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How to Stop Your Dog from Barking: MyPetlearn Dog Barking Control Tips
By Debra Horwitz, DVM, Diplomate ACVB and Gary Landsberg, DVM, Diplomate ACVB
Why do dogs bark?
Barking is natural…
- As a territorial warning signal to other dogs and pack members
- When separated from the pack or family members
- When exposed to novel or unusual stimuli (sounds, sights or odors)
- If the dog is indecisive, anxious, or frustrated
- With some medical problems, especially in older dogs
How can I control dog barking?
First, try these training techniques to prevent barking:
- If you have a puppy, get her used to as many new people, animals, and noises as possible. (See Puppy – Training Basics.)
- Use Crate Training to help decrease your dog's anxiety when left alone. A consistent, predictable daily routine helps your dog stay calm.
- Consider having a second dog. This may greatly reduce distress barking when your dog can’t be with family members.
- Try DAPTM, a synthetic pheromone, which sometimes stops dogs from barking.
- Train your dog to be "quiet" on command by teaching him to bark on cue.
- Use a stimulus that causes the dog to bark and pair it with a 'bark' command. Repeat often to allow the dog to associate the word 'bark' with the action. Then turn off the barking by removing the stimulus and giving a 'hush' or 'quiet' command just before barking subsides. When your dog quiets, give a favored treat/reward.
- Or, wait until your dog is barking, such as in response to a doorbell. While he’s barking, place a very tasty food treat by his nose. Most dogs will stop barking to sniff the treat.
What if I already have a barking dog problem?
- Never reward barking with attention. Instead, reward and reinforce calm and quiet behaviors.
- Don’t aggravate the problem by yelling or punishing. This may increase your dog’s barking and anxiety.
- Try a remote leash and head halter. Disrupt the dog with a pull on the leash, which closes the mouth, while you give a verbal command such as 'quiet' or 'hush.'
- Try removing your dog from stimuli that causes barking. Confine him to a crate or room away from doors/windows, or cover windows. Or, try masking bark-stimulating sounds with a covered crate, music, or white noise devices.
- If your dog barks for other reasons (fear, separation anxiety, or compulsive disorders) your veterinarian must treat the condition.
Are anti-barking devices effective?
Sometimes. Let’s look at the different types.
Owner-Activated Anti-Barking Devices: Most useful for getting your dog’s attention (disruption) during quiet command training. However, without concurrent retraining techniques, many dogs begin to ignore the devices.
Bark-Activated Products: In conjunction with environmental modification and retraining, they can stop dogs from barking when you’re away. Whether they emit an audible alarm or spray water each time the dog barks, they can ensure immediate and accurate results.
Anti-Bark Dog Collars: Audible and ultrasonic training coll...
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