If you train your dog to “speak” on command, then you can then teach him “quiet.” Next time your dog barks, say “speak” while he’s doing so. Once he’s mastered this, ask him to speak when he’s not distracted then say “quiet” and hold a treat near his nose. When he stops to sniff the treat, praise him. Master this in quiet atmospheres, then try in more distracted environments such as after he’s barked when someone comes to the door.
While all of these causes can trigger dog barking at night, for Joel Silverman, professional dog trainer seen on Good Dog U on Animal Planet, the solution is simple. When asked about the main culprit behind nighttime barking, Silverman says, “Just stand up and take a look in the mirror.”
Recognize compulsive/boredom barking. If your dog barks compulsively for no reason, or tends to bark when she’s left alone (in the yard, for example), she may be engaging in boredom barking. Dogs that bark when left alone may be experiencing separation anxiety, but there are usually other symptoms which accompany that problem, like destructive behavior, bathroom problems, and following you around when you’re home. Common signs of compulsive or boredom barking include:
Try a new tone. Tone collars emit a loud, short tone at the first “woof.” That’s often enough to make Fluffy stop and search for what caused the tone — it eliminates boredom and the barking, often within minutes. However, the collar must be adjusted properly or can “punish” the wrong dog if a canine friend is barking nearby.
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?
Think twice before ignoring. Of course another less preferable way is to ignore the barking and wait for it to go away. In a crate or enclosed area this may work (particularly with a puppy who is learning to settle) but if the dog is outside or in a large area then the barking itself can be self-rewarding. In many instances there are multiple stimuli occurring which will encourage the dog barking. In my opinion, dogs should never be left outside unsupervised or unaccompanied. Go out with your dog and do not allow him to run the fence, race down the hedgerow chasing the cars, or barking at the person walking by. Show your control and confidence in handling these situations and be the leader of your pack. Have him on a leash or a long line so that you can reinforce your commands and maintain control without shouting or becoming agitated.
Attention-seeking: When you hear this bark, you will usually know just what it means. This bark says “Hey! Hey! Look! Here I am!” Other dogs may whine and bark together to get attention, almost like the tone of a whining child.
You should be able to tell from your dog’s body language and behavior whether he’s barking to say “Oh, boy! Visitors! I love visitors!” or “You best be moseying along!” The first example is a greeting bark, covered later in this article. If your dog seems to display more aggressive behavior, he believes he is protecting his territory and/or defending you and your family from intruders.
The trick in getting the dog to stop barking is assessing the cause. This practically means that you have to identify why your dog barks in the first place and then see what you can do. We cannot tell you why your dog is barking. You want to try to do your best to identify the problem. If you cannot, it is time to contact a dog trainer as he can easily tell you why the dog barks.
Be aware that counterconditioning typically only works for mild cases of separation anxiety. Though puzzle toys will certainly be enjoyed by your dog no matter how severe her condition, you may need to resort to stronger approaches if your dog suffers from moderate to severe anxiety.
Here is a YouTube video of a trainer using a clicker to teach ‘speak’. A clicker is a noise that you pair with treats, so when you are training, your dog knows he is on the right track. You can also train this skill without a clicker and just treats.
As your gets comfortable with you being out of her sight, try closing a door to block her access to you, and gradually extend the duration of time that you are out of the room or behind a closed door.
Do not punish your dog for this invaluable commmication! It’s the most benign means he has of letting you know that something bothers him. Take away his growl, and a snap or bite is likely to happen without warning. Rather, when your dog growls in warning, step back to see what’s causing him such discomfort, remove the stressor, and ﬁgure out how to give him a more positive association with the thing that’s causing the growling.