Talk to your neighbor. Many people jump straight to drastic measures instead of simply talking to the neighbor about their concerns. Unless you’re on bad terms with your neighbor, the best way to solve this problem is usually to just talk to him or her about it. You could casually approach your neighbor next time you see him or her outside, or write a note asking to set up a time to talk.
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Animal Control authorities will usually be responsible for enforcing noise complaints about barking dogs. Your neighbor will most likely get a formal warning, but if the noise continues, they might be issued a citation. Calling the police isn’t always the best move, as officers often have bigger problems to worry about than barking dogs. However, if you suspect abuse or neglect are causing the barking, you should absolutely get authorities involved.
The first two categories are definitely the most common types of dog barking. The first, separation anxiety, obviously occurs when you are not around. The second category may occur when you are home but will also occur when you are not. In most cases the territorial barking probably increases as you are not there to stop it and the dog may become more defensive when you are not there. Obviously to stop dog barking when you are not there is a far more difficult proposition.
Train with head halters. Tools such as Gentle Leader and Halti can work wonders. Pulling on the lead gently presses the pup’s mouth shut for the few seconds of pressure and signals her to be quiet—and you don’t have to say a word. The halters are available from pet products stores and veterinarians.
Teach your dog tricks. Learning and practicing tricks is an excellent way to prevent boredom in dogs and discourage compulsive behavior. Tricks require focus, attention, and retention of lessons, which can occupy your dog both physically and mentally.
Gently closing your dog’s mouth. If you have a dog that will bark and ‘sport’ at people or other animals a head halter, such as a Gentle Leader that enables you to close his mouth and guide him into an acceptable behavior is a big advantage. Introduce the halter so your dog accepts it willingly and, when an unwanted bark happens, lift the leash so the dog’s mouth closes and he is guided into a sit. Now move again and change your direction creating attention to you as you move elsewhere. So, we stop dog barking, we gain attention and we redirect to an acceptable behavior in one simple step.
In Nature, there are plenty of animals living in groups that have “sentinels” – members of the group looking out for potential danger while the others are at rest or playing etc. If the sentinel sees something that could be a problem, it is raise the alarm. In wild canines, the leaders will check out the problem once alerted and act accordingly. The sentinel is never punished for doing its job, just like how I was never hit by Mum for letting her know when someone was at the door.
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.
As you extend the amount of time that you’re out of your dog’s sight or behind closed doors, you should incorporate counterconditioning methods like a puzzle toy to keep her distracted. Try adding this component once you’re behind closed doors or out the back door for at least 10 to 20 seconds at a time.
Before we get into how to eliminate excessive yapping, remember that you don’t want to correct all barking. After all, if someone knocks at your front door when you’re not home, wouldn’t you rather your dog bark to deter a break in?
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You want some control over your dog’s voice, but don’t lose sight of the value of his vocal communications; he be trying to tell you something important. If you ignore him you might find your horses on the highway, the house burned to the ground, or Timmy in the well.
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.
Who among us hasn’t smiled at our dogs howling at the sound of a ﬁre truck siren speeding past? The howl, which sometimes speaks of a dog’s distress, is also a communal conversation. Dogs often howl in groups, and some owners delight in teaching their dogs to howl on cue, by howling – or singing – themselves. “Group howl” is a popular activity of wild dogs, and of many humans around the campﬁre at dog camps. Try it – you and your dog might enjoy it!
Teach your dog that when someone comes to the door or passes by your property, he’s permitted to bark until you say “Quiet.” Allow your dog to bark three to four times. Then say “Quiet.” Avoid shouting. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle closed with your hand and repeat “Quiet.” Release your dog’s muzzle, step away, and call him away from the door or window. Then ask your dog to sit and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes, until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If your dog resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence above. Do the same outside if he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviors.
If your dog barks at people or other dogs during walks, distract him with special treats, like chicken, cheese or hot dogs, before he begins to bark. (Soft, very tasty treats work best.) Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he’s walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to bark.