I got this via email: Nice dog but barks! My son crates him but he barks in the crate and barks to come inside. We tried the bark/shock collar thing but it didn’t work. He barked anyway and eventually (after 2 days) tore the collar up. Any suggestions? We are so desperate we actually called the vet about having his bark removed.
Yeah, that just drives you NUTS, doesn’t it? Not much more irritating than a dog that barks CONSTANTLY. It goes on and on my friend…
Okay – couple things. How old is this dog? (your dog) Is this a Well established habit? Or is it a puppy wanting attention?
Biggest difference there, is, just like humans, it takes longer to break a well established habit than one newly formed.
Okay – now realize dogs bark and some breeds bark more than others.
“Yappy little dogs” got their name for a reason. Naggers I call them.
But bigger dogs bark too.
Now, the dog training books will tell you ‘find out why he’s barking’. And I KNOW you don’t care why he’s barking. You just want it stopped.
But its kinda important. Some dogs, like some people, just really like the sound of their own voice. Some are bored. Some have learned they get attention from barking. Some are anxious. Some are ‘alerting’. Some are just passing the time of day, like we hum.
So the first thing we are going to do for our insistently barking dog is give him more exercise. More physical and mental stimulation. I don’t care what you are doing now – quadruple it. If you are going four blocks on your walk, go 16. If you are asking him to sit before he eats, ask him to sit four times – and then lay down and then sit up and shake hands. Give that dog a job. More exercise. Wear him out.
The other thing is what do you want him to do instead? Just like when you try to give up smoking, you have much better luck when you replace it with something else. “Here, carry this rope in your mouth.” Think of another active behavior for you to ask him to do when he barks. Dogs have a really hard time with “DO NOTHING, DOG!” An active behavior to replace it helps.
Teaching him new things will stimulate his brain and make him tired. Something to teach him is to bark ‘on command’. I like to teach mega barkers to ‘count’. One two three and then quiet. Stimulate them to bark (Oh stop laughing! I KNOW that’s not hard!) and then put it on a cue. “One!” Hold up a finger. “Two!” Hold up two fingers. Then – yay! “HUSH!” Is also a command. Treat and be done with that trick.
Acknowledge the barking. Especially if its ‘alert’ barking. Say the same words “Thank you!” or “I see that!” are good ones. If the dog is ‘alerting’ to the leaf blowing, eventually you will not have to get up and go look ‘with’ the dog, but will be able to call “I see that!” from your cozy chair.
Put the dog on a routine if they aren’t. Establishing patterns make them more secure.
And conversely, change it, if they are on one. Shake it up baby! Do something new and different.
Okay – that will get you started – tomorrow I’ll talk about specific exercises to do to help stop barking
and Crate Barking.
Got barking questions?? Bring them on!