When your dog sees or hears something in an area your dog considers his/her territory, excessive barking will often be triggered. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive during this type of barking and the barking will often get louder as the threat gets closer. It is good to note that this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory and people.
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices and are not recommended as a first choice for dealing with a barking problem. This is especially true for barking that’s motivated by fear, anxiety or compulsion. Before using an anti-bark collar, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer for guidance.
I would suggest speaking to a professional, who can come to your home to see and assess the behavior, otherwise there’s too much guesswork involved. And it will likely require some specialist knowledge and training to correct.
In situations such as when the postman or visitors come to the door or a phone rings and your dog becomes very vocal, teaching them to perform a behaviour that simply takes your dog’s mind off barking should do the trick.
With technological advances, it is now possible tech out your house to make you and your dog’s life easier when it comes to excessive barking. While many choose to use anti-bark dog collars, there are also less stressful options that may work just as well. So if you’re having a hard time learning how to get a dog to stop barking, maybe some of these gadgets will help:
Recognize separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can take various forms in a dog, but the most common signs of separation anxiety are destroying the house/apartment and barking incessantly. These behaviors are typically only engaged in when the dog’s owner is at work or otherwise out of the house, and if the dog is not destructive, some owners may not even be aware that their dogs have separation anxiety. Common signs of separation anxiety to look out for include:
If you are not sure what your dog is barking at or if he seems to be barking at everything, keep a bark diary. You may start to see a pattern, for example he barks at 3pm when kids are getting out of school. It might be useful to ask your neighbours to do this also, so you know when he is barking when you are not home. Your neighbours also then know you are attempting to resolve the problem.
If your dog barks when you leave the house (which can be a sign of separation anxiety), set up a safe and quiet place for them away from the front door. This may be a back bedroom, laundry room, or spare space.
Behaviorists may have a number of different types of titles, but essentially any kind of behaviorist must have earned a master’s degree or a PhD in animal behavior. Typically a behaviorist with a doctoral degree will be called a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), while a behaviorist with a master’s degree will be called an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).
Provide door drills. Ringing the bell, knocking on the door, and arrivals or departures excite puppies or sometimes scare shy pups, so associate the location and sounds with good things for the puppy. Stage arrivals at the front door with an accomplice “visitor” loaded up with treats to toss the pup to help her stop seeing visitors as threats.