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Help! My Dog Won’t Stop Barking

When enough is enough, how to effectively manage an excessive barker

Discipline

According to Pet 360, “punishment is seldom effective for the correction of a dog’s barking problems. Punishment can increase the dog’s anxiety and further aggravate many of the causes behind the barking. Even mild punishment can cause the problem to worsen, as the attention may be associated as a reward by the barking dog.”

Instead of punishment, try devices that distract the dog from the stimuli to break the behavioral patterns that cause the dog to bark.

Owner-Activated Products

“These products are useful for getting the dog’s attention (disrupting the behavior) during stimuli induced quiet-command training. Ultrasonic devices, audible devices, water sprayers, shake cans (an empty soda can or plastic bottle with a few coins sealed inside), or even a favored squeaky toy might be used to get the dog’s attention and temporarily stop the barking.  Keep in mind that unless you are also using re-training techniques simultaneously and consistently with the distraction, your dog, like many dogs, will soon begin to ignore the distraction devices.”

If used consistently to interrupt the barking, the quiet behavior is reinforced.

“As your dog comes to associate praise and reward with obeying your command for quiet, he may become less anxious and less likely to bark in the presence of the stimulus, or at the very least will quiet much faster on command.”

Bark-Activated Products

What about dogs who don’t start up until you’re leaving home?dogs-563662_640

“For barking that occurs in the owner’s absence, bark activated products (in conjunction with environmental modification and re-training) are often the most practical means for deterring inappropriate barking.”

Bark-activated products may also be a better choice than owner-activated devices, since they ensure immediate and accurate responses to the barking.

“Off-collar (not worn on collar) devices are useful for training the dog to stop barking in selected areas, such as near doorways or windows (or for dogs that bark in their crate or pen). This type of device is made to emit an audible alarm that causes the dog to stop barking. On-collar devices/bark-activated collars are useful for when barking does not occur in a predictable location. Audible and ultrasonic training collars are occasionally effective but they have the drawback of being neither sufficiently unpleasant enough to deter the dog’s continued problem barking, nor consistent enough in their response to be a reliable deterrent.”

There are even collars that emit either a citronella or unscented odor each time the dog barks, which is sufficiently unpleasant to deter most dogs. Although these may be effective in the owner’s absence, they may soon become ineffective in the absence of concurrent behavior training.

“In this way, the quiet behavior is reinforced, and any anxiety about the stimulus (people coming to the door, people coming to the yard, other dogs) can be gradually reduced. In fact, in time your dog may begin to associate the arrival of new people or dogs with a positive reaction from you, a response that is referred to as counter-conditioning.”

We hope these tips can help with your noisy four-legged friend! Read more from Pet 360 by clicking here.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Have you ever wondered why your dog won’t quit barking or why it’s hard to get them to stop? Modern Dog Magazine identifies several reasons as to why they could be barking and many ways to teach them to stop.

Do you sometimes think your dog just likes the sound of his own voice? While some breeds are naturally prone to barking (the Cairn Terrier and the Chihuahua are two examples), there is often a reason why your dog is being so noisy.

Does your dog want something? Dogs can bark because it’s rewarding. You could be paying your dog for barking and not realize it. If your dog barks to go outside and you let him out, you’ve just paid him for barking. If he barks while you fix his dinner and you give him his food, you just paid him for barking. Be sure you are not accidentally paying your dog for behaviour you don’t want.

Is he frightened? Keep in mind that most aggression (which can manifest in barking, among other behaviours) is actually based in fear. A dog that is frightened of other dogs may lunge towards the other dog, the fur may rise up on his neck, and he may bark and growl. Dogs who are frightened of people, kids on skateboards and other things can show the same behaviour. The dog is barking to try and scare “the monster” away. Other dogs spook at noises or things that suddenly appear in their environments, like thunder or a person coming into your home.

Is he being territorial? Does your dog bark at people who pass by your house or car? If so, your dog is barking to protect and proclaim what he sees as his domain.

Dogs can also bark in greeting because they are frustrated when they hear other dogs bark, and more. Your first step is to try and figure out why your dog is barking. Once you do, then you can tackle the noise.

Here are some ways you can teach your dog to be more quiet:

1. Ignore the barking
This can be hard! It’s especially effective, however, if your dog is barking to get attention or because he wants something. Only pay attention to your dog when he’s quiet. Keep in mind, if you’ve been rewarding your dog for barking for some time, the barking will get worse before it gets better. Persevere! If you waffle back and forth, the barking will only continue and likely worsen.

  1. Remove the motivation
    If your dog is being territorial, block his view of the things that trigger his barking. If he’s barking at things he sees out a window, close the curtains or blinds, or confine your dog to another area of the house where he can’t see his triggers. You can also find peel-and-stick window film in home supply stores that can prevent your dog from seeing through the window.
  2. Help your dog be less frightened
    To do this, work at a distance from whatever it is that scares your dog; you need to get far enough away that your dog doesn’t bark. When he sees his trigger, give him some delicious treats before he can bark. As long as he does well at this distance, move slightly closer and repeat. Gradually work closer and closer to the triggers until your dog begins to feel more comfortable near them because he anticipates treats. This may take many sessions, depending on how fearful your dog is. If your dog reacts and begins barking, you went too far.
  3. Teach “Hush.
    When your dog is barking, get some treats. When he’s quiet, mark the behaviour with a clicker or a verbal “yes,” and immediately give him the treat. Repeat. When he is reliably getting quiet faster, put in on cue, “Hush.”
  4. Teach him to do something else
    Some dogs find it hard to bark when lying down. Some won’t bark if they have a ball in their mouth. Find a behaviour you prefer and teach your dog to do that instead of making noise.

Control Excessive Barking

When enough is enough, how to effectively manage an excessive barker

Discipline

According to Pet 360, “punishment is seldom effective for the correction of a dog’s barking problems. Punishment can increase the dog’s anxiety and further aggravate many of the causes behind the barking. Even mild punishment can cause the problem to worsen, as the attention may be associated as a reward by the barking dog.”

Instead of punishment, try devices that distract the dog from the stimuli to break the behavioral patterns that cause the dog to bark.

What kind of products?

Owner-Activated Products

“These products are useful for getting the dog’s attention (disrupting the behavior) during stimuli induced quiet-command training. Ultrasonic devices, audible devices, water sprayers, shake cans (an empty soda can or plastic bottle with a few coins sealed inside), or even a favored squeaky toy might be used to get the dog’s attention and temporarily stop the barking.  Keep in mind that unless you are also using re-training techniques simultaneously and consistently with the distraction, your dog, like many dogs, will soon begin to ignore the distraction devices.”

If used consistently to interrupt the barking, the quiet behavior is reinforced.

“As your dog comes to associate praise and reward with obeying your command for quiet, he may become less anxious and less likely to bark in the presence of the stimulus, or at the very least will quiet much faster on command.”

Bark-Activated Products

What about dogs who don’t start up until you’re leaving home?

“For barking that occurs in the owner’s absence, bark activated products (in conjunction with environmental modification and re-training) are often the most practical means for deterring inappropriate barking.”

Bark-activated products may also be a better choice than owner-activated devices, since they ensure immediate and accurate responses to the barking.

“Off-collar (not worn on collar) devices are useful for training the dog to stop barking in selected areas, such as near doorways or windows (or for dogs that bark in their crate or pen). This type of device is made to emit an audible alarm that causes the dog to stop barking. On-collar devices/bark-activated collars are useful for when barking does not occur in a predictable location. Audible and ultrasonic training collars are occasionally effective but they have the drawback of being neither sufficiently unpleasant enough to deter the dog’s continued problem barking, nor consistent enough in their response to be a reliable deterrent.”

There are even collars that emit either a citronella or unscented odor each time the dog barks, which is sufficiently unpleasant to deter most dogs. Although these may be effective in the owner’s absence, they may soon become ineffective in the absence of concurrent behavior training.

“In this way, the quiet behavior is reinforced, and any anxiety about the stimulus (people coming to the door, people coming to the yard, other dogs) can be gradually reduced. In fact, in time your dog may begin to associate the arrival of new people or dogs with a positive reaction from you, a response that is referred to as counter-conditioning.”

We hope these tips can help with your noisy four-legged friend! Read more from Pet 360 by clicking here.