The problem with shouting at a dog is that it thinks that you are upset as well. The problem is that it does not blame itself for your distress. It thinks that you are concerned about the threat too. Also, if you carry on shouting at your dog, it actually thinks you are joining in, thereby reinforcing its initial alert. I once met a couple whose dog would bark non-stop for 30 minutes. The only reason it stopped after a half-hour was because the wife’s voice stopped working, she screamed at it for so long.
You don’t seem to understand that some people have dogs they didn’t get as puppies. Some dogs require special training like this just like people do. Not all dogs can be trained to not bark incessantly. Lucky you if that has been your experience.
Once you can open the door and your dog will stay in his spot, have someone actually come the door. Of course your dog will break from the spot at first, but with time and practice, he’ll learn to stay in his spot when the door opens and guests come in.
When your dog barks at people passing by or at the door, you will allow a limited number of barks, three or four, before giving the command “quiet.” Call your dog to you or go to him and gently hold his muzzle. Repeat the command “quiet” in a calm definitive voice. Release his muzzle and call him to you and ask him to “sit.” Praise and give him a treat if he complies. If he doesn’t, repeat the steps. Continue to give him praise and treats until the people are have passed by completely or come inside your home. Use these same steps when he barks at people from the yard.
If you’re in a location where neighbors won’t complain and the other dogs tolerate the behavior, you might just leave this one alone. With children, however, barking behavior is not appropriate, and the dog should be managed by removing him from the play area, rather than risk bites to children.
Once he stops barking, call him to you, praise him, and fulfill his request, as long as it’s reasonable. However, if he is barking for food, do not reward him with food, treats, chews etc. This will simply reinforce begging and instead of barking, he will switch to pawing at you or some other attention getting behavior.
These are some great tips though, especially the journal idea. In the car I know all his triggers, but at home we may be missing some. I may have to break down and hire a trainer to work on the car stuff, I haven’t found (made?) the time to work on the long-term desensitizing that he needs.
Punishment is generally frowned upon in the veterinary behavior community, but at least in this case the punishment is not too traumatic and it does help your dog not to do the behavior. In some cases where you have received noise complaints from the neighbours, it can be a quick fix. The citronella collar and shock collar are two devices that punish the bark and are unreliable and can lead to learned helplessness. They can go off randomly while the dog is not barking and even when they work correctly, the dog usually has no idea what he is receiving punishment for.
Dog poop eating is GROSS, but not necessarily detrimental to your dog’s health, and it can generally be stopped. Sometimes Coprophagia (when your dog eats his poop), can be an indication of more serious problems though, and you should have your pal checked out by a vet.
Pet owners always think it is strange when I recommend teaching their dog to bark on command. This places the behavior under stimulus control and with one more step, you can teach your dog to be ‘quiet’ on command.
Make helpful suggestions. It’s possible your neighbor is well aware of the issue, but isn’t sure how to get the dog to stop barking. If you’re pretty sure you know what the problem is, there’s nothing wrong with making suggestions. This is especially effective if you’re a dog owner, too. You can commiserate over how tough it can be to get a dog to stop barking. Here are a few common problems you might consider bringing up:
Does your dog bark for attention? Don’t give him any! None at all – even stern reprimands count as attention. He has no idea what “quiet” means; yelling “quiet!” will only make it worse. He’ll think you’re joining in the barking game. Reward him with your attention when he’s calm and not barking. Teach a cue for being quiet. It’s a good trick to have in your dog’s bag for when he’s out with you and barking isn’t welcome.
There are a number of different collars available to stop barking. The most humane is the Husher®, which is a soft elastic loosely fitting muzzle, that stops your dog from opening his mouth to bark, but will allow him to pant, eat and drink. It can be left on while your dog is alone, and can be used as a training aid. If you hear your dog barking, say ‘hush’ and show him the Husher® and if he does not stop, put the Husher® on.