Is your dog barking at everything? Are they constantly barking and it’s driving you crazy, you don’t know how to stop your dog from barking? Fear no more we are here to help you get down to the nature of the barking and what you can do to get it to stop.
A dogs bark is their way of communicating with other dogs and their humans. It’s their voice! They are barking for a reason so it’s our responsibility to figure out why they are barking and what they are trying to communicate with us! If we figure out why our dog is barking then we can look at solutions to the barking!
First off I do not recommend ever using a bark collar on a dog whether it be a shock collar, citronella or any other kind of ‘training’ collar. These are not ‘training’ collars they are inhumane ways of controlling the dog. Yes these collars may work but why do they work?? Because they are PAINFUL!! Yes pain is inflicted on your dog by these devices.
So lets break it down to real life so you can see what is happening to your dog. Imagine you are a child and you want some candy, so you go and ask your parents for candy and when you ask for candy you get electrocuted or a spray of citronella (which to dogs smells like sewage) in your face? So what have your learned, what experience did you gain from asking for candy? You asked for candy and got such a horrible painful experience and you’re not so sure why! So later in the day you decide to ask for candy again…and again you have elicited a painful response of electrocution. So now at this stage you are starting to realize when I ask for candy I get punished with terrible consequences. You may try again and come to the conclusion that when I ask for candy I get painful response so I am going to stop asking for candy. But what happens then…? You will figure out another way to get what you want without having to ask for it or you may start having a temper tantrum as a result of suppressing your voice. If you can’t use your voice, you will start expressing yourself differently, you will steal candy, you will have an outburst for not getting what you want, you will get yourself into trouble by doing other things. You would not want your voice taken away from you so why would you take away your dogs voice?
Suppressing your dogs voice can result in dangerous consequences such as destructive behaviour at home, no warning signals before he attacks, has an outburst, lunging at people and more. It is a common belief that you may think that your dog is barking just to annoy you. Untrue, your dog could be barking for a number of reasons and once we get to the route cause/trigger of the barking then we can work on managing the situation.
Dogs Generally Bark For The Following Reasons
Your dog will bark to get your affection. They are getting a functional reward by barking. They have learned that if I bark, Mom will come over and pay me attention and give me cuddles. The dog will keep barking no matter how long it takes until he gets the desired result of cuddles or attention from mom. Once you give in be in 10 seconds of barking or 10 minutes the end result to the dog has been the same.
There is a strange person or dog encroaching in his personal space where he has all his toys, where he is hanging out at the park and hes giving off a warning bark to say ‘Hey stay away outta my space’
I’m so bored I’ve been stuck in all day or out in the garden with nothing to do and I want you to play with me, entertain me but generally I want you to bring me out for a walk.
Dogs who show separation anxiety when he is left at home all day. He is showing that he is afraid of being left alone at home so he will bark to tell anyone that can hear that he is afraid and please come to my assistance.
This is when the dog hears something that is not right, a noise in the back garden, something that goes bump in the night, someone at the door or just something that isn’t right!
Dogs will bark at other dogs to get them engaged in play time. Generally goes hand in hand with body signals showing the other dog that they want to place.
You now have the tools to decipher why your dog is barking and now you can take the necessary course of action! Here are some techniques you can use to help stop your dog from barking.
Rewarding Good Behaviour
For dogs who will bark to get attention it is helpful to reward the dog for good behaviour. When your dog seeks attention from you, you need to ignore the request by either providing no eye contact with the dog, getting up and leaving the room, turn your back on the dog, no verbal response or say ‘Ah ah’ if he stops mark the good behaviour and reward/praise. Every time he shows good behaviour of being quiet reward him, when he is looking for attention do not reinforce his behaviour by giving in. Each dog is different and will respond differently to your response so you may need to work on each task to see what works best. Patience and consistency is the key, have everyone in the house working on the same method.
Managing the dogs environment
You dog barks when he sees someone pass by the house. The dog barks until the threat has passed, hence he has done his job…well according to him his bark has made the threat go away. The dog sees it as here comes a threat, I bark like crazy and the threat goes away. To him it appears to be that the person walking pass the house has gone away because of his barking not because he was walking by and was going to go away anyway. A simple solution to this barking is to remove his access to the window. If you can’t remove physical access to the window then you can look at closing the blinds on the lower half of the window, frosting the bottom part of the glass. If the dog can’t see the threat chances are he’s not going to bark to warn off the threat!
Exercise / Playtime
Dogs will bark out of pure boredom especially larger dogs who need a lot of exercise. Increasing your dogs exercise will drastically reduce the amount of barking due to boredom. Playing mental games and backyard soccer, fetch will work too. Anything that will burn off the excess exercise will help you have a happy content dog in the house.
By teaching your dog the bark command you in turn teach your dog the Quiet Command. Start by using a trigger that makes your dog bark for example knocking on a wall. ‘Knock, knock’ – dog barks reward and treat. Then start by introducing command ‘Talk’ or ‘Speak’ with the pairing of the knocks and when the dog barks and reward/praise. You should be able to build up to a level of removal of the knocking and use command ‘Speak’.
Hire a Dog Walker
Hire a dog walker to come and take your dog out during the day to help eliminate boredom especially if your dog spends a lot of time at home during the day. This will ensure that your dog has relevant exercise during the day, remove him from triggers, keep him engaged and help reinforce good behaviour and prevent the problem from escalating.
Every dog is different and every dog will react differently depending on the type of training. Never force your dog into submission or use cruel methods of punishment to suppress any unwanted behaviours. If in doubt of a technique you use, humanize it! Would this work on me or my child? Techniques work so similar to children as dogs…if your child wants candy you may ask them to do some task to get their reward; clean their room, do their homework, wash the dishes and then they get rewarded with a nice treat at the end of it. Dogs are no different positive reinforcement equals positive results. You just need to find what works best for your dog!
I hope this article helps you and your pup to manage unwanted barking! If you have found any other techniques that work for you to stop your dog barking, we would love to hear them!