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
Was this experience helpful?
Hi we rescued sonny just over a year ago so are unsure of his previous circumstances. When in the garden he continuously barks at birds flying overhead, we have trees surrounding our garden so as you can imagine this can be quite irritating for the neighbors. We have tried a clicker, distracting with treats and putting him inside but he seems to get bored/used to these after a while any ideas ? :)
Hello Georgia, I recommend combining a few things in your case. First, work on teaching the Quiet command and once he knows that command, practice in the garden around the birds. Once he can respond, then reward primarily at times when he stays quiet when a bird is present - instead of just barking then stopping. Practice this often to help desensitize him and create a habit of not barking - the habit part is important. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, give him something to do while in the garden, other than barking. I suggest a dog-food stuffed chew toy or automatic treat dispensing device, or dog food filled puzzle toy. You won't want to leave those things out there overnight due to animals, but using food filled toys can help train him to occupy himself with his own toys. Look up different ways to stuff Kongs to make them interesting and try a few different ways to see what he lives. Adding liver paste to the toy can also make it more interesting. Finally, barking is a self-rewarding behavior due to the chemicals released in a dog's brain when they bark. Some especially notorious barkers are almost "addicted" to barking itself. Try the above training by itself first, but if you are still struggling, you probably need a form of interrupter - especially one that will work even when pup can't see you. This could be an unscented air canister - called a Pet convincer, which is sprayed briefly at pup's side while saying "Ah Ah" when they disobey your Quiet command (don't use citronella and don't spray in the face), a remote training collar (many high quality e-collars have tone, vibration, and stimulation). You could use the tone as a reminder to be quiet, followed by a brief vibration to interrupt pup - each time they bark, or the lowest level of stimulation pup responds to - called a "working level". There are also stimulation based and unscented air spray collars that are automatic - called "bark collars". Don't use the citronella variety because they are too harsh for a dog's sensitive nose and can linger the scent, making the training confusing. Some dogs will respond to just the air puff but others will need vibration or stimulation instead. If you go a remote collar or bark collar route - it's extremely important to only use a high quality one, such as E-collar technologies, Dogtra, SportDog, or Garmin. Cheap, less known brands online can potentially be dangerous due to poor quality. It's also extremely important to combine corrections with the Quiet training and desensitizing, rewards for not barking, and toys to help with the boredom. The point of the corrections is to "snap" pup out of barking long enough to give an opportunity for pup to learn to calm down and be quiet - then be rewarded for it with toys and treats, to create a new, better quiet habit, in place of the barking. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
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.
Was this experience helpful?
Hi, I recently moved from the country into a small town. I believe my dog is having separation anxiety when I leave for work. He doesn't bark at any noises when I'm at home and the people downstairs have complained about him barking. What can I do to help him? I've tried a bone filled with peanut butter, I have a fan and air conditioner on to decrease noise as well as the curtains closed to decrease sight. I've also laid blankets and clothes that I've worn on the floor.
Hello Yvette, First, check out Pet Tutor and AutoTrainer. These devices can be programmed to automatically dispense a treat whenever it detects he is quiet. This can give him something to focus on throughout the day. If he is bored, a bit nervous, or barking because he is unsure of the new place, then that device may be enough. If it truly is separation anxiety, then he probably won't be interested in food until the behavior is interrupted. I suggest setting up a camera to spy on him and see why he is barking. Does it only happen when a neighbor makes a noise and you aren't there for him to relax about it? Is he showing other signs of separation anxiety like panting, trying to escape, not eating, having accidents, or generally panicking - a lot of barking is due to boredom or other reasons and mistaken for separation anxiety, and that effects how you treat it sometime. Does he bark the whole time or just a few minutes? If you have two tablets or smart phones you can Skype or Facetime each other on mute and use that to Spy. You can also use a GoPro with the Liveapp, Security monitor, video baby monitor, or any other camera with viewing you have. Spy on him and get an idea of what's going on when you leave. Leave like normal when you do this and then return to spy from outside - where he can't hear or see you. If it is separation anxiety, the first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him again. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. If he isn't destructive outside of the crate when you leave, then after he has been in the habit of staying calm and quiet in the crate for at least three months, you can try leaving the crate door open if you want to, and spying on him with the camera. If he starts to bark or get anxious, correct that behavior again the way you did at first with the e-collar - but this time he should understand the correction well enough that the crate won't be as important - at first the crate is needed to help him learn to be calm instead. Keep him away from windows where he can look out and practice being protective and suspicious though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Jax is a 7 y/o beagle terrier mix. He barks at a lot of things and some times even for no reason. Unfortunately, he did not receive the proper training he needs early to prevent the behaviour. I am thinking about using a noise collar or another tech device along with using treats and distractions. I am just worried that the effects of the collar will not be as strong as in the beginning because he will get used to the sound. How effective, in your experience are these collars?
Hello Madeleine, Honestly, I find stimulation based collars more effective than noise or scent based ones. My least favorite collars are citronella ones - the citronella can linger a really long time and because dogs's noses are so sensitive and the smell can linger for so long, those types of collars can actually be the most harsh type and the least effective because the correction (scent) doesn't go away as soon as the barking stops, so the dog is corrected for barking but then continues to be corrected even after they become quiet. You want something that stops correcting as soon as the dog gets quiet. I suggest teaching a dog the Quiet command before starting with a bark collar. Check out the Quiet method from the article linked below. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once pup knows Quiet well, tell pup Quiet and reward when pup stops barking or doesn't bark to begin with, then add the bark collar and when pup barks the collar will correct also automatically - then pup is taught not to bark and to be quiet instead and the overall training is more effective and less harsh. I also prefer the bark collars that can be set you a certain level manually instead of only having the auto rise setting - this lets you find the correct level for pup without going too high or too low and tends to stop the barking quicker. To find the right level, you will start with the lowest level then gradually go up in levels until you find a level pup responds to - this response doesn't have to be a big response, just any indication that pup feels the stimulation. Walking away, scratching, shaking their head, stopping barking, moving their ears, or any other small indication they feel it is what you are looking for. When pup indicates they can feel that level then give pup some time to realize that the correction is associated with their barking - before you expect the bark collar to work. Rewarding pup for Quiet during this time can help pup figure it out sooner. Only use a high quality bark collar. There is a world of difference in the safety and effectiveness of bark collar from reputable brands and cheap online collars from less reputable sources. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Zero has always excitedly barked whenever someone comes over. Everything with that sets him off, the doorbell, knocking, saying "Hello" or "hi." Now it's so bad, that whenever someone comes through the garage door, he goes crazy. Even if it's me going to the garage and then coming back in a few minutes later. We now have massive anxiety whenever we need to have people over or we need to bring him anywhere. His barks are very loud too. Help?
Hello Brooke, I suggest desensitizing pup to the things that normally trigger his barking, starting with the smaller things first, then working up to putting all the events preceeding a guest coming over together and practicing desensitizing pup to the entire event. Check out the video linked below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA That trainer also has several other videos, detailing barking at other specific things too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Cesar came to me 6 mos ago, 10 years old. I live on a hill, in the woods, with a view of a lake and the town on the other side. As I changed the bfence to a board to wired, Cesar sees the train, as a metal snake across the waters. Very scarey!
Bark, bark, bark!
When I sit down next to him and stroke him, telling him it's okay, he grumpingly quiets down. He positions himself at all times to keep an eye for the next train.
When I put him in his crate and close the door, he stays quiet.
Cesar barks at the wind, a lot. I live on a hillside, much win noisy wind here.
He barks at visitors, but befriends them quickly.
Cesar is so cute! It sounds like he is a lucky dog and now has a lovely place to live. I think he is doing well - the fact that when you sit next to him as a way to quiet him down and he stops, is excellent. Unless his little outbursts bother you, I would not worry too much about it. But if you would like to try to teach him to not bark, you can take a look here:https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking-in-the-yard and https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking-3. Good luck and have fun!
Was this experience helpful?
Maddy barks a lot even though we raised her around people. She never barks unless there is a person she doesn't know within her line of site. She never barks at other animals or for no reason just at people. This makes it incredibly difficult to do things like take her to the park or to the pet store with me. I also need to register as an emotional support animal but can't do that until she can learn to not bark at people
Was this experience helpful?
Tucker barks too much. He seems to bark the most when someone comes near our home, near me or near our other dog who is very gentle and also 9 years old. His name is Bentley. If I walk Tucker by himself he does not bark any where close to as much as he does when I have both dogs out together. Unfortunately, I do not usually have time to walk them separately. Tucker also never does one bark. It is always barking for up to a minute or longer. He does not know how to calm himself down. Any recommendations
Hello! If Tucker knows basic training commands, I would start carrying treats with you and when he gets going with his barking, ask him to perform a command and then give him a treat. This will engage his brain, and re-route his response to be constructive with his behavior instead of reactive. Dogs are creatures of habits. Once he gets into the habit of sitting when he sees a trigger, he will start doing it automatically.
Was this experience helpful?
I’m having a hard time getting my dog to relax and not bark at every person, dog and other things outside.
Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” The training advice below is geared towards other dogs, but the information can be used on people, or anything else your dog may be reactive to. Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!
Was this experience helpful?
Hi! My 12 year old Coton Nikko barks uncontrollably (barking, whining, yelping, etc) as well as going straight at any person or dog that he encounters in his line of sight. Treats don't distract him (he is generally very food motivated), and seems to forget his own name in these moments. I do not know what to do to train him to stop. It makes going on walks close to impossible.
Hello Michael, I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have his mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with him having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if he isn't calm. He should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk he should be in the heel position - with his head behind your leg. That position decreases his arousal, reduces stress because he isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents him from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind him. It also requires him to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive he is - it makes him feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not his around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as he starts staring them down, interrupt him. Don't tolerate challenging stares at other dogs. Remind him with a fair correction that you are leading the walk and he is not allowed to break his heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for him in the long-run. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Outside of the walk you can work on building pup's trust and respect for you in other ways too. The following commands and exercises are also good for that: If nervousness is ever an issue - Agility/obstacles for building confidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M A long down stay around distractions is a good thing to practice during walks periodically. Eventually, when pup can get closer to other dogs through other training practice, a good way to do introductions with other dogs is to recruit friends with calm dogs and use the Passing Approach and the Walking together methods from the article linked below. After a few practice session of this, when the dogs can calmly walk side by side finally, take pups on walks together with both in a structured, focused heel. This gives both dogs something other than each other to focus on, keeps their energy calm, and helps them associate each other with the pleasant experience of a walk. Repeat this with lots of different dogs, one or two dogs at a time - you want other dogs to be associated with calmness, pleasant experiences, and boring things - not roughhousing, wrestling, nose-to-nose interactions always, or being rushed by them. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Sometimes you can even find others to practice with through obedience clubs, meetup groups, or hiking groups. I also recommend reaching out to a private trainer who specializes in aggression in your area, to help you in person. Look for someone who comes well recommended by their previous clients, and ideally who works with a team of trainers so that multiple people and the trainers' dogs can practice the desensitization around pup. If you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, that would also help if pup is okay with people up close (even though reactive on leash). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
We adopted our boy the end of last year. He is such a sweetie, loves everyone, is potty trained and kennel trained. The only issue is that he goes absolutely bezerk when someone knocks on the door or comes super close to our house and he can see them. How would you train the knocking part? That's the biggest thing we are worried about. We don't want him scaring people away when they come knock to drop off treats or something! Thanks for your help:)
Hello Jaina, Check out the Quiet method linked below - it has more details on how to trigger the barking to teach Speak and Quiet. I also recommend practicing that method not just until pup learns the Quiet command, but also until pup automatically doesn't bark when they hear the door knock - because they have gotten so desensitized to the knocking and expect to be given a treat for getting Quiet right after. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Finally, check out this video below for more details on desensitizing to guests at the door. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=6&t=2s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Mabel has developed a bad habit of howling in her crate whenever I leave my apartment. She starts within 5-10 minutes of me leaving and doesn't stop. I am concerned about her wellbeing when I leave as well as my neighbors as they have already complained to me!
Hi there. It sounds like there may be some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.
Was this experience helpful?
Barks when I'm on the phone and jumps up when people come into my house
Hello Carole, I recommend desensitizing pup to you being on the phone. Check out the video linked below for an example of desensitizing a dog to someone at the door - use the same method for the phone, but instead practice with the phone ringing, you answering it, and you speaking on the phone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA For the jumping, I recommend the Step Toward and Leash method from the article linked below if pup does not have any issues with aggression, but is jumping due to excitement. If aggressive, the jumping will need to be dealt with differently though since the motivate for pup jumping is likely different and there would be safety concerns. You can use both method for yourself and household members. For guests I recommend the Leash method to be more respectful of guests' personal space. Step Toward and Leash: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
He is the perfect dog with only one bad quality.
He goes mental when anybody walks or he hears anyone outside. When somebody knocks or rings the doorbell then he barks alot as well.
When some1 new comes into our house, or any house really then he barks at them. This means usually people pet him until he stops.
I can also notice that he is often really 100% calm. When laying or chilling with me then he is constantly aware of his surroundings with his ears for example.
Hello, It sounds like pup has become overly sensitized to those noises and the anticipated excitement of guests. Check out the video linked below on how to desensitize pup to guests and the things that lead up to and are associated with the arrival of a person. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Junior was a rescue dog got him 4 years ago. His eye was shot out with a bb gun. He barks so violently at school buses delivery trunks and at people. We have trying to get him to stop by saying enough it works sometimes. He gets so crazy he seems not to be able to stop himself. I think sometimes he will have a heart attack or stroke. Any ideas to help. Even if he can't see the truck with the curtains closed he hears it.
Hello Linda, I recommend desensitizing pup to the vehicles, starting with just their noises while they are out of sight. Because of pup's strong reaction to them you may want to consider hiring a professional trainer with experience in this area, who comes well recommended by their previous clients to help with this in person at your home. Check out the Desensitize method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out this video series on desensitizing dogs to various barking triggers, as examples of how to desensitize and counter condition - which is helping a dog associate something they dislike with good things so they no longer dislike that thing and can behave more normally around it. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a You will also want to make sure you are using a harness/collar and leash set up that pup cannot get away from you with or break or slip out of, for safety reasons. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
River was surrendered to a dog pound some 2 months ago, he’s lived in the pound then a foster took him in for a few weeks before we brought him home, so we don’t know much about him at all.
River is healthy apart from shaky back legs, calm and gentle with people in general, but when we’re out on walks, he barks at every dog he sees, and it’s quite a vicious bark, and he lunges at them even with a leash on, this is causing some problems for us, so wondering which is the best method to go about helping him please, thank you.
Hello. Barking and excitability can be a challenging behavior to turn around. Because it is so complex, I am sending you an article full of great information that can help you. https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-behavior-training/excessive-barking-in-dogs/
Was this experience helpful?
My dog won't stop barking, we have tried the collars that send out a high frequency sound but it didn't work. Could you help?
Hello Ava, What and when is pup barking? Sometimes there is an underlying issue that also needs to be addressed, like a fear or territorial behavior or aggression. The barking may also need to be addressed with a more comprehensive approach - desensitizing pup to what they tend to bark at, interrupting the barking (like the collar you tried by itself), and then also rewarding pup when they are quiet. With all all three pieces of that puzzle, pup may not understand they they are being corrected for barking, so the correction is random, stressful and unproductive - thus they need to be desensitized to what they are barking at and taught something like a Quiet command. When they bark after being told quiet and are then corrected, it's easier for them to link the correction with their disobedience of Quiet. When pup stops barking or doesn't bark at something they normally would have and you praise and reward them for that behavior, that allows them to learn that instead of barking they can choose quietness to get what they want, and they can feel calmer around certain triggers. I would work on teaching Quiet, desensitizing pup to what they are barking at, correcting when they bark even when told to be Quiet and after being desensitized to something, then rewarding them when you catch them choosing calmness and quietness, obeying your Quiet command, and especially obeying your quiet command AND staying quiet for a certain amount of time - start with a few seconds and work up to several minutes before rewarding. Quiet method and Desensitize method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
wont stop barking at the window, anytime she hears or sees anything she barks. we close the blinds she barks. we tried one of the those collars to stop barking it doesn’t work. it’s really annoying. she wasn’t like this before she didn’t bark or anything. when my stepdad brought his dogs home , they barked and stuff so i guess she assumed that it was okay so she started doing it but 10x worse.
Hello Sophia, It sounds like pup has probably become overly sensitive to the things they are barking at and needs to be desensitized. Check out the Quiet and Desensitize methods from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Also, check out the video series I have linked below, which contains various examples of desensitizing pup to certain things. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Hi! My girl is 11 years this summer and she always barks when I let her outside. I've had her since I was a kid and she always barked when she went out. When me and my husband moved she was perfectly fine, she would only bark if someone rang the doorbell and she would spend hours outside without barking. However, a few months ago the neighbors got a new dog, and they bark at each other constantly. It's got to the point now where she will bark and pace the fence even if the other dog isn't out. If my husband is home she will pace the fence but won't bark. Is there anything I can do? My husband is leaving for 6 months and I don't want to have to give her back to my parents because her barking is a nuisance