How Can You Stop Your Dog Barking?
If there is one thing that will set you on a path to war with your neighbours it’s nuisance dog barking.
As you know my breed of choice is a lurcher or greyhound and dog barking is not something that is associated with long dogs.
Despite this you may have a dog that has come from a rescue and picked up bad habits. Even if you have a Lurcher then, by definition, he will be partly of another breed, possibly a vocal one.
If you want top stop unwanted dog barking it is important to understand how his or her mind works.
I find that the easiest way to do this is to put yourself in your dogs position.
You start barking – woof woof.
Your owner shouts “shut up”
Of course being a dog you don’t understand the words you think ” ah, they’re barking at me.
So you bark back – Woof woof.
This time you get a longer and louder reply containing some words that dogs definitely don’t understand and so you respond by barking yet again. We could go on and on, but lets leave it at that.
Your dog doesn’t understand what shut up means.
A Training Story
To illustrate this point a man once owned a monkey. It was straight from the wild and deserted by it’s parents.
The monkey and his owner were the best of friends but one thing was spoiling the relationship.
They monkey would continually go and poo on the sofa. this was not going down well with his owner, so he set about training it in the good old fashioned way.
Every time it used the sofa as a toilet he rubbed it’s nose the mess smacked it’s bum and threw it ou of the window into the garden.
Such was the recommended training of the day.
This technique, however, had no effect until one day when the man happened to walked into the room just as the monkey poo’d on the sofa.
Before he could utter a word the monkey rubbed his nose in the poo, smacked his own bum and dived out of the window.
Another victory for animal psychology.
Ok it’s an old story but I’ll bet there are a lot of people, and I have been one of them, who have fallen into the trap of believing that words and repetition will train animals.
Before I go into the training methods we can employ I want to take a quick look at the popular shortcut.
Anti- Barking Dog Collars
There are several types of anti -barking collar so I’ve tried to pick one good example of each. You may notice that the ratings are all pretty much the same. This is because i have chosen the best in each type or price range.
Three of the selection are beep and buzz warnings and one is a spray type.
( Just a quick word of advice – use the collar only when training I would strongly advise against leaving it on all day )
The sprays contain Citronella and can have a bad effect on an allergic dog, but personally I have never known it.
Some of these devices are so low cost that I’m tempted to say give them a go before you spend hours on conventional training.
So here they are:
Why does your Dog Bark?
In the wild, dogs have their own method of going about things but if you want your dog to be a well-behaved pet and to live in your home with you, you must teach him the human way of living. Specifically, you have to teach your dog to redirect his normal and natural dog behaviours.
Of all the dog behaviour problems that of barking can be the worst and is usually for one of two reasons.
The Garden Barker
Barking dogs are one of the most common complaints of urban and suburban neighbours.
A dog that is left outside will be alert to all the visual and auditory stimuli.
Dogs are usually relegated to the yard because they are not house trained or chew toy trained. If that is the case, you need to house-train and chew toy train your dog.
Take him out from the back garden and bring him into your home! Giving your dog a few well-stuffed chew toys is the easiest and most effective solution.
This way he has something to think about other than barking. A well-stuffed chew toy will keep your dog busy for a while (this means no time for barking). If you need to, put his food bowl away and only feed him from his chew toys. This way, you will keep him very busy!
Attention Seeking Barker
When you are relaxed and in a good mood, tie your dog to a secure spot in the house using his collar and lead.
Stand or sit next to your dog and ignore him. When he barks, move away (and if your are using a gadget ensure that it activates).
When he stops, even for just a moment, move closer. Your dog will soon realise that barking means you leave and quiet means you return.
When he is quiet for 10 to 15 seconds, approach and praise him followed by a treat.
Doing this will help in the next type of barking where you will rely on his trained response to your gadget to do the work.
What if your dog barks because he is bored and stressed when left at home alone? Unfortunately, our canine friends are often left alone for long periods of time.
Being social animals, it is tough for dogs to understand why their family leaves them. However, you can teach your dog to tolerate and even enjoy your absence. First, teach your dog to spend time alone when you are home. Most dog owners make the mistake of spending all the time they are home with their dog at their side.
While this may seem to be a kind and loving act, it only serves to make matters worse.
Your dog will become used to constant companionship and be more likely to fall apart when you leave. Instead, teach your dog to enjoy quiet moments by himself while you are home, so he will feel more confident when you are not there.
Frequently and for short periods of time, confine your dog to another room, his crate or on a tie-down and give him a well-stuffed chew toy to occupy his time.
Leave him for longer periods and have someone listen for barking. When he doesn’t bark reward him on your return.
For longer periods the sounding of a bark collar or similar device should remind him that he is expected to be quiet.
Dogs who bark at the presence of intruders can be a valuable asset. It is very ironic that barking dogs are now such a problem in our society when it is also considered as an alarm.
Actually, barking is believed to be one of the main reasons we domesticated dogs in the first place and one of the reasons we live with dogs today. Usually, it is not the barking that is a problem, just that the dog is a little too enthusiastic. Most people want their dogs to let them know when someone has stepped onto the property. Barking only becomes a problem if the dog does not settle afterwards.
Lurchers are no known for barking but if you can tach your dog to bark and be quiet on cue; thereby having an on/off switch, you will avoid trouble.
To implement this training, invite three friends to come over for a speak-and-shush training session, and within half an hour you will have a well- trained barker. Have your dog’s treat on hand.
Next, instruct your visitors to knock on the door and reward your dog by saying “thank you”, followed by a treat when he barks. Your dog may look a bit shocked for a moment. After all, he is probably used to being yelled at when he barks.
Then, to get him to be quiet, say “shush,” and waggle a piece of treat in front of his nose. Once he sniffs the food, he will be quiet and so give him the treat as a reward. Repeat this many times, and your dog will become increasingly aware of how much fun it is to speak on request and how rewarding it is to shush on request.
I hope taht the above ideas help.
For and Against Using anti-Barking Device
- Strengthens your training with a unique sound
- Can be active even when you are not present for long periods
- In some cases it’s fast and effective
- May pick up other sounds than barking ( i.e. Television) and activate.
- If not trained the dog may try to bark as a response to the sound of the device.
- Not all dogs respond
I know conventional dog trainers will probably disagree with me but I think a anti barking collar is worth a try.
They don’t cost the earth and could save you a lot of time