Dogs barking must be one of the most annoying things at times. It causes stress for you, makes you jump up to see who's at the door, shout "STOP IT", annoys the neighbours, and might frighten people or other animals outside. So how to we can we stop our dogs barking?
The first thing to ask is - WHY -
Why is my dog barking?
There are a number of different reasons that your dog might bark. These include
- they're afraid
- they're excited
- they're having fun
- they've learned that it gets attention
- they don't like being left alone
- they don't like people visiting
- they want the posty to go away
- they want the visitor to come in and give them a biscuit
- they want people - or cars - or dogs to keep going past their house
Just imagine each of these situations. They are all different. Your dog FEELs differently in these each of these situations. And, given that the best way to change a dog's behaviour is to help them feel differently, then understanding the root cause and how they feel will help us to take steps towards a more effective solution. There may of course be more than one reason or situation where you want to stop your dog barking. So, it's important to look at all of the reasons and work on fixing these one at a time.
So, here's some guidance on
How to make your dog FEEL better so they won't bark........
|Are they barking because they're excited?
||we need to teach them to be calm
|Are they barking because they're afraid?
||we need to help them overcome their fears. Reading up on how to help your dog overcome their fireworks fear here, will help to explain this. .... more info coming soon....
|Are they barking for attention?
||we need to teach them to ask politely for your attention - and - to not need your attention quite so much.
|Is your dog barking aggressively?
||we need to determine what's causing the aggressive feeling, and help your dog feel differently. Aggression is usually rooted in fear, so we need to help your dog overcome that fear. Of course the behaviour may be due to disliking other dogs for instance - why? Does your dog dislike people and barks at them? Again we need to help your dog stop barking by helping them to feel calm around people and dogs etc.
Stopping your dog barking when they're aggressive really needs the help of a experienced and qualified behaviourist > look here.
|Is your dog barking at night?
||This is probably because they don't want to be left alone. This puppy training note on how to stop your puppy whining and barking may help > click here
|Is your dog barking at the posty?
||What's weird here is that the reason your dog is barking is that they've learned that if they bark at the posty, he'll go away! Read more on how to stop your dog barking at the postman here > more
|Are they barking when they're left home alone?
||The probability is that they're barking to get you to come home - because they don't like being left home alone. Here's more dog behaviour help on helping your dog to cope with separation issues > click here
|Are they barking when in the garden?
||If your dog or puppy is let out to the garden and left there to their own devices and start to bark at e.g. birds or people etc, then there are a few things to do. Firstly - you need to stop it. Sorry - but even although you might think it's nice to let them out to the garden for fresh air and 'cruel' to keep them inside - all that you're doing when you let them out and they bark is to allow them to continue to repeat the barking behaviour. So they really can't be left out on their own - you need to be with them, ready to distract at the tiniest first sign that they might bark - or bring them straight back inside.
Training - You should hopefully have done some training with your dog or puppy. Have you practiced that training in the garden? If not - look for quiet times, and then go practice training in the garden. If you haven't done any training .e.g. sit - down - look at me - then start off practicing in the house.
Distraction - you might get away with just giving your dog or puppy something else to do - like - playing fetch - or chewing - or playing with a food ball. If your dog will concentrate on these things in the garden, then you want to give them lots of short practice sessions at - doing something else! WHat's happening here then is that your dog is learning to do something else and learning to ignore the things that they're barking at.
So, in short the reason that your dog is barking is many fold. But for sure, they think that it's the right thing to do. It makes them feel better. Shouting makes them feel better internally, and whatever they want to happen to whatever is around them changes, and makes them feel better too.
Stopping your dog barking can be a complex problem to fix. It's about changing your dog's emotions. That's how to stop your dog barking.
Please DON'T punish your dog for barking - don't yell, don't hit, don't use a choke chain, don't use a spray collar, don't use an electric collar - not one of these dog training devices will help your dog to FEEL BETTER - it will only make them feel worse about the situation they find themselves in. They can't tell us how they feel in words. Barking it their way of speaking to us - it's just not what we want them to do.
The only dog training aid to stop barking that we recommend is the Husher. BUT - this is an aid towards helping with your dogs barking problem. As noted above, the Husher won't change how your dog feels when they're barking. And so, please therefore seek professional help to get holistic help on how to stop your dog barking.
You might be worried about using a spray collar or Husher on your dog. This paper, published in 2004 by the Australian RSPCA proves that shock collars cause emotional problems at the time, and afterwards, and that the Husher is a stress free approach to helping with your dog's barking (in conjunction with behaviour therapy, as noted above).