You love your aging dog, for his protruding grays and those extra few seconds it now takes him to get up. But one thing you probably don’t love is the peace shattering barking he refuses to give up. Does your dog wake you up from every nap with deafening barking as soon as someone walks past your house? Are you fed up of shouting your ‘hellos’ to anyone that comes to visit over persistent barking?
First and foremost, solving this problem will grant you some well-deserved peace and quiet. It will also make having guests over a much more relaxing affair. If your dog scares other dogs and people with his barking then it will also rid you of that. If you’re looking to end the sound of the kennels coming from your house, then tackling your old dog’s barking is definitely advisable.
There are a number of techniques used to stop barking in dogs. Some rely on treats, others use technology, and ironically, some tackle barking with silence, but more on that later. All of these methods have seen significant success, but applying them to old dogs is never straightforward. The older your dog is, the more stuck in their bad habits they are, and barking probably feels like part of their personality by now.
Fortunately, with perseverance you could end your dog’s barking campaign in just a few weeks, finally granting you a relaxing and peaceful day at home. If your dog’s barking aggravates the neighbors too, then getting it sorted might also make you more popular the next time you step out of the front door. So don’t be deterred by the challenge ahead, it won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it!
Before you start tackling the noisy problem at hand, you need to get together a few things. Firstly, get your hands on some treats so you can reward your dog when he makes progress. Also invest in some food puzzles to keep him distracted.
If you’re going to use the ‘Gadgets’ method, you need to get your hands on any number of bark collars and deterrents. They can be bought from a range of online stores and plenty of local pet stores.
Apart from that you just need a positive attitude, a good degree of patience and maybe some ear plugs!
Now you’re prepared, it’s time to tackle that noise pollution…
constantly barks at me when wife and i are together. also barks at any visitorormotion, such as autos moving by. it is a non stop bark
Hello Edward, Has the barking been going all of his life (assuming he is not a recent rescue) or is it more recent? If it's recent, then a trip to your vet's is needed because that could be a sign of early mental decline. If this has been going on for a while and it is not a medical issue, then it sounds like attention seeking barking and simply being overly stimulated by everything. Barking is a self-rewarding behavior. The more your dog barks, the more certain chemicals are released into his brain, encouraging him to bark even more. This is why dogs will get into states of constant barking even after what originally triggered the barking goes away. For that reason, it's important to interrupt the barking right when he starts it, before he gets into a hyper vigilant worked-up state. There are three things that need to happen: 1. Teach him the "Quiet" command by using the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark 2. When he sees or hears something that normally triggers him to bark, tell him "Quiet" in a soft and soothing tone of voice (after you have spent time teaching him the command from the article above - so he understands it). If he does not bark, or barks but then stops right away, then reward him with his favorite treats or something he loves if he does not like food. Look for opportunities to reward him for being quiet - even though you will feel like you should leave him alone since he is being good (rewarding it will train him to do it more often). If he disobeys your "Quiet" command, then you are going to correct him. 3. When he disobeys your "Quiet" command and starts to bark or does not stop barking, then purchase a "Pet Convincer", which is a small canister of pressurized air. Tell him "Ah-Ah" calmly but firmly, and at the same time spray a puff of air at his side near his chest (do not spray him in the face). The puff of air is to interrupt his barking and help him calm back down. When he gets quiet again and stays quiet for a couple of minutes, then praise him softly and reward him with a treat. Repeat this to help with the barking: tell him "Quiet" when he is about to bark or barking, correct him if he barks, and reward him if he gets quiet or remains quiet for a couple of minutes. As he gets better, you can wait until he has been quiet for a little bit longer before you reward him for it. If he is afraid of you and barking out of fear, then you will need to help him get over his fear and your wife should be the one to correct him right now, not you. You however should be the one to reward him when he is quiet. Practice rewarding him for being quiet around you, and whenever you are around him, toss him treats when he is being quiet (even if he is only quiet for a few seconds at first). You are doing this just to help him learn to like and trust you if he is afraid of you. You want to become the treat man - who rewards him whenever he is calm just for being calm around you. For the cars, you will need to start by practicing the training further from the road so that he sees cars but is far enough that he can focus on you when you have treats and stop barking when you tell him to or correct him. If you are too close to the cars at first, then he will likely just fail over and over at first and won't be able to learn - so start further away from the road and get him closer to the cars over time, until he can handle being on the sidewalk and not reacting to them. Also, teach him to "Heel" and when he can handle being on the sidewalk, have him heel and actually focus on you when you walk. This will give him something to do and help him stay focused and relaxed rather than obsessing about the cars. You may find that it's easier to address the car issues with a trainer in person, so that the trainer can help you get a feel for how close to the road you should be, when to reward him timing-wise, how to interrupt him and when. Look for a trainer who will use fair corrections as needed and who will use a lot of positive reinforcement also. You want a trainer who can incorporate both carefully for this issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our lovely 15-year-old terrier has developed a new habit of barking at lunchtime and in the evenings. She knows she gets a treat when we eat lunch around 1pm and around 7pm when we eat dinner (and always has done), but starts 'asking' for it at least an hour in advance before we've even started preparing the meal. If we give it to her then, she starts up again within half an hour and just keeps going. We often take her outside in case she needs the toilet, but that doesn't seem to solve the problem. Once she gets the treat (a dental chew which cleans her teeth), she's almost always quiet but she can only have two a day.
We've tried teaching her the commands 'speak' and 'quiet' but she seems to forget the commands quite quickly (we suspect she has some cognitive degeneration). Should we continue to work on it and hope that eventually she will remember them? We've also tried ignoring her until she's quiet and then rewarding her with the treat and giving her lots of praise, but she gets very distressed and confused so we've struggled to continue with that as we don't like to see her so upset. Should we persevere a little longer with it?
The barking is giving us all a massive headache and we don't know what to do. We'd be very grateful for any suggestions!
Hello Rosie, I suggest looking into an AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor. You can feed her her entire meals using these devices. They can be programmed to detect when she barks and reward her for quietness throughout the day or just at certain times I believe. The food as a reward for being quiet encourages quietness and calmness but it also gives her something to focus on. I would stop the other treats at meal times and do this instead, so that she is focused on the device and not barking for your attention. With a younger dog, you could teach "Quiet", and reward quietness and gently discipline the barking to deal with the issue, but if she does have some mental decline (which is likely at her age), then doing that might lead to confusion and more anxiety. The automatic treat dispensing devices essentially train her for you while also keeping her distracted for a long period of time - so that she is not focused on receiving a treat from you and barking for it. If she is struggling with anxiety due to mental decline, the device may also help her feel happier and calmer during the day because it creates a sense of routine for her. If you still want to give her the dental chew for the teeth cleaning benefit, I suggest giving them to her randomly while she is being quiet, so that they are not her focus and she is not being rewarded for barking. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Thank you Caitlin. We’ve experimented a bit and have had most success with treat-dispensing toys which she seems to enjoy as well as keeping her quiet whilst she’s playing! The treats at mealtimes have been part of her routine for a number of years and she got confused when we tried to stop them, but putting them in the toys seems to have helped. We give them to her before she starts barking, so we’re rewarding quiet rather than barking. It’s probably not a perfect solution, but it’s a lot better than it was! Thank you for your help.
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