The goal is to get your dog used to whatever it is that’s causing the barking. For example, if your dog barks at people outside the window then sit with him as he looks out the window. When someone approaches pull out the treats, tell him “quiet,” and wait for your dog to stop barking. When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Gradually increase the time he must be quiet before giving a treat. The goal here is to get your dog to associate the stimulus with positivity (rather than example, some people find success by keeping pennies in a can and rattling them when their dog begins to bark. If the dog stops barking when you make the noise and looks at you, you can then follow up with a come command or quiet command and give treats for compliance.
To better understand the process of extinction which is the process of a behavior diminishing and eventually ending, we can compare a dog’s behavior to a big fire. Giving in to a behavior as barking in the morning is adding fuel to the fire. The behavior increases, becomes stronger and is harder to extinguish. If the fuel is not added, the behavior over time, will likely become smaller and easier to extinguish.
A young, energetic dog craves lots of exercise and attention from you. Thirty minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise in the morning will go a long way toward helping your dog settle down. For the first few weeks, you may need to have someone come over at lunch to exercise him again.
My year and a half old lab barks only when she goes out in the yard. She will sit by the door to ask to go out and a few seconds later she is barking her head off. I then call her back inside so she doesn’t disturb the neighbors. I have trained her to respond to the come command and when she does I give her a little treat. I am worried that now she is barking so I will call her in and give her a treat. But that is the only way I know how to stop her from barking right now. What do you suggest I do instead of the come command with a treat?
This is caused by one of two reasons. It could be an “I want to get to you but can’t” situation, such as when a dog is on lead or at the other side of the road, which is known as ‘frustration-related barking’. Or, it could be a “GO AWAY, you are scaring me” situation, also known as ‘fear-related barking’.
If barking during the day is a problem because the dog is left outside, see if the neighbor will agree to install a dog house where the dog can take shelter during the day. Discuss a certain date by which the dog house will be installed.
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.
When your dog can consistently stay in a sit or a down on his spot for 30 seconds, while you turn away and walk to your front door, you can start to introduce some distractions. Tell your dog to stay, and then do something distracting. At first make your distractions mild. For example, start by bending down or doing a single jumping jack. Over many sessions of training, gradually intensify your distractions to things like running a few steps or tossing a treat on the floor. Reward your dog quickly after each distraction for holding the stay. If he breaks the stay, quickly say “Uh-uh,” ask him to sit or lie down on his spot, and try again. When your dog can stay while you do all sorts of distracting things, ask him to stay while you go to the front door of your home and pretend to greet someone there. Your goal is for him to learn to stay the entire time you’re at the door.
Alternatively, you can teach your dog to “speak; once he’s doing that reliably, signal him to stop barking with a different command, such as “quiet”, while holding your finger to your lips (dogs often pick up body signals faster than voice commands.) Practice these commands when he’s calm, and in time he should learn to stop barking at your command, even when he wants to bark at something.
Any pet parent that has had the misfortune of living with a dog that’s especially talkative, knows how irritating barking dogs can be. I mean, if your dog won’t stop barking at night or drives your neighbors insane with incessant woofs and ruffs, it’s time to do something about it.
The next step in “Go to Your Spot” training is to recruit friends and family to help you conduct mock practice visits. Arrange to have someone come to the door. You will work with your dog to help him stay on his own. Be prepared! This will probably take a long time the first few visits. When you open the door, one of two things can happen. Sometimes you leave your dog there on his spot while you talk to the person at the door, as if your visitor is a courier or delivery person. Your dog never gets to say hello. (However, you, the person or both of you should frequently toss treats to your dog to reward him for staying.) At other times, invite the visitor in. Wait until the person sits down somewhere, and then release your dog to join you and your guest. When you have a friend help you with a mock visit, be sure to repeat the scenario over and over, at least 10 to 20 times. Practice makes perfect! Have the person come in for 5 to 10 minutes or just pretend to deliver something, then leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then return for a second visit, and so on. Your dog should experience at least 10 visits in a row with the same person. With each repetition, it will become easier for him to do what you expect because he’ll be less excited by the whole routine—especially when it’s the same person at the door, over and over again.
“It’s an alert. It can be communication that someone’s there. It can be to tell someone not to come closer,” Aga says. “They have play barks, they have attention-seeking barks and they bark out of boredom. There are a lot of reasons, but it’s all instinctual, primal communication.”
When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.
Block the dog’s view. If the dog barks every time it sees movement, blocking its view of your movements might help. Increase the height of your fence or close off areas where the dog sees movement. If the dog is being set off by your cats or other pets moving in the yard at night, this might be enough to quieten the dog.
Recognize alarm barking. Alarm barking is any pattern of barking at perceived intruders. While barking at a real intruder is useful and may save a person’s life, barking at perceived intruders like mail carriers, parcel deliverers, or even just neighbors passing by the property can be annoying and troublesome.
Let’s face it – dogs bark. Some dogs bark for good reason and some do for apparently little or no reason and some do a little of both. Of course there are also certain breeds that are more prone to barking than others. The dog problem is not always the barking but the need for dogs to be quiet at certain times or when asked. I want to talk about the reasons dogs bark in order to help you prevent dog barking.
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.
Have a treat ready every time your friend comes to the door. Even if you’ve passed the point of giving treats during regular training, you may need to use treats for applied training sessions involving an actual perceived intruder.
Dog’s need both mental stimulation, often found in the form of training, and also physical exercise to tire them out. If these needs aren’t met, they may entertain themselves by singing the song of their people… loudly.
The point is this: Dealing with a dog that won’t stop barking day or night is frustrating for everyone. Figuring out the behavioral problem that is causing your dog’s barking could save your sanity and keep the peace.
There was a time when the thought of getting a kiss from Rusty would not have been a good thing. Rusty is a rescue dog and shortly after adopting him, we discovered that he ate his own poop! Fortunately, he no longer does this, and his kisses are a whole lot more pleasant.