Dogs also bark if they are anxious, so medications can be used in the short-term to help your dog learn some coping skills. They need not be permanent. While there are some excellent dog trainers, there is little regulation in the industry, so skills and methods can vary. Ask your veterinarian to recommend someone if they can’t help.
If she seems receptive, show her this article to give her some ideas about how to modify her dog’s barking behavior. If you’re feeling generous, give her a copy of Terry Ryan’s book, The Bark Stops Here, for more in-depth information on barking.
Obedience collars will assess the effect of a problem and not its cause. If you really want to stop the dog from barking, you need to stop the cause or do something to fix the problem that exists. We have to add that it has been proven that shock collars are not as effective as they are advertised. Modern dog trainers see this method as something that should never be tolerated. You do not want to hurt the dog in order to get him to do something for you. He loves you and will want to please you. He might not really love you anymore when he realizes that you abuse him.
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’.
Does your dog bark people, dogs, other animals? Does your dog bark when you are walking? Does your dog bark when you leave? There is no need to use punishment to teach your dog to not bark. Adopt an attitude of patience and you’ll fix this in no time at all!
If your dog barks inappropriately, it is important to start by setting yourself a realistic goal. Planning for your dog to stop barking completely is not realistic – barking is a natural dog behaviour and dogs will bark – more or less, and largely depending on the breed – whether we want it or not. You can reduce the amount of barking, but stopping it will never be possible.
When your dog barks, mark the desired behavior with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him a treat. Repeat this until he’ll bark on just the cue, without the trigger. Then practice in different environments until the “bark on cue” behavior is well generalized. When his “bark on cue” is well established, you can follow it with a “quiet!” cue, so you’ll be able to turn the bark off when you want.
Understandably, if your dog is barking because he is anxious, this will really add to his problems. Citronella collars require you to buy replacement cartridges frequently, so can be much more expensive than consulting a veterinary behaviorist.
Eventually your dog will learn to be quiet on command without getting a treat. Even after you’ve reached this stage of training, however, you should still give your dog verbal praise when she stops barking.
You may have heard the suggestion that if you put a behavior such as barking on cue and have it under good stimulus control, the dog then won’t bark unless you give him the cue to speak. Here are the four rules of stimulus control:
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 dog is not barking and even when they work correctly, the dog usually has no idea what he is receiving punishment for.
The positive interrupt is a well-programmed, highly reinforced behavior that allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you when she’s doing something inappropriate like barking. Ideally, you want your dog’s response to the “Over here!” cue to be so automatic – classically conditioned – that he doesn’t stop to think whether what he’s doing is more rewarding or interesting than turning his attention toward you and running to you for a treat. He doesn’t think – he just does it, the way your foot automatically hits the brake of your car when you see taillights flash in front of you on the highway.
It is always better to stop the barking without the bark collar. Find out the reason why the dog barks. Dogs are dogs and dogs will bark. It is very normal. And usually the dog will bark for a reason. When you discover the reason, solve the problem or get rid of it, the dog will stop barking.
You can solve this problem through management. If your dog likes to sit on the window sill and bark at everyone passing by, first block access to their vantage point and then offer them an alternative, more appropriate pastime.
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