Dog trainers often make promises to fix a dog barking problem that in all honesty they should not make. In all my years as a Police Dog Trainer and private dog trainer, fixing dog behaviour issues that occur when the owner is not around are the most difficult. How to stop dog barking in this instance is the toughest of all. Sure, increased exercise, changing routines and leadership structures can all help.
“Yay, Mom’s home! Mom’s home! Mom’s home!” If your dog hails you with hellos when you return after an absence, it’s time to shift into ignore mode. Stand outside your door and wait for the cacophony to subside, then enter calmly; no rousing hug-fests or “I love you! I missed you!” sessions. When your dog is quiet, then calmly greet him. If he starts to bark again, mark the barking with an “Oops!” and ignore him again.
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Try to distinguish between barking that stems from needing to use the bathroom (which is a valid need to vocalize) and barking over every minor desire, such as wanting to come on the couch or be given more attention.
So you have a dog barking problem – What solutions are out there? Trying to stop your dog barking should start with finding out why it is barking in the first pace. This article looks at some motivations for dog barking, what works and what doesn’t!
You want some control over your dog’s voice, but don’t lose sight of the value of his vocal communications; he may 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.
Barking is a normal canine communication, but inappropriate barking – too much or too often – is probably one of the most commonly reported problems owners have with their dogs. It can be annoying and can lead to unhappy situations with neighbours, particularly if your dog barks a lot.
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?
Your dog needs to understand when to bark and when to be quiet, and it’s your job to teach this to her. Start working on problem barking as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to curb the behavior.
Obsessive/Compulsive barking which is identified as excessive barking for no apparent reason or at things that wouldn’t bother other dogs. This may be accompanied by other compulsive behaviors such as spinning or jumping.
To bring attention/request barking under control, you need to start by stopping–stop rewarding the barking and stop paying attention to the barking. For this, borrowing a training method that helps to stop jumping up is good idea. When your dog barks for attention or for food, cross your arms and turn your back on him. If he continues, walk out of the room.
Personally I feel horrible about it but we just had to get a shock collar for our dog today. We own a town home and today our neighbor told us she called our association and reported us for his barking. He’s always been a very well behaved, easily trainable dog, so we decided to let him stay out of his crate while away since we hate having to lock him up when we leave for extended hours occasionally. Day 1: absolutely great. He stayed in the baby gated area. Day 2: did not go well at all. He escaped the area, ate the cat food, pooped all over the house, chewed up tons of things… Behavior that he has never displayed before even when left out briefly. He was put back in the crate and ever since we’ve been having issues. He tries to escape it. He’s somehow dented it and he’s only 40 pounds. Tried covering and he ate the blanket. He’s even got scratch marks on his face from trying to escape and when he does, he destroys everything. Again this is a dog that has always been happy, never barked, never chewed anything up, never misbehaved. The only naughty things he did prior was potty a couple times as a puppy and I caught him licking my pizza when I went to use the restroom… Other than that he gets nothing but compliments on his great behavior. We moved his kennel to different areas of the house. We’ve left TVs on for background noise. But nothing works. This is brand new behavior and we have had him almost 2 yrs since he was 4 months. Our neighbor constantly is complaining and calling us that he’s barking when we leave. The issue is we have only caught him 1x. We’ve definitely tried the whole routine of acting as if we’re leaving hoping we’ll catch and correct him. Putting him away and everything but quietly standing in the house for up to a half hour and heard absolutely nothing. We’ve caught him once when we came home where we could hear him outside barking from inside. Our neighbor has called us asking when we are coming home and just basically harassing us. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t work, so she is always home. We have tried numerous attempts to give him positive reinforcement taking him for walks, giving him treats, and giving him lots of love and affection before putting him in his crate. The neighbor still calls complaining. Nothing works. This is behavior that’s been going on for about six weeks. We had to get the shock collar because we really had no other choice except for let him continue then get more calls to our association and be told that we’re not allowed to have him anymore.
The fine line between fearful and excited can be especially difficult when you’re dealing with on-leash reactivity, and Spaulding says leash-reactive dogs should probably be evaluated by a certified professional.
When you brought this dog into your life, you made a commitment to provide the care he needs. Prevent dog barking, and other dog behavior problems by calling in a canine professional to help him cope with a behavior issue.
Work on pre-departure anxiety by exposing your dog to your various departure like putting on a coat or picking up/jingling your keys. Try engaging in these behaviors at various times throughout the day without actually leaving the house.
Territorial/Protective/Alarm/Fear: Because this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees. If he’s in a fenced yard, use solid wood instead of chain fencing. Indoors, limit access to windows and doors or cover them with an opaque film.
For treatment of territorial barking, your dog’s motivation should be reduced as well as his opportunities to defend his territory. To manage your dog’s behavior, you’ll need to block his ability to see people and animals. Removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings can help to obscure your dog’s view of areas that he observes and guards from within your house. Use secure, opaque fencing to surround outside areas your dog has access to. Don’t allow your dog to greet people at the front door, at your front yard gate or at your property boundary line. Instead, train him to go to an alternate location, like a crate or a mat, and remain quiet until he’s invited to greet appropriately.
Don’t punish your dog if the barking is due to fright or separation anxiety. You may have the opposite effect of increasing his anxiety, and therefore, his barking. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or Veterinary Behaviorist can give you specific directions for correcting this behavior.
In general, a no-bark dog collar is able to detect barking by sensing vibrations in the dog’s vocal chords. When this occurs, the collar provides a stimulus to the dog, warning him that this is the consequence for barking. All three of the no-bark collars fit snuggly against your dog’s neck when they are fitted correctly. It is increasingly important both for safety and for proper training that this collar is fitted by a professional or by an experienced dog owner.
Will the dog go into a barking frenzy for half an hour when you get back home from work? Your neighbors will know that you are home and they will surely not enjoy that barking. The problem in this case is that the dog is simply too excited. He loves that you are home and is simply expressing joy. Many pet owners will try to force the dog to stop barking in this case or will try to correct the behavior while being mad. This is a really bad idea.
This type of barking is a form of expression which often developed through positive reinforcement from the owner. If your dog barks to let you know he needs to go relieve himself, this is usually a good thing. When he barks because he wants your dinner or to play or go for a walk, this is less positive.
Especially with the larger breeds, there is this necessity to be active at all times. If there is not much space available indoors, the dog will become frustrated. The same thing happens when he is not allowed to play. What you want to do is create an area where the dog can play. This is where you put all his favorite toys and you let him do whatever he wants.
In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
Remember, barking is natural! It’s an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it’s your job to step in and control excessive barking. Here are my 5 tips to help you stop nuisance barking for good.
Shock collars are similar to citronella and ultrasonic collars, but instead deliver a brief electric shock to the dog’s neck. These collars typically have a number of different settings to change how intense the shock is, and if using one of these collars it is best to use the lowest setting possible to prevent injury to the dog. Again, these should only be used as an absolute last resort.
Pay attention to the circumstances. Barking at the mailman teaches pups to repeat the behavior when your two-pound terror thinks, “My ferocious bark chased him away — I’m an awesome guard dog, beware!” You may want to enlist your mail carrier’s help — ask him/her to feed your pup a treat once he is quiet and praise him for being silent.
I am requesting that the NO-PULL harness be available in an Extra-Small size. I have a 9 pound Deer-type Chihuahua that needs one. I am a small framed older lady (73) that walks my VERY athletic 3 year old Chi 2x a day. She is a fabulous dog in every way except for this one hazardous situation of impulsive strong sudden pulling and even sometimes crossing in front of me. Since she already wears a harness to prevent tracheal collapse I am hoping you might consider this request. Her harness/chest size is 15″ of 1/4 inch nylon + a small 1″ snap closure = 16″ maximum total.
Talk to your neighbors and explain to them about your condition and see if they can come up with a solution first. If this doesn’t help, you may have to call law enforcement. If it is affecting your quality of life, this should be taken seriously.
HI Melissa, I think GSDs take barking to a whole nother level. And they really do need more basic training and more socialization than other dogs. Have you tried cutting visual stimulation in the car? Covered crate? Every seen a Calming cap? Sometime shades like the ones you buy for infants can help to. One thing that worked for my collie was a combo of the game Look at that (you can do a web search) and taking handfuls of kibble and throwing it at the window when he saw a bike or dog coming straight for us. Also having a dog savvy person extra set of hands in the car really helps–so you don’t crash! There is no shame in hiring a great trainer. It sounds like you are on the right path. Best of luck to you both.
Let’s look at this from the dog’s point of view. A dog in the home is in its den, and there are often potential threats passing by (anything could be a problem seeing as they are in a world they don’t really understand). Often, dogs will bark at the passing person/dog/bike/car/hot air balloon (this last one comes from personal experience a few years ago in the Netherlands). How many dog owners thanks their dogs for letting them know? What is the usual response to a dog barking? It’s OK, there is no need to tell me; I may not understand Dutch but I can tell if someone is happy or not…
You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go.
It could be that your dog does a lot of ’alarm barking’, for example when there is someone at the door, or maybe they bark when left on their own. They may bark when other dogs in the neighbourhood start. Or they could be barking at birds or cats in the garden.
This is the dog who saves his family from a fire, tells us that Timmy’s in the well, scares off the rapist, barks at the dogs on Animal Planet – and goes bonkers every time someone walks past on the sidewalk outside the picture window. Alarm barkers can save lives – but sometimes their judgment about what constitutes an alarm-appropriate situation can be a little faulty.
If your dog barks a lot when left and you are unable to resolve this by following our tips, you are likely to need help from a qualified dog behaviourist to address the problem. You can find one by contacting your vet, or on the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website.