside are usually displaying territory barking, anxiety, frustration, or guarding behavior. They will often bark at the edge of the fence if anyone comes near or because they are bored.
I have heard about these “no-bark” collars before, and as before, I am shocked and appalled by the very idea that anyone would choose to do this to their beloved animals. If you are new to pet ownership and think this would be a good way to train your dog to not bark, do your research. Read books and training manuals, and talk to kennel owners, Humane Society volunteers, and professional trainers, and find out what people who are heavily involved and invested in the welfare of dogs really think about the no-bark collars. Because these collars are no good, and certainly anyone with any sense of how to treat a dog would ever seriously consider using one of these devices.
Use training methods. Teaching your dog the “quiet” command is an excellent training technique. It will be useful for any kind of problem barking, though it may be the only option for certain behavioral problems like territorial alarm barking.
Dogs are social animals who like to live in family groups and it is common for them to become upset when they are left on their own for longer than they feel comfortable with. This is called ‘separation anxiety’ and we have lots of information about this here.
In reference to the leash article above….we react on leash when we see other dogs on our walks. What our 5 y.o BSD male (neutered) does is he turns on me snapping…has bitten me….with a glazed over look in his eyes. We have been dealing with this for a few years and so he wears and accepts a muzzle when we go out…for my safety. He is ok with our 2 y.o. male GSD through lots of careful positive associations in baby steps. However, it breaks my heart to see him so freaked out with strange dogs along our walks. (We walk at odd hours to enjoy our exercise but not have ‘encounters’). Any new suggestions would be appreciated. I had bad luck with 2 separate trainers and refuse to deal with another as the boy suffered for our mistakes. Thank you.
It is understandable that a dog barking all the time can be annoying and even distressing, but if this happens when you are at home and you know that your dog is barking at something outside, try thanking it instead of what you have one before. You are letting your dog know that you are aware of the situation and (most importantly) you are calm. This is vital in encouraging a dog to calm down. If you get animated and/or annoyed, the dog feels your adrenalin level rise too. The thing it is barking at must be a problem in that case.
One reason that it’s so easy to live with dogs is that they’re very expressive. They find a way to let us know their needs. They often do this by barking or whining. Indeed, we find it desirable when they bark to ask to go outside to eliminate or to request that their water bowl be filled. It’s less attractive, however, when your dog barks to demand anything and everything, needed or not! This pattern of barking does not happen by accident. A demanding, noisy dog has been taught to be this way, usually not on purpose! To get your dog to stop, you’ll need to consistently not reward him for barking. Don’t try to figure out exactly why he’s barking. Ignore him instead. Treatment for this kind of barking can be tough because, most of the time, pet parents unwittingly reinforce the behavior—sometimes just with eye contact, touching, scolding or talking to their dogs. To dogs, all of these human behaviors can count as rewarding attention. Try to use crystal-clear body language to tell your dog that his attention-seeking barking is going to fail. For example, when your dog starts to bark for attention, you can stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog or walk out of the room. The instant your dog stops barking, ask him to sit and then give him what he wants, whether that’s attention, play, treats, to go outside or to come in.