Do you have a dog that barks excessively? Someone walks by your house and the barking continues until the person is out of sight. You are probably thinking, Stop my dog from barking! Dogs need to be taught when to not bark.
Exposing your dog or puppy to different environments including people and other dogs will give your dog an opportunity to discover things that are unfamiliar. Dogs will bark at things that are unfamiliar to them.
Barking is a dog’s natural way of communicating. Dogs bark for many reasons including fear and anxiety, boredom, to alert you that someone or something is coming, or they might just want to play.
Before you do anything to take care of this problem you want to find out why your dog is barking.
Figure Out Why Your Dog is Barking Excessively
It’s unrealistic to expect that you can completely stop a dog from barking. It would be the same thing as if you weren’t able to speak anymore. So you can’t stop your dog from barking completely. You’ll stop your dog from barking excessively.
Some dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, love to bark. They bark when they’re excited, afraid, happy or nervous. They bark to protect the house, they bark to get attention. They bark when they’re left alone. With so much barking your head quickly turns into some sort of anvil your dog uses to shape your nerves.
In order to be able to mitigate this frustrating habit, you must first understand why dogs bark. Then we’ll look at how you’re unconsciously reinforcing your dog’s barking habit. And finally, we’ll talk about what you can do to control this behavior.
Why dogs bark?
Dogs bark for many reasons. Staking out their territory, fending intruders, getting attention and expressing their needs. They also bark when excited, they bark at other animals, they bark to alert you of impending danger (for example, service dogs are trained to bark if they hear the fire alarm), they bark when they’re isolated or they may bark just for the fun of it.
If they are chained up behind some sort of fence, or otherwise making unable to reach you, may lead them to bark. Puppies sometimes bark to express dominance and to challenge your leadership. Stress such as not having a proper place to sleep, boredom, lack of activity (this one is very common), improper socialization. But most importantly, they bark because their owners have consistently rewarded excessive barking in the past.
One of the most annoying scenarios is when your dog appears to be barking at nothing. Most of the time there’s some reason or other that caused them to bark. Keep in mind that dogs have more acute senses so you never know what sort of yummy food is trudging right outside your door.
Also read Dogs and Fireworks
How am I unconsciously reinforcing my dog’s barking habit?
One of the key things in training your dog is to constantly make clear what you want from him. Yelling something like “You’re driving me crazy, you stupid dog!” is not going to tell your dog anything more than you’re displeased. He’ll be confused because first he doesn’t know why you’re so mad, and second he doesn’t know how to please you.
One of the nastiest mistakes you can do is to reward excessive barking. It’s nasty because it will happen and we’ll never know about it. Here are some of the most common unconscious reinforcements:
1. Yelling and screaming at your dog. Essentially you’re giving your dog the attention he’s craving for, albeit negative attention. But if you weren’t giving him attention anyway, he’s going to be happy with negative attention all the same.
2. Let them in/out. Your dog goes to the door “woof” and voila, the door opens. Then you hear “woof” from outside, and in you let the dog. It’s like your dog is training you. You get the picture.
Comforting your dog. Whenever you see him barking you instantly go to him and cuddle, give him a treat, talk with him and otherwise engage in some sort of activity. You’re definitely reinforcing his barking. You’re basically telling your dog you’re very happy he’s been barking because you’re rewarding his behavior.
We’re going to take a look at some techniques which are applicable no matter why your dog is barking. The following scenarios are just to give you an idea of how they’re supposed to work. Whichever method you decide to use understand that you have to be a little patient to see results.
The phone rings and your dog goes out of control
Many dogs bark when they hear the phone ring. The phone ringing is usually an event in the house. It deserves attention. Here are a few ideas to keep him under control:
1.Don’t yell at your dog and don’t give him any form of attention.
2.Get him used to the phone ringing. Dial your number from your cell and let it ring. Don’t say or do anything, just completely ignore it. Your dog will keep barking for a few days but pretty soon he’ll figure out it’s not actually a big deal so he’ll drop it.
3.Establish yourself as the pack leader through obedience training. If you did obedience training in the past this behavior shouldn’t even come up. The “quiet” and “stop” commands are staple obedience commands. Through obedience training you are establishing yourself as the pack leader and the dog will want to please you at all times. Use your power.
Your dog gets separation anxiety so he goes mad
Another time you can expect your dog to bark a lot is when you’re not home. Dogs are sociable and can become frustrated if they’re left alone. Here’s what you can do:
1. Make sure your dog is happy. Keep him well exercised, provide fresh water, toys and a nice place to sleep. You might want to prohibit access to a view outside as passers-by are another common cause for barking which we will address in a moment.
2. If you know he’s been barking you must ignore him when you first come home. In the dog’s mind you came home because he was barking, effectively reinforcing his behavior. Ignore him for a little while and when he settles down initiate contact.
3. Create negative association with barking and positive reinforcement when staying quiet. To do this you’ll have to fake going away. Leave the house normally but just go hide somewhere nearby. When the dog starts barking spray him with water or throw some coins at him. Keep out of sight when doing this. Go out again a little later and if he’s quiet for a while go back inside and praise him for good behavior. This is a very effective strategy.
Barking at passers-by all night long, and then some
Barking ChihuahuaBarking at passers-by is incredibly common with most dog breeds. And very difficult to deal with, too. Simply because the dog is barking to thwart the threat. And since the person will just walk by the dog is happy that he has averted the threat. So he will promptly do it again, and again, and again. Here’s what you can do:
1. Out of sight is out of mind. Obviously, if he can’t see them he won’t know they’re there.
2. Of course, you can’t shield him from everyone, so sooner or later it’s going to happen. When it does try giving him an incompatible command. Such as fetch. If he’s carrying a ball in his mouth he can’t possibly bark with it. If he drops the ball to bark, firmly, but gently, discipline him.
3. Finally, you can try getting help from other people. Ask your postman to carry some of your dog’s favorite treats with him and when he comes by they can give your dog a tasty treat. This will shift him from being a stranger to a welcome guest. It might also be a good idea to ask random people to do the same. Explain that you’re trying to stop your dog from randomly barking at people and that you need their help. Most people will want to help you with the sheer fun of it.
With a sprinkle of patience and some well-thought-out behavioral patterns, you can stop excessive barking and rid yourself of this pesky problem.
Things to be Aware of Before the Stop Barking Training:
Several things can be at fault with a barking dog. If a zone is fenced off, but with a clear view of annoyance, like too loud cars and noisy children, he will inevitably bark. For example, if you have a neighbor who regularly walks by, and perpetually yells at the dog or scares the dog, things will only get worse. In this case, try to talk to the neighbor and ask him to treat the dog with respect. Try fencing off the area of the yard that irritates him too much.
3 Ways To Stop this Embarrassing and Stressful Barking Forever!
To stop any bad behaviors that your dog has developed, you will need to take your time, be patient, and be consistent. Without these 3 things, you will not be successful in changing your dog’s behavior. Bad behavior does not develop overnight, so it will take time to correct the bad behavior.
Stop Excessive Barking
When your dog is barking excessively, don’t yell at your dog. Barking at your dog will only cause more barking from your dog. Remain calm and use a stern voice to say “quiet”. Look your dog in their eyes when giving commands if possible.
Some dogs naturally have lots of energy and need more exercise than other dogs. If you exercise your dog you can remove that energy and they will be less likely to bark.
Exercise your dog first. Go for a walk, play fetch, or anything you and your dog like to do to release your dog’s energy. When the physical energy has been released, it’s time to release the mental energy.
Have a training session with your dog to release mental energy. Practice commands that your dog will respond to or go through an agility course. You can also teach your dog a new command.
Once the physical and mental energy is released, your dog should be in a calm state. Mission accomplished! Now you can give your dog affection to reward your dog while they are calm.
Barking Collars: The 3 Ways to Cure Your Dog’s Barking Problems:
There are barking collars that may be considered humane or inhumane, but for the sake of information let’s talk about all of them.
Spray barking collars are very popular. They have a device in the front, directly beneath the dogs’ chin. When he barks, an unpleasant smelling spray is released. Dogs don’t like sprays in their noses, and the sound may also startle him. This treatment is not painful and is considered humane.
Choke barking collars may be scary for the dog but is supposed to be entirely safe. When the dog barks the collar automatically constricts, in a choking action. It has a sensor that detects the proper width at which to close. Bruising is not usual but can happen in some cases. The problem with these barking collars is that they have in some cases malfunctioned and choked the dog to death.
Shock barking collars are not commonly used today, because they are considered inhumane and cruel. What is worse is the dog will develop an association with what or who caused him to bark. For instance, if a child causes the dog to bark, you may have a dangerous situation. The dog doesn’t know that it is wrong to bark. He will think that looking at that person or object is wrong. As soon as the collar comes off, he will have associated the child with his pain.
Final Words on Barking Collars:
Remember, people do not like barking dogs. If you’ve tried other methods to correct your dog, and no method seems to work, then invest in a humane barking collar. Spray barking collars are best and most humane, as they don’t do physical harm to your pet. It is only natural for dogs to bark, so don’t punish him for doing it, just correct the behavior.
A barking collar is a genius cure for wayward pets in need of humane and gentle correction. But before you start a barking collar treatment, make sure you understand why your dog is barking.
You really can get rid of your dog’s barking problem once and for all and these humane barking collars and treating your dog in a proactive way will really help you achieve just that.
Other reasons for the barking dog can be hunger, thirst, excessive heat or cold. Dogs need food, water, and during extreme weather they need an indoor spot. They may bark to no end for any of these reasons. If you’ve checked all of the above possibilities, barking collars may be your last solution.
Socializing your dog or puppy is important. Sometimes excessive barking comes from dogs that aren’t socialized. Dogs need to be exposed to different environments, people, and animals.
Take your dog for a walk. Your dog will be exposed to different environments and you might encounter other dogs and people. If your dog remains calm, you can allow them to meet other dogs and people.
Take your dog to a dog park. They will get to be around other people and other dogs. Your dog will get exercise and benefit from the socialization. Younger dogs can learn a lot from older dogs too.
If you have an adult dog that has not be socialized, begin by walking your dog around the outside of the fence at the dog park, allowing them to see and smell the other dogs. Allow your dog ample time to get used to new environments. Be patient!
When someone knocks on your door, does your dog bark? That’s an alert bark, someone is at the door. Allow your dog to bark two or three times to warn us of an intruder. Then say “quiet”. Offer a treat if your dog stops barking. If this doesn’t work, try the next method below.
Place a treat in front of your dog’s nose while they are barking. Offer a special treat like a piece of chicken, something your dog doesn’t usually get for a treat. When the barking stops, say “quiet”. Wait a few seconds and if the barking does not continue, give them the treat and praise them. You can repeat this method as often as necessary. Remember to say “quiet” when your dog stops barking.
If excessive barking begins suddenly, contact your veterinarian as your dog may have a medical issue that needs immediate attention. It could be a bite or sting that needs to be treated. It could be something more serious, don’t wait.
You may need to see a dog behavioral specialist or dog trainer. Ask family and friends for a referral. You can also talk to your veterinarian and ask for a referral if needed.
How did you get your dog to stop barking excessively? Leave a comment below and share your story. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.
A barking dog is quite a pain and can be very embarrassing for the owner of the barking dog. Keeping neighbors awake at night is only one negative side effect of this loud barking. Even for the dog’s loving owner, the barking can be irritating. Action is the key to success here!