From fireworks to the doorbell or people talking in the street, there are many common sounds that will have a reactive dog up on his paws to defend his patch with ferocious barking.
This is all very well, but in the modern city noises outside your dog's core territory (the home!) are a fact of life. It may be things have got to the point where settling down to watch the latest boxed set is simply not possible. You've no sooner got comfy on the sofa when a shout in the street has the dog giving a deafening bark that has you spilling the popcorn. While this is a good tactic form the dog's point of view for scrounging an illicit snack, it's not so great for your nerves (or his waistline.)
Unfortunately, most people's reaction is to yell at the dog to be quiet. At which point, the dog misinterprets your cries as a poor imitation of barking and thinks you're joining in. Instead, what the clever pet parent does is to either teach the dog to be quiet on command or issues an instruction for the dog to carry out which is incompatible with barking.
If this all sounds like wishful thinking, here's how to make it happen.
However, be aware that barking is often deeply ingrained behavior, so things aren't going to change quickly. Don't be discouraged, but instead channel your energy into regular daily training sessions which will help to retrain the dog.
Also, it's important not to accidentally reinforce bad behavior by giving the dog attention when he barks. If necessary, be prepared to leave the room and let the dog get on with barking if that's the only option. At least then you have withdrawn attention, which sends the dog a powerful message and doesn't unwittingly reward him.
The basics you need to teach the dog to lead a quieter life include:
My sweet girl, Baileigh, attacks the tv any time there is a dog on the tv and is progressively getting worse to the point that she's starting to bark and lunge at all animals and some people.. Just on tv though, she's great with people in person. I've tried getting her attention before she escalates, but she goes from 0 to 100 in nothing flat and once her attention is on the tv, it's almost impossible to break without sending her outside. How can I stop this? It's completely stressful to watch tv in our house right now. Our other dog has no concept of what she is doing and doesn't even pay attention to the tv.
Hello Nicole, You can treat her aggression toward the TV the same way that you would treat aggression toward an actual dog. Work on gradually desensitizing her to the TV from a distance overtime, turning her view of dogs and people on television from negative to positive by giving her treats, toys and games, and encouragement whenever she sees the tv on. Start by having her in another room, where she can see the tv from a distance. Command her to do lots of commands in a row, rewarding her with lots of treats each time so that she is having fun and focusing on you and not the tv. Whenever she looks at the tv, get her attention back on you by blocking her view, giving her commands to do, staying up beat yourself, and rewarding her for complying. Also reward her anytime that she looks at the tv and remains calm, looks at the tv and then back at you, and generally does not react to something that she normally would react to. As she improves gradually work closer and closer to the tv, until she can be in the same room with the tv without reacting. Also play games where she is very focused on you and the game and having lots of fun in the presence of the tv, so that she will associate the tv with fun and also become accustomed to ignoring the tv. Once she can be in the same room with the tv without reacting negatively continue to reward her by tossing a treat over to her and praising her while you watch tv, whenever something that used to up set her comes on and she remains calm, or before she has the chance to react, so that you are communicating to her how she should react before she fails. You can also give her something to do while you watch tv such as chew a Kong stuffed with food, get food out of a dog puzzle or wobble toy, or look for treats that you have hidden in the room. This might help her fixate on the tv less and get aroused. While you are still working on this, she will need to stay out of the tv room any time that you are watching tv and not able to work with her, until she gets to the point where she can calmly be in the room with the tv. All of her experiences with the tv need to be positive and not negative for the training to work, so work on the training often to get to the point where she can be in the room with the tv, so that she can be with you while you watch again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Rescued at 5 years, never house trained, goes outside great if my idea, but does not communicate to me when she has to go...sneaks off to laundry room to pee & poop... HELP
Hello Vicki, Check out the article linked below, and one of the methods like the "Peanut Butter" method (which can also be done with soft cheese) to teach Roxie to ring a bell when she needs to go potty. Once she is trained to ring a bell, when she goes potty outside after ringing the bell, reward her with a couple of small treats in a row, to motivate her to let you know when she needs to go outside. https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out While she is still learning to ring the bell, use the Tethering method from the article linked below when you are home (potty breaks can be less frequent than the method mentions since she is older), and crate her when you cannot supervise. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside The inside accidents need to be preventing while she is learning a good outside/alerting you habit for the training to be effective. Also, use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean up any accidents do that the smell is removed well enough. Other cleaners don't remove it enough for a dog's nose not to smell it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have a 10 month old Bernedoodle and she has recently started barking excessively in the house and backyard. I try to keep her active as much as possible. She attends doggie day care 3x/week and on days she isn't at day care, we go on several long walks and play as much as we can with her. She has the stimulation toys and puzzles as well. With all of this, she still barks all day. Every noise from the tv, the washer / dryer, neighbors walking by or mowing the lawn, cars driving down the street, or event he wind or a bird chirping sets her off and the barking is constant and all day. DO you have any additional tips to stop the barking? I already closed all the curtain and try to limit stimulus but nothing has seemed to work at all.
Hello Kaitlin, I suggest combining two things: First, work on teaching her the "Quiet" command. Reward her for obeying your quiet command, for not barking at things that normally set you off, and generally rewarding her when she is calm - make the reward calm and your praise soft though. Second, I suggest using a bark collar. Look for a high quality bark collar, such as Dogtra, Sportdog, or Garmin. Read reviews to find a good one. Do not use a poorly made collar - these can be faulty and harmful. Also, use a stimulation collar or non-scented air collar. Do not use citronella (citronella lingers too long and can be confusing and too harsh for a dog's sensitive nose). I suggest a stimulation collar because unscented air is often less effective. Combine rewards for her quietness with the collar for the barking. Do not skip the rewards part. The rewards for her calmness and quietness will ultimately help her learn how to relax and be quiet around different stimuli, the collar will just interrupt her barking long enough to him you the opportunity to reward her for being calm around something that she would normally bark at, when you are there to do so. Barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the chemicals that are released in a dog's brain when they bark. It can be habit forming and satisfying so many dogs learn to bark obsessively. The collar helps interrupt that cycle before the dog escalates and the rewards for quietness help the dog learn how to be in a different state of mind around exciting things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog likes to bark when there is someone near or close to the front door. She especially barks when the door bell rings or when there's a knock on the door. Another reason she barks is if our guest bedroom is being used and the guest makes her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I believe it scares her because she's not using having a guest. We have taught her the quiet command and she listens half the time but would continue barking if you stop saying "quiet."
Hello Jessica, Check out the videos linked below for how to desensitize to noises. Barking in general: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Barking when guests arrive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA&t=494s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our two elderly springers have suddenly started barking when we're out. I don't think it's separation anxiety as they are quite happy for us to go out and curl up in their beds but I wondered if they may be suffering with dementia. I have been getting complaints from neighbours so have been recording them on the rare occasion when we do both go out - which isn't very often as I work from home. They can be quiet for an hour then something sets them off and they bark and howl until we get back. It is getting so we can never leave them alone. I put them in a room with the curtains closed and music playing and I've just bought a security camera and am going to see if I can find out what noise sets them off. I'm going to try to teach the quiet command and if successful hope the two way function of the camera may work as they can hear you if you speak to them. Any help would be appreciated as we are at our wits end
Hello Julie, At this age it is very possible there is some form of mental decline. They could also be loosing hearing or eye sight which can make dogs more nervous because it's hard for them to figure out their environment. The camera is a good idea because I would first want to rule out what noise is setting them off - if it's a new noise to them, they may simply be reacting to something they find suspicious and desensitizing them to that noise using rewards when you are home could help them relax around it and not bark so much. If it is mental decline, then you may want to look into Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer - which is a device that rewards a dog for quietness periodically. If there is mental decline it will be less effective than with a young dog, but could help keep them in a more positive mood by periodically rewarding them, which can help with the anxiousness overall. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Roxy hears noises outside the apartment and will bark at any time of the night. Even if she is in my bed sleeping. She has a sensitive stomach so she doesn't get treats often and she isn't interested in eating her dog food as a treat. How can I stop her from barking?
Hello Ariana, Check out the videos linked below. Find her favorite toys and think of her favorite games, such as tug of war or fetch. Have a little tug or ball toss to her every time she does well, instead of feeding food. You can also use affection and confident sounding praise as rewards. Barking at noises desensitization: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Barking series of videos if you need additional examples: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Another option is a bark collar that uses stimulation. I find that working on desensitization first is a good ideal, then teaching the quiet command, then having the bark collar be the enforcement if reminders are needed. If you go the bark collar route, do NOT use citronella, and do some research into brands and types - they are not all created equal and you want a good one for safety and effectiveness reasons. Quiet method for teaching the Quiet command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Try using plain liver paste (like what's used to make the dip pate) as a reward for this command to avoid stomach upset but still motivate her. Freeze dried meat meal toppers without a lot of additional ingredients are also good for some sensitive dogs, such as Nature's variety freeze dried meal toppers or Stella and chewy freeze dried meal toppers. Read ingredients and choose which one based on what you know she currently tolerates well in her dog food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello! I have two questions;
1. My dog growls at EVERY noise! We don't know why or how to stop him because he knows he's not allowed, so after he growls, he acts like he's sorry and in trouble.
2. He really doesn't like strangers touching him. Or being too close to him. He likes 6 people, which consists of my family and my boyfriend's family. But anyone else than us he doesn't like, including fast children. He was exposed as a puppy, he had an incident where a child cornered him and scared him. But he even started to bite my SO's grandfather,(the pants). He doesn't do that to anyone else.
Hello Kimberley, I highly suggest hiring a trainer who specializes in behaviors issues and aggression to help you. Look for a trainer who is very experienced with a variety of types of aggression. You can also work on desensitizing pup to being touched, starting with you touching pup, progressing to family members pup knows, and gradually working up to willing friend's who pup doesn't know - once pup has shown a lot of improvement with those he does know. Use pup's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Work on desensitizing pup to the things he is nervous around. Expose him to those things from a distance - close enough that he notices them but far enough that he will still take food while around the thing he would normally growl at. Teach the Quiet command, and use it with growling too until he understands that it means stop barking AND stop growling. Once pup knows Quiet, when he is around something he would normally growl at, tell him "Quiet" before he growls, and reward with treats if he doesn't growl. Tell him "Ah Ah" calmly and interrupt the growling if he disobeys and growls anyway. Practice at a safe distance from things and reward him every time he does well and remains quiet, also reward him whenever he stays quiet without having to be told when he is around something he would normally growl at - pay attention and make a list of common growl triggers. Adding more structure and confidence building exercises can also help anxious and aggressive dogs feel more trusting and secure. Some dogs are simply born more timid or aggressive, despite efforts to socialize well. That doesn't mean that training doesn't offer improvement but sometimes the reason simply comes down to pup's inherited temperament when another reason can't be found - it's possible that's the case with pup, or something else, like a lack of socialization in a certain area, happened. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you For general nervous, some confidence building exercises may also help his overall attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog has always barked at sounds he hears outside, in the hall of our building. However, it’s gotten worse in the last month. I mean constant barking. He’s part shitzhu part terrier. He has also seemingly started barking for attention. I honestly don’t know. Sometimes he barks non stop and we can’t hear anything outside. Sometimes he doesn’t seem to bark at anything.
He doesn’t seem to be in pain as he plays and has energy, soooo much energy. We walk him a lot and give him a lot of exercise and training. We are at our wits end.. while we would never give him away we are so stressed out. Help!
Hello Catherine, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - which will be a form of correction - neither too harsh nor ineffective. An e-collar or Pet Convincer are two of the most effective types of interrupters for most dogs. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). An e-collar, aka remote training collar, uses stimulation to interrupt the dog. Only use a high quality e-collar for this, such as E-collar technologies mini educator, Dogtra, SportDog, or Gamin. A good collar should have at least 40 levels, the more levels the more accurately you can train - finding the lowest level your dog will respond to, called a "Working level" so the training is less adverse. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Most bark training only gives part of that equation. Fitting an e-collar - it should be put on while he is calm, just standing around - Ideally have him wear the collar around for a while before starting any training so he won't associate the training with the collar but just with his barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding the level to use for him (sometimes you will have to go 1 or 2 levels higher during training while the dog is aroused but once he improves you can usually decrease back to his normal level again) - this training level is called a dog's "Working level": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T bark around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. An automatic bark collar can also be used during times when he likes to bark while you aren't there after the initial training is done - so he understands that the correction is for his barking at that point in the training. While you are not home, confine him in a crate or room that doesn't look out the windows right now - barking at things out the window lets him practice the bad behavior over and over again and barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the arousing chemicals released in a dog's brain - so once a dog starts he is naturally encouraged to continue it and stays in that state of mind if you aren't there to interrupt. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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