Dog barking is something that all dogs do and love. It can be pleasurable for a dog to express his vocal chords and gratifying when he gets attention or controls a situation. Dogs should actually be allowed to bark, as they can alert you to things that need attention, warn intruders to stay away, and simply communicate to others. Unfortunately, some dogs bark more than others, and others still, bark at anything under the sun.
Excessive dog barking and or disruptive barking is when a dog barks at every abnormal sound, footsteps outside your apartment, or because you are not home. This can be troublesome for you as your dog is disturbing you and others, and could be qualified as disorderly by your managers. If it gets out of hand and goes on too long, some might even find themselves wrapped up in court dealing with the situation.
Controlling Excessive Barking
Before you decide to how to combat excessive dog barking, you need to determine first what is causing the barking. Some dogs bark to get attention so ask yourself if you spend enough time with him or her. At least 1 hour per day of individual attention should be given to your dog. Also, does your dog get enough exercise? Dogs need to burn off stored energy every day so you may want to increase your dog’s daily exercise. Take a longer walk, play ball for 15 minutes a day – make sure you wear him out.
Retraining your dog
Start by teaching your dog to bark on command. This is relatively simple to do by just barking at the dog and saying speak. If they have a habit of barking when someone knocks on the door, try knocking on the wall while saying “speak”. Any way you can produce a bark, praise the dog. Continue with this kind of training for a few days until your dog speaks on command. Now attempt to reverse the method by saying “No Bark” when he does speak. Once he stops barking, again praise him for not barking. Once your dog understands what “No Barking” means, you can then move on to other steps if necessary.
Sneak and Peak
The sneak and peak method, a method of many, is used for those dogs that love to bark when you leave the house. The method of training involves stepping outside the house so your dog believes you have left. “Sneak” back to the house and monitor your dog’s behavior from a point where you can remain hidden. Once the dog starts barking, first try loudly opening the door and saying “No Bark”! You can grasp the dog by the scruff and shake him gently, just enough to startle him and repeat the command “No Bark”. Leave the house again and return back to your vantage point. Repeat the process until the dog settles down, and then leave for good. You don’t want your dog to think you will always return when he or she causes a fit.
The Rattle Can
Another method to solve the dog barking problem involves the rattle can, a can with a few pennies inside of it that when shaken, disrupts the current behavior of the dog. This can be used for other trainings such as house training, biting, etc. If you are home and your dog decides to bark, shake the can loudly – it will usually interrupt the behavior on the spot. Once he looks back to investigate the noise, tell him “No Bark”. Continue this every time he barks unreasonable.
Sometimes you can encourage your dog to do something all-together different to express himself – i.e. lie down. This form of dog barking control is a bit trickier as it won’t produce the effect he will intend but it can be worth a try. If your dog likes to bark at strangers that walk by, wait for a stranger and your dogs bark to follow and have him lie down. Once he lies down give him big rewards. Repeat this every time he barks at a stranger, have him go down, follow with reward.
Removing the Stimulus
Removing the stimulus might be the trick to control dog barking. For instance restrict access to the front window if that is where he is finding things to bark at. If is the back door where cats walk by, remove his access to it by blocking that part of the house off. Sometimes you just need to remove the problem all-together. That might mean actually relocating the dog so that he has nothing to bark at. Contain him to a different section of the house, or even a bedroom during the day.
Using a Crate
If you have crate trained your dog, you can use his crate to minimize his or her daily barking while you are gone by putting him in the crate, and placing a blanket over the top half of the crate. This will keep him from seeing things outside the window that will disturb him.
If none of these ideas control your dogs barking, you might want to get a professional trainer involved. A professional trainer can introduce other ways and work with you to develop a positive plan. There are other tools to help as well, i.e. electric shock anti-bark collars and a bark activated herbal spray. These are interesting products but have problems of their own. Be careful using the shock collar method as other barks will set it off and punish your dog, causing a stressed, confused dog. Debarking your dog through surgery is another option but should be a last resort. This can be an expensive solution but is an alternative to giving up your pet. Talk to your vet about this option after you have tried everything here.
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