Barking is one of many forms of vocal communication for dogs. People are often pleased that their dog barks, because it alerts them to the approach of people to their home or it tells them there’s something that the dog wants or needs. However, sometimes a dog’s barking can be excessive. Because barking serves a variety of functions, you must identify its cause and your dog’s motivation for barking before you can treat a barking problem
Stress-reducing collar – This is similar to the diffusers discussed earlier. Stress-reducing collars are loaded with soothing pheromones that will help stressed dogs calm down and reduce anxious barking.
Once your dog barks, get their attention on you. Once they stop barking to look at you, say your command. It can be “Quiet,” “Enough” or “No Bark.” The phrase doesn’t really matter as long as you are using it consistently.
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.
Your dog will bark when he wants something, be it food, water, or your attention. When learning how to get a dog to stop barking, it’s important to ensure that you’ve met all of his needs before moving forward with treatment.
I notice that the halti or other head collars were not mentioned. I have a breed that is just made to pull and I have finally found a head collar that works for us although I would love to modify the part that goes over the nose. (I actually have purchased two of similar design and a mix of the two would be ideal) The person who makes the one I am using is a bit of an um, interesting character on the fb page and on the web but thus far the apparatus works really well for control. I really don’t want my dog at heel for the whole walk, but as the article says, the dog’s idea of walking right along and mine are pretty different, particularly as I am now more disabled and use a cane. We used to walk one to two miles a day, but that has become impossible so we are mixing a play date with a friend and shorter walks a couple of times a week. What the walk has always been for us is a time to practice those things his fluffy brain would like to forget!!
Dogs barking excessively when left alone might not just be lonely or bored but suffer from separation anxiety. They often times exhibit other symptoms such as pacing, destructiveness, depression and might even defecate in places they know they are not allowed to.
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!
Your pup’s constant barking may just be an annoyance to you; but if it starts to encroach on other people’s sanity, you may have some fines to pay for your dog’s gift of gab. This is why it’s critical for both pup and pocketbook that you learn how to find your dog’s vocal off switch.
It is vital that you determine why your dog barks in the first place, and if barking mostly occurs when your dog is left alone, a behaviour consultation with a qualified pet behaviour counsellor will likely be necessary to address this problem. Similarly, if your dog barks at people or dogs when out and about, or at visitors coming to the home, a simple tip is unlikely make a difference and a comprehensive assessment will be needed to help improve your dog’s behaviour.
I mentioned the importance of your relationship and confidence not only in your own ability to handle situations but also your dog’s confidence in you. This comes through dog exercise, dog training, spending time together, setting limits and boundaries and showing appreciation for behaviors that are pleasing. Controlled walks, games such as retrieving, and learning to be patient by simply sitting or laying down by your side or relaxing in his crate will a companion that sees no need to bark without a good reason. In this way you build a foundation of trust and confidence that lets your dog know when he can and should bark and also when he can be quiet.
Separation distress: dogs that don’t like to be alone engage in this pitiful bark. It is not the same bark made by dogs going through true separation anxiety, as distress is a milder and more manageable form of canine discomfort than true separation anxiety.
There are all sorts of devices that claim to stop barking. Most of them are some sort of collar that offer a negative response when a dog barks, such as an electric shock, a spray of citronella or a burst of static electricity. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist before considering one of these devices. If used incorrectly, they can cause more problems. For example, if your dog gets shocked every time he barks at a neighbor, he could associate the pain with the neighbor instead of the barking.
Be consistent so you don’t confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately. You can’t let your dog get away with inappropriate barking some times and not others.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he’s no longer forced to bark for attention. Regularly seek your dog out to give him attention—sweet praise, petting and an occasional treat—when he’s not barking.
Take a moment to think about how you react when your dog barks to get your attention. Do you raise your voice, shout, or tell them off for it? If so, stop. When you meet your dog’s barking with noise and attention, you are rewarding your dog by giving them the attention they are asking for.
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One tool that may help with this training is a head halter. It looks somewhat like a combination collar/muzzle, but it allows the dog to breath and drink. Used with supervision (never leave it on the dog when he is alone), it may have a controlling and calming effect on your walks and at home, reducing the likelihood of barking. A head halter does not replace training, rewards and praise, but is a tool to help you in your counter-bark training.
Some studies suggest that the electric current from the shock collars for dogs results in aggression, stress or persistent anxiety. How severe the effects of the no-bark dog collar actually are depend on the trainer and the environment in which the collar is used.
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.
Some people don’t recognize that petting a dog in the middle of barking, in the dog’s mind, is rewarding their behavior. You may think that you’re calming them down, but you’re really reinforcing that response. Remember, don’t reward what you don’t want repeated.
Wait until your dog is engaged in a low-value activity – wandering around the room, sniffing something mildly interesting – then say your interrupt phrase in the same cheerful tone of voice. You should see an immediate interrupt in his low-value activity, as he dashes to you for his chicken. If he doesn’t, return to Step 1.
did you try putting a leash on him when he refused? carrying him seems pointless to me. also, you could try enticing him with a treat or just get into a routine/bedtime ritual so that he knows a favorite special treat is waiting for him up stairs. He is male, is he neutered? If not it may be time to do that too. His male dominance may be kicking in hormonally and he is challenging you. And yes, we have to be smarter than them, and consistently more alpha (though I hate that term) I mean just be consistent and insistent that it is bed time. The out smarting part comes in with the positive reinforcement ritual at bedtime. Could it be that he needed another visit outside to potty?
Especially with the larger breeds, there is this necessity to be active at all times. If there is not much space available indoors, the dog will become frustrated. The same thing happens when he is not allowed to play. What you want to do is create an area where the dog can play. This is where you put all his favorite toys and you let him do whatever he wants.
You can use the positive interrupt to redirect a frenzy of frustration barking. If you consistently offer high value treats in the presence of frustration-causing stimuli, you can counter-condition your dog to look to you for treats when the cat strolls by (cat = yummy treats) rather than erupt into a barking fit.
I am working on the follow up article to this one and apologize for not having it last week…I was really sick! You need to introduce all the things that flip your dog out at very low stimulation levels with very high levels of reinforcement. My Collie has issues with things on wheels to, and to be honest, while we have overcome the vacuum cleaner, bikes, and skateboards, the lawn mover is so evil, i gave up and just keep him in the house. Genetics are strong with some dogs! Basically your goal is t the give the dog a different job. Look at you, down, anything other than go forward and back at it. I hope you find some tips in this week’s article.-Nancy
This behavior is more likely to annoy you than your neighbors, but it’s annoying nonetheless. A demand barker has learned that he can get what he wants – usually attention or treats – by telling you. It often starts as a gentle, adorable little grumble, and can quickly turn into insistent, loud barks – your dog’s way of saying, “I want it, NOW!”
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
If your dog barks all day because he is bored, try leaving him with puzzles or games that take a while to figure out in order to get to the treat. If the dog’s separation anxiety is intense, you may need to call on a trainer or behaviorist for more advice.
A humane alternative to shock collars of yore, the citronella spray bark collar uses a burst of citronella spray to eliminate or reduce excessive barking. Dogs don’t like the taste of citronella, and the “shhh” sound and sensation startles them out of barking.
Discontinue reinforcement. Also called “attention-seeking barking,” request barking is a common problem for dog owners. The first step to breaking a dog’s request barking is to stop giving your dog what she wants whenever she barks. This will, of course, take some time to train out of your dog, especially if she has been “rewarded” for her barking over many years.