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Play: If you’ve ever gotten your dog involved in an intense play session, you’ve probably heard them bark at you. Like kids yelling on a playground, dogs bark to communicate their willingness and excitement to play.
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)
If your dog is barking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, consult with a qualified professional behavior counselor who uses positive modification methods, and try to manage your dog’s environment to minimize his exposure to stressors while you work on a program to counter-condition and desensitize him.
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.
Try counterconditioning your dog. Counterconditioning is a common treatment method for dogs that typically involves training the dog to associate something fearful with a reward. In the case of separation anxiety, instead of fearing someone or something, the dog fears being left alone. To counter condition separation anxiety, you’ll need to train your dog to associate being left alone with something the dog enjoys (like treats).
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.
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
Fortunately, keeping a dog from barking is not that hard when you know what you need to do. Dog behaviorists and experts have successfully trained numerous chatty Cathies and the method is always the same: find out why is the dog barking in the first place and treat the cause behind the problem. If your dog is barking because their anxious or scared, you won’t approach the issue the same way you would if they were doing it out of boredom.
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.
Place your dog in a travel crate which restricts both movement and his vision of the outside distractions. Use a seat belt safety lead if you can’t use a crate. Begin training good car manners by making your dog sit and wait before jumping in the car. Play the radio to distract from outside noises.
You can manage alarm barking by reducing the dog’s exposure to the inciting stimuli. Perhaps you can baby gate him out of the front room, move the sofa away from windows so he can’t jump up and see out, or close the drapes.
Consistency with this concept is key. You have to train your dog to understand that being quiet results in a reward. This means only letting your dog out of the crate when they are calm. It means only petting your pup when they are exhibiting relaxed behaviors.
It may help to have your dog wear a head halter at times when he’s likely to bark (for example, on walks or in your house). A halter can have a distracting or calming effect and make your dog less likely to bark. Make sure you reward him for not barking. (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
You might want to ask if anonymity is an option when you file the report. In some cases, this may not be an issue for you, especially if it’s plain-as-day that you’re the one pointing the finger thanks to previous attempts. However, if you have various upset neighbors, maintaining anonymity may be useful to prevent retaliation of any sort.
Luckily, most dogs will quickly learn that being quiet will result in more rewards and attention through training and positive conditioning. While it may take a bit more effort on the front end, your ears and neighbors will appreciate the investment in training your dog to embrace their inner peace and quiet.
Of course with all dog training the more your dog takes notice of YOU the better! (Something I’ll explain a bit more later on…) So if your dog is not taking a blind bit of notice then we need to go back a couple of steps and get their focus and attention first!
Here’s an important distinction to remember as a softhearted animal lover: Attention seeking is different from loneliness in dogs, says Ganahl. She explains, “Many dogs bark for attention, whether they want petting, the food you are eating or something else. It is important that you completely ignore your dog if you feel they are barking for attention, otherwise the barking will continue. If you tell your dog ‘quiet,’ ‘shush’ or any other vocalization to tell them to stop, that is considered attention to your dog.”
We took the steps of talking to our neighbor. They got some kind of a squirt collar for the dog when he’s left alone outside, and when he barks, it seems to have helped. A lot depends on how ignorant and inconsiderate your neighbor is. I’d start with trying to make contact and starting a discussion, explaining why it’s a problem. Try to enlist their help before indicating further steps might be necessary. You might be surprised. The ignorance may be that the owner had no idea the dog was doing that. If all fails, then you would be justified in involving the authorities.
Let’s take a look at what happens in the dog’s mind during an ”extinction burst”. The behavior of barking in the morning had to start somewhere. Very likely, upon barking in the morning you or somebody in your family got up and fed the dog. Since the barking worked in getting what she wanted, very likely she continued to do so, and very likely you continued getting up and feeding.
Not when you have a law in your county that states if your dog interrupts the quiet of even one other person it is barking too much. And, yes, the law where I live is just that vague. I am having this problem with someone who lives 4 houses away and is in her house most of the time and cannot possibly hear my dogs bark, as they really do not bark to the level of “problem barking”. In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, dogs are not allowed to bark at all apparently.
Unsurprisingly, this image has an effect on young Tony, so I would call out, “Mum! There’s someone at the door!” adding, “possibly an axe-murderer…” under my breath. If Mum was upstairs vacuuming, I would say it louder. When Mum heard me, she would come into the living room and say “Thanks, love”. As I was a smart child (my avoidance of potential psychotic lumberjacks being a good example of this) I would then stop calling for Mum. It would have looked odd if I had carried on, especially if the visitors walked into the living room to find me gibbering away. Now, if upon hearing me, Mum had come downstairs and told me to shut up, or even hit me for letting her know, that would have been ridiculous.
For immediate help, I recommend that you visit our website and plug in your zip code or city to see if there is a VSPDT local to you. If there isn’t, there is always the option of doing a phone consultation with one of them.
Outside, you might consider putting slats in the chain link fence to cut down on his visual access to the world surrounding his yard (better yet, install a privacy fence) or put up an interior fence to block his access to the more stimulating parts of the yard. Given that alarm barking will inevitably occur, it’s also useful to teach him a positive interrupt – a cue, other than “Shut up!” that you can use to stop him in mid-bark. (See “The Positive Interrupt,” to the right of this page.)
You can’t correct them if you’re not at home. I have a 5 year old bulldog/dalmation mix. When I rescued her, literally off the street, I lived in a house, with a yard. Unfortunately I went through a nasty divorce and she and I are forced to live in a condo. She barks all day while I’m gone. I leave the radio on, a fan…anything that will cover up noise or distract her. I walk her 3x’s a day and wear her out at night. She still barks. People don’t want to put a bark collar on their dogs. It’s unfair for you to be so condescending and judgemental. My neighbors complain constantly. What would you have people do? Put them down? Give up their pets?