How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking at Noises

Hard
2-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Is the quiet of a relaxed evening at home frequently shattered by loud volleys of dog barking? 

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. 

Defining Tasks

Teaching a dog to stop barking at noises, is just that. This near-miracle is achieved either through teaching the dog the "Quiet" command or by giving him an alternative action to undertake which is incompatible with barking. The latter could be picking up a ball and holding it in his mouth or going to a mat to lie down.

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 At least then you have withdrawn attention, which sends the dog a powerful message and doesn't unwittingly reward him. 

Getting Started

Teaching a dog not to bark at noises requires a great deal of time, persistence, and patience. It's crucial that you dedicate a few minutes every day to teaching this command. In addition, take care to avoid accidentally reinforcing the undesired behavior by shouting at the dog in between times when he barks. 

The basics you need to teach the dog to lead a quieter life include: 

  • Treats
  • A treat pouch you can wear on your belt
  • A mat
  • A rubber ball or toy
  • Peanut butter or a tasty food you can rub on the rubber ball or toy. 

The Teach 'Quiet' Method

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Step
1
Understand the idea
When a behavior is placed on cue, such as barking, it's then easier to teach the opposite command, such as quiet. Once the dog has learned "Quiet" you can use it to silence unwanted barking.
Step
2
Have the dog bark
Bizarre as it sounds, the first step is to put barking on cue. Make a noise that will trigger the dog to bark. For example, sit in front of a wall and knock on it behind your back.
Step
3
Label the barking as "speak"
When the dog barks in response to you knocking, say "Speak" and allow him to bark another couple of times.
Step
4
Use a treat to teach "quiet"
Now hold a tasty treat in front of his nose, to interrupt the barking. As he stops to sniff the treat, say "Quiet" and let him have the treat.
Step
5
Practice, practice, practice
Repeat the above steps in a room with few distractions. The dog will start to anticipate "Quiet" means a reward and stops barking ahead of being shown the treat. Now you are ready to practice with distractions. Have a friend knock on the front door, allow the dog to bark then give the 'quiet' command. When the dog stops barking, give him lots of praise and a treat.
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The Incompatible Behavior Method

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Step
1
Understand the idea
Some actions, such as carrying an object in the mouth or going to a mat, make it more difficult for the dog to bark. For example, picking up a ball means his mouth is being used for something else, while the dog that is concentrating on going to his bed is not listening to noises outside.
Step
2
Introduce an object
Choose an object, such as a rubber ball, that won't be damaged if you coat it in peanut butter. Smear a tasty treat, such as peanut butter, on the ball and offer it to the dog. As he licks the ball, place it gently against his lips and say "Take it".
Step
3
Hold the object
Once the dog opens his mouth and holds the ball, stroke the underside of his chin and repeat "Take It". When the dog learns to happily hold the object in his mouth, start offering the ball on the flat of your hand for him to take voluntarily. Finally, place the object a short distance away and have him pick it up on the 'take it' command.
Step
4
Go to your mat
Here the dog learns an alternative action (going to his mat) instead of barking when he hears a noise. Set up a mat in a convenient corner of a room. Hide treats on the mat. Now toss a treat onto the mat and as the dog runs after it say "Go to your mat." Not only does he get the treat you threw there, but he discovers other delicious treats, which makes it a special place to be.
Step
5
Command only
Instead of tossing a treat, say "Go to the mat". Let the dog discover that when he goes there he'll find hidden treats. Slowly phase out the concealed goodies, so that he's responding just to the words. Now have a friend make noises outside, and when the dog barks tell him in a firm but happy voice, "Go to your mat", then praise and reward him when he does just that.
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The What NOT to Do Method

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Step
1
Don't yell at the dog when he barks
To a dog, yelling sounds a lot like barking. He may think you are trying to join in and it encourages, rather than discourages, the bad barking behavior. Also, giving the dog attention in the form of telling him off is accidentally rewarding him, which again is an encouragement. So know that your safest default position is to ignore the noise (unsatisfying as that might be!) and leave the room if need be.
Step
2
Do NOT be inconsistent
Don't confuse the dog by yelling at him or encouraging him to bark some days or at some people, but wanting him to be quiet for others. Also, make sure all family members react in a similar way to his barking, and they use the same commands to get him to stop
Step
3
Don't forget to practice
It's no good only issuing the cue words when you're in a real-life situation that causes the dog to bark. Be sure to practice for short periods of time, each and every day so that the commands are embedded in his psyche for the times they are required.
Step
4
Don't think he'll learn overnight
Barking is a self-rewarding activity for dogs. The more ingrained his barking habit, the more difficult it will be to retrain. It may even take weeks or months of consistent training in order to teach him a new and better way to respond. Be prepared for this and stick with it.
Step
5
Don't make life more difficult than it has to be
Take a look at ways you can reduce the stimulus for the dog to bark. For example, if he barks at fireworks going off, then generally decreasing the stimulus by closing the curtains and playing soft music to disguise the bangs is going to help. Likewise, if you know the dog barks wildly when the front doorbell rings, when you are expecting visitors, pop the dog into a rear room where he's less likely to hear the bell.
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Written by Pippa Elliott

Published: 10/23/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Baileigh
Pit bull
6 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Baileigh
Pit bull
6 Years

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.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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pippa
Dashuad
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
pippa
Dashuad
8 Months

Barking on a night has started recently why don’t know. Help

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello. There are many reasons your dog has decided to start barking at night. As dogs grow out of puppyhood, and into adults, their behaviors change over time. They go through phases much like human children do. Below are some reasons, and solutions to this problem. 1. Boredom Just like any human left alone for too long, your dog gets bored, too. If a dog is bored, they are likely to vocalize more often. If dogs are left alone for long periods of time, they can become very bored, especially if there is nothing for them to do. Dogs who are bored should be provided interactive toys such as a KONG or any of PetSafe’s Busy Buddy toys to keep your dog occupied until you get home. 2. Fear or alarm There’s a reason we get scared of things that go bump in the night — as humans, we fear the unknown, and dogs also feel the same nighttime anxiety. If a dog is fearful, they may bark at any noise they hear that is scary to them or startles them. They may also bark as an ‘alarm’ to tell those around that something is going on that they should be aware of. A fan or a white noise machine will help drown out noises. 3. Loneliness Loneliness remains one of the top triggers she sees in dogs that can’t seem to settle down. Dogs are pack animals, so if left alone in another room at night, they may bark to try and get attention. Allowing your dog to sleep in your room should help to eliminate barking due to separation anxiety. If sleeping in your bedroom isn’t an option, making your dogs sleeping area as comfortable as possible will help. 4. Looking for attention Attention seeking is different from loneliness in dogs. Many dogs bark for attention, whether they want petting, the food you are eating or something else. It is important that you completely ignore your dog if you feel they are barking for attention, otherwise the barking will continue. If you tell your dog ‘quiet,’ ‘shush’ or any other vocalization to tell them to stop, that is considered attention to your dog. 5. Noise sensitivity Unlike their human companions, dogs aren’t able to shut out noise and distraction as easily before bed. This is because dogs have such acute hearing. Although your home or apartment might be very quiet to you, a dog can be extremely sensitive to outside noises and bark in response. Putting on a TV, radio or white noise machine like I mentioned above, might help block out some of that external noise and hopefully eliminate this cause of bedtime barking. 6. Not enough exercise If your dog spends all day at home alone while you’re at work and has just a few hours of freedom before bed, it only makes sense that it’s restless at night. They have pent up energy, are excited to see you and just want some attention. Exercise is the best solution for this cause of barking. One option is sending your dog to doggie day care where they can have a tiring day, running around and playing all day with other dogs. Alternatively, you and your dog can exercise together. A long walk or run will help tire both of you out before bedtime. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank for writing in!

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Dolly
Pug
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dolly
Pug
3 Years

Dolly is a rescue and was very vocal with everyone when we first got her. She is now much more social but will bark at larger dogs chasing balls!

What can I do to stop this??

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, is this a behavior at the park? If so, I would let Dolly have the fun of having her say. It is always a noisy environment, full of barking dogs. But if it bothers you, you can try to train her not to bark. If the behavior takes place at home, it may be a little easier. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. Try the Desensitize Method and the Chewy Toy Method, which are both ways to change the situation. It may take time, but be patient and consistent. Good luck and have fun training!

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Roxie
Mixed - mini sheltie, daschund,
5 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Roxie
Mixed - mini sheltie, daschund,
5 Years

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Penny Lane
Bernese Mountain Dog
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Penny Lane
Bernese Mountain Dog
10 Months

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.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Noodle
Goldendoodle
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Noodle
Goldendoodle
9 Months

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."

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Question
Millie and Mollie
Spaniel
11 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Millie and Mollie
Spaniel
11 Years

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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
Portuguese Water Dog
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Roxy
Portuguese Water Dog
1 Year

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?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Question
Leo
Chihuahua
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Leo
Chihuahua
1 Year

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.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Nugget
Shih Tzu
1 Year
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Nugget
Shih Tzu
1 Year

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!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

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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Buddy
German Shepherd
6 Years
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Buddy
German Shepherd
6 Years

When my neighbour leaves for work at around 6.30am my dog reacts to his door shutting as our front doors are relatively close together. It is usually about 4 barks before I can get him to be quiet. I have been reported to the local dog warden because of the barking and have my suspicions that it is this neighbour who has reported it. I need some help in stopping Buddy reacting in this way

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zaidee, First, at a time or location where you won't be reported for practicing this, practice desensitizing pup to the sound of a front door opening and closing. To do this, check out the Quiet method from the article linked below, but instead of knocking to trigger pup's barking to teach this, open and close a door out of his sight over and over during training. The goal is for him to get to the point where he is only rewarded for remaining quiet each time the door closes, and the sound becomes so common that it's boring and he essentially tunes it out - expecting a reward for not reacting. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Also, check out the video linked below for a visual of desensitizing a dog to a guest, door, or related sounds. The dog in this video reacts to the sound of the guest's voice, the knock, doorbell, and opening of the door, but the same process can be used to desensitize to the sound of a door shutting too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Finally, once the lessons are fully in place, when you are not present to enforce the command early in the morning, if pup still occasionally barks, I suggest a stimulation based automatic bark collar - to avoid potential housing issues due to complaints. Do the desensitization process first or at the same time as the bark collar though, since desensitizing is the most important piece for the training to work - the collar would simply be to give consistency to the training to increase effectiveness when you aren't present also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Parker
Micro goldendoodle
6 Months
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Parker
Micro goldendoodle
6 Months

Barking at everything noise

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, work on exposing pup to people, other animals, and new environments as often as you can to help with any underlying fears. Make these experiences more fun by bringing kibble or small treats along, to reward pup for good behavior, calmness, curiosity, and engaging with new things. The barking may be due to a lack of socialization either because of anxiety around certain things or over-excitement around new things. 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 - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. 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!). 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. 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. Don't skip this rewarding step. The end goal is to reward the calmness around new things. The interrupter is just to help pup become quiet when they are too aroused to calm back down themselves. The rewards while calm are what will make the biggest long-term difference. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sweetpea
Half Lab/Half Pitty so we've been told
9 Months
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Sweetpea
Half Lab/Half Pitty so we've been told
9 Months

Dogs know bad people, yes because mine does, my nextdoor neighbour.
She barks when there is a noise, when they let their dog out. She barks for a reason especially early mornings,2/3 and 4am. People are walking in their backyard at these times.
How do we stop her from barking. Her barks are aggressive to the point a line from the top of her head runs down her back and we have to calm her down.
HELP PLEASE..what can we do

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Rosie
German Shepherd
10 Months
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Rosie
German Shepherd
10 Months

Barks at every little noise, in the garden, in the house. Broke her leg 4 weeks ago so she’s on crate rest and not allowed exercise yet and since she’s been kept indoors every noise sets her off when some of these noises before didn’t bother her. Also she barks at every stranger who comes near us and I don’t know why she doesn’t act friendly

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Scooby
Border Collie
5 Years
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Scooby
Border Collie
5 Years

How can I stop Scooby from lunging at passing cars, lorries and motorbike's when I'm out walking him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andrea, First, I suggest teaching a solid Leave It command to pup. Teach the Leave It command using the Leave It method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Second, teach pup a structured heel - practice away from cars at first. Check out the article and video linked below Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Third, check out the video I have linked below on implementing commands to teach pup to leave cars alone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buaZctWLWR0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Abby
Maltipoo
2 Years
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Abby
Maltipoo
2 Years

My dog barks at the smallest of noises. It could be a car passing by or the rocking chair making a noise in the other room. It is a loud consistent bark. She even barks at the big dog's chain as it moves outside, everyday. I don't know if it is just anxiety or what, but something has to give because we have a baby now.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, is this a new behavior with Abby? Did she just develop the habit and the potential anxiety? It may be the adjustment of a new baby in the house. Be sure to have someone walk Abby every day, just as you used to before the baby came along. Try to keep her routine as similar as you can (I know with a baby it's challenging but to lessen the barking, you may need to). I would work on the Quiet Method. It is well described here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. The command will come in handy in many instances. Consider keeping a fan going for a while, for white noise, until the barking habit is toned down with the Quiet command. Be consistent and practice the training every day for 10-20 minutes per session. Good luck!

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Sequel
Dachshund
8 Years
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Sequel
Dachshund
8 Years

Hi, my mini dachshund loves to bark at noises outside (or just if he is bored) at home when I am out. I have recently been training him and my other dachshund to be quiet when people open the front gate and come to the front door, this is working pretty well. However, the younger dog continues to have random barking moments throughout the day when I am not home. The advice on this page is great but requires a command to be issued - what are the options for a dog left on his own?

Thanks,
Dan

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dan, Continue with the training when you are present, but for times when you are away I suggest one of three things. 1. Confine pup away from windows so that pup is only practicing being quiet while you are away, to help them build a habit of being quiet all the time. 2. Try purchasing a device like Auto Trainer or Pet Tutor, and choose a model that can be programmed to detect whenever pup is calm and quiet and will release a treat during quiet periods. To help pup learn to stay quiet to get a treat and to give pup something besides barking to help with boredom. I also suggest stuffing a durable hollow chew toy like a Kong with dog food and freezing it, to keep pup entertained while you are away, since the barking may be due partially to boredom. 3. If the automatic treat dispensing device doesn't work with your pup and you don't want to confine pup away from windows, choose a high quality bark collar, but also leave dog food stuffed toys like Kongs for pup to keep them entertained. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Luna
Labrador Retriever
7 Months
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Luna
Labrador Retriever
7 Months

My Dog Luna, has been socialized with dogs and people from 8 weeks old. She has come to work with me since we got her at 8 weeks old, but for the last two months she will bark (at men only) when they enter the office consistently until they leave? any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jess, Pup may be going through a fear period, and men tend to be the most intimidating to dogs. There could also be some possessiveness of you cropping up at this age. I would work on desensitizing pup to men, and gently building pup's respect for you in case that's a part of the equation. To build respect, and help with management, communication, and overall training too I suggest working on the following things with pup in general. Respect building methods, especially the Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Down https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Sit https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Stay https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Place https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Heel - Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel In method or Round Robin, then Reel In during intermediate: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Quiet - Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Out - which means leave the area https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It - leave it method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For the men, set up times with male friends to practice. With pup on a back tie leash and Place so that they can't rush the men, have a man enter but stay further away. As soon as pup gets quiet for even a second, have the man toss pup a treat, then leave. Have the man return and leave, waiting until pup gets quiet and they toss the treat, several times in a row, until pup isn't barking at that man during that session, or it's been an hour or practice - whichever comes first. If pup likes people but is just reactive, you can allow pup to go say hi once they are come, and have the man give pup a command like Sit, then reward pup with a treat in one hand, each time they touch pup gently with the other hand. Don't rush to this part if pup is aggressive and may bite. When pup does well with the first man, recruit a new male friend to practice the same. You can practice this in various environments. If you have the option, practice at work the most, like after work hours or on weekends if you and a male friend are allowed in the building. If you can't practice with friends at your work place, practice with male friends in a variety of other environments, especially similar types of spaces, then have a bowl of treats right by your door at your office, and if you have a co-worker who is willing, you can have them toss pup a treat as soon as pup gets quiet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Inky
Glen of Imaal Terrier
2 Years
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Inky
Glen of Imaal Terrier
2 Years

I take Inky to work daily. My office is upstairs and my showroom is downstairs. When clients come in to the showroom Inky barks. I am unable to go downstairs without him continuing to bark. The only way to stop him is to take him with me. Once he’s downstairs he stops barking and is very quiet and well behaved. I would like advice on how to stop him barking if I’m unable to take him with me. Sadly I don’t have the luxury of trying to practice while a client is in the showroom

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michaela, A vibration collar can be used for the barking when you are out of the room but you will need to teach the Quiet command first, work on Quiet while with pup, then teach pup that the vibration also means quiet as a way to reinforce the lesson when you are not with pup. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark I also recommend giving pup something to do while alone to keep them entertained, like a dog food stuffed chew toy, and desensitizing pup to noises and things they tend to bark at. If you have access to the showroom when not working, recruit a friend to act as a client downstairs. Have the friend make noises downstairs like a client, and reward pup for staying quiet. Practice briefly leaving and if pup stays quiet, returning and sprinkling a couple of treats by their feet - preferable on a dog bed so they learn to settle there. Check out the article I have linked above for Quiet - You can also find the desensitize method in that article for desensitizing pup to the noises downstairs that they bark at. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Beau
Labrador Retriever
18 Months
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Beau
Labrador Retriever
18 Months

My dog, Beau, loves to bark. Unfortunately, we are in an apartment and so it is really disturbing the neighbors. He doesn't do it constantly, but if someone in a different apartment shuts their doors, if he sees someone walk by, or even if he hears people getting in their car, he barks (it's actually more of a howl). We have taught him "speak"and he kind of knows "hush" when he is barking, but it hasn't seemed to stop him from that initial bark. I've also tried to talk to him when he starts barking telling him that it's okay, or if I hear the triggers before he does I try to pet and distract him. We also used a vibration collar on him, but he still does the initial bark and then will stop once he has the vibration. He even will be asleep and randomly start barking. We take him on walks, he has TONS of toys, etc. He is well trained in every other area, but this is something we can't break him of. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, It sounds like pup needs to be desensitized to the noises that trigger the barking in the first place. Check out the video series I have linked below. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Desensitize method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Indiana
Border Collie
8 Months
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Indiana
Border Collie
8 Months

He is very vocal and we are working on it in different situations. But he howls a lot when alone even with his food or treats and us trying to calm and quiet him via the dog camera we bought. But his worst trait is how he can be quite aggressive with other dogs, especially bigger dogs. He plays well on a field with long lead and loves to chase a toy, but on a walk almost every dog we see he barks at and seems aggressive when on a walk with lead.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Indiana is still young - you have time to change his issues without too much problem. But I would get started sooner rather than later, as time will pass and then things will get tough. Having a trainer come to the home would be the best way, especially since there is aggression when on the lead. That would be my recommendation. You can try a few things on your own: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs. Try the Passing Approach Method to start. Indiana should also be training in obedience; that will make him a calmer and more confident dog all around: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-dog-basic-obedience. As for the howling, that may change with age but you can work on the Quiet Method here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. Good luck!

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Titan
Basset Hound
6 Years
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Titan
Basset Hound
6 Years

He is constantly barking at every little noise he hears.
He is also always stealing food out of our hands and trying to get on the table.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jordan, For the barking, I recommend desensitizing pup to noises. Make a list of common things he barks at, even if its a long list. Check out the videos linked below. Barking at noises video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=1&t=37s Barking video series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Quiet method and Desensitization method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark For stealing food out of your hand, I recommend teaching Leave It. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For the counter food theft that is happening while you are out of the room, I recommend creating an aversion to jumping on the counter itself. There are a few ways to do this. You can place something like a scat mat on the counter and put a food temptation further back on the counter just out of reach - when pup jumps up the mat gives a static shock - nothing harsh but its uncomfortable and surprising. You can also set up Snap Traps covered lightly with unfolded napkins. When pup touches them on the edge of the counter, they will jump up and make a snapping sound - startling pup. These are designed for this type of purpose so won't actually close on pup like real mouse traps would - don't use real mouse traps because of the risk of injury. You can also stack metal pot lids and pans precariously on the counter. Tie a strong string like twine through all of them and back tie the whole contraption to something secure so that when they fall they can't fall all the way off the counter, then tie another string to the lip or pan that's supporting the precarious set up and tie the other end of that string to a safe food booby trap, like a whole bagel sitting on the counter. The idea is that when pup jumps up and grabs the food, they will pull the objects over and create a loud crashing noise that will surprise them. Because of the back tie string the objects should not fall on pup though. With all of these setups, you will need to set up a camera to spy on pup from the other room and be ready to run in and remove any food left on the counter or floor, so that pup doesn't return to the scene of the crime once things are calm and eat the food anyway - otherwise they may decide that its still worth it to jump up. You will need to practice this setup often with pup in different parts of the counter and with different foods. Don't use any food that could harm pup if they were to eat it - like chicken bones, grapes, chocolate, xylitol, nuts, garlic, or onion. When not practicing the trap, keep counters clean and pup confined away from the area or tethered to you with a hands free leash until pup has thoroughly learned the lesson - jumping up and not being surprised and potentially grabbing food, will negate your training efforts - you want pup to think that the counter is always suspicious now so they give up on jumping up. Finally, if pup seems more hungry than normal and the food behaviors are new, I do recommend a trip to your vet. Something like malabsorption, not feeding enough, or a tape worm can cause a dog to be unusually hungry. I am not a vet though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Paislee
Miniature Goldendoodle
3 Years
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Paislee
Miniature Goldendoodle
3 Years

Paislee seems to startle very easily.She will bark at any noise, like if our our dog jumps off the bed or if we drop something, bump a wall, or all the other common noises dogs bark at. A lot of which we don't even hear. The difficult thing when it comes to any training method we've come across is she only let's out 1 piercing bark and she's done. It's enough to give us a heart attack and it's usually so unexpected. Most training methods evolve a dog that continuously barks, but that's not what she does. We can't set up scenarios, because we don't exactly know what sets her off. Its extremely random.It even happens in the middle of the night sometimes. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennifer, I would make a list of things pup may bark at (even though it won't be everything since she barks at unexpected things too, make a list anyway). I would then practice doing something that pup normally barks at from further away from pup - like dropping something in the other room, knocking on the door. Start with the sound very quiet if you can, or further away so its not as surprising. When pup barks, redirect their attention to something else or ignore if the barking stops on its own (which it sounds like it usually does after one loud yelp), but don't give a lot of attention, comfort, or emotional response to the barking. When pup doesn't bark, calmly place a treat between their paws and softly praise them. Practice this often to help desensitize pup to the surprising noises and help them associate those noises with good things. Again, only reward calmness, don't make a big deal out of poor responses. Know that this will take some time since pup is doing the behavior more randomly, so I suggest implementing some practice into each day when pup isn't expecting it, and doing a little each day over a longer period of time. I would also keep a snack size ziplock of a few small treats in your pocket each day, or in convenient spots out of pup's reach in the house. Begin to notice when noises happen that would trigger the barking sometimes. When those just happen throughout the day and pup DOESN'T bark, then calmly praise and give a treat for the non-reaction from them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Yorkiepoo
2 Years
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Daisy
Yorkiepoo
2 Years

She barks at the slightest sound.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angie, I recommend teaching her the Quiet command and making a list of the types of things she barks at, even if it's a long list, and working on desensitizing her to those things, and rewarding her whenever she gets quiet after barking, and especially when she doesn't bark to begin with when she hears a noise she would normally have barked at but doesn't bark. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Barking at noises desensitizing - video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=1&t=37s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Franklin
Shiba Inu mix
4 Years
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Franklin
Shiba Inu mix
4 Years

We live in an apartment on the second floor. Our dog barks every time someone walks up the steps or knocks at the door (or if it sounds like either of those things are happening). His bark is also so loud and shrill! He is an inside dog, but we play with him and he goes on walks and gets lots of attention. We adopted him when he was 2 years old from a shelter, and he has always barked like this. He also barks at people and dogs when he first sees them, but after he gets closer he is fine. How do we get him to stop barking at those things?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cara, 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 - this 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 - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. 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!). 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 them. 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. 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. This part is very important. For pup not to bark when you aren't there, you want to create a habit of being quiet and feeling happy when they hear the noises they are currently barking at. Practice rewarding calmly often each time you catch pup not barking at neighbor noises. After you do all the above training, you might still need something to keep the training going when you aren't around. If you find that to be the case there are two basic options. The first is an automatic treat dispensing device that can be programmed to release treats when it detects a quietness for long enough, such as AutoTrainer Pet Tutor. Another option is a stimulation based bark collar. Only choose a high quality known brand for a bark collar, such as E-collar technologies, Sportdog, Garmin, or Dogtra. Random collars bought online can be inconsistent or dangerous if there isn't good quality control or they aren't made well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bristol
Maltipoo
5 Years
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Bristol
Maltipoo
5 Years

Hi! I have two dogs, both maltipoos around 5 years old (male & female). We live in an apartment building and my unit is right by the elevator and a door which leads to the parking garage. As you can imagine, there is a lot of traffic that passes our door. Each time someone walks past, gets in the elevator, or exits to the parking garage my dogs bark very loud, it even echoes. The same is true when we have visitors. The barking stops once the visitor enter our home but then they jump with excitement for at least 2 minutes. One of my dogs (the female) will lay on her back for a belly rub and ferociously licks the guest after jumping in excitement. How do I get my dogs to be calm like they are when we're alone and there aren't noises or visitors?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brey, For the barking, I recommend desensitizing pups to the sounds. Check out the article I have linked below and work on the Quiet and Desensitize methods both. Also, check out the video I have linked below for an example of desensitizing to noises outside the door - you can practice a similar routine without actually letting the people pups hear outside inside, but rewarding for quietness when you have someone out your door practice making noises, like the neighbors do. Quiet and Desensitize methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Barking at the door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA For the excitement with guests, I would in general work on several commands that increase impulse control - this will take repetition and working them up to distractions gradually. Pups essentially need an off-leash level of obedience to help with self-control, even though they are inside. One benefit of this, even though it will mean some work and time on your end, is that it should help pups learn better calmness and self-control in general and the training practice should stimulate them mentally, which is good for them too. The following commands can help with calmness, but focus the most on commands like Place, the article on jumping, and a command to give space - like Leave It or Out. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leash method for jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump I would work up to pups doing a 1 hour place command, gradually adding distractions like toys and food being dropped, family entering and exiting the front door, and you dancing around silly. Start with the basics of Place and gradually make it harder as they improve, consistently returning them to place when they break command due to distraction, and keeping sessions frequent but short. This will be easiest is you practice with each dog individually before practicing with them together. You want to work up to pups handling all kinds of silly things when guests aren't there, including the front door opening, then recruit dog friendly friends who are willing to practicing entering and leaving your home over and over again to work up to pups being able to handle that distraction also. Once pup has stayed on Place for long enough to become calm and bored, then let pups get up to greet guests with a leash on to practice the leash method from the article linked above. I would instruct guests who want to greet pups to command pups to sit, then feed pups a treat under their chin (not holding it above their head or that encourages jumping), so that pups start to expect to automatically sit to greet guests and has a go-to behavior that they can't do at the same time as jumping. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cosmo
Shih Tzu
8 Months
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Cosmo
Shih Tzu
8 Months

We recently moved to a new apartment. Cosmo doesnt like kids or noises. He will bark at everyone on the street no matter how far they are. He will bark when kids scream outside, or when someone walks by. A simple word is enough to set him off. (If it helps to assess the issue, he is potty trained and we've learned that calming music will help him calm down.) We want to teach him that noises can't hurt him and there is no reason to bark at them. We also want to know if he is anxious or is just trying to defend his territory.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Grace, Without observing pup's body language I can't say whether he is barking due to fear or territorial behavior. Since he doesn't like kids it may be related to a lack of socialization around kids and the noises that are setting him off - making him feel defensive. I recommend teaching him the Quiet command and also working on desensitizing him to the things that tend to trigger the barking. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out this video series on barking. I recommend desensitizing pup like the trainer in these videos demonstrates. Be sure to reward good responses and not the barking itself, to increase the calmness and quietness and not to increase the barking - timing will be important here. https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup/search?query=bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tomato
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year
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Tomato
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year

So our little guy is an Aussie rescue that we took in about 6 months ago, we were told the rescue knew nothing about him, not even his proper age. In the beginning the challenges were extreme and it was difficult to get him trained in a controlled environment given our living situation at the time due to my girlfriend's mother consistently yelling at all of the animals when they barked and giving them treats at random times of the day with no disciplinary/training incentive. We are now in a controlled space and are seeing small improvements with our training regiment, but it feels like we have hit a halt in the progression as Tomato has extreme anxiety and separation issues (We assume it has something to do with past trauma he's been through that unfortunately we have no information or insight on.) What we would like some insight on is 1. How can we tackle the separation issues at home?(most dog daycares won't take animals with extreme cases). 2. What is the most effective way to teach him not to bark?(We are currently testing the "quiet method" where when he barks we calmly say quiet and once he stops for a second or 2 we reward him and then repeat the process with rewards after more time in between barks.) 3. What is the best way to socialize him, assuming he missed the early socialization window due to his overprotective/aggressive tendencies? 4. How do we break aggression towards house guests? (He is mainly aggressive to males for an extended period of time, but eventually calms down to them, and is aggressive to female guests for only a few seconds and then he calms down to them.)
Please respond at your convenience, it would be extremely helpful to know if we are doing the right/wrong things and any additional tips that we could try to pair with our current methods. Thank you so much

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zach, First, I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and will come to your home to work with you in person there. Working with someone who also works with a staff of trainers, so that a different trainer could accompany them various times to practice with training to improve the guest aggression, could also be very helpful. Look for someone who specializes in aggression and separation anxiety type behaviors. This will involve giving pup a ton of structure to build their trust and respect for you and to help with the overall anxiety. Calm leadership is especially important for anxious and aggressive dogs, to build their confidence, help them look to you for guidance, and build some independence. Commands that help with structure and independence will be important to help with overall behavior. Like a structured heel, 1-2 hour Place command - that you have worked up to gradually and are able to walk in and out of the room without pup following you, but staying on Place; a distance Down-Stay using a long training leash, crate training (even though that can seem counter-intuitive), Quiet (which you have begun, which is great. That will be part of addressing the barking but addressing pup's overall state should also help, and some mild corrections when pup ignore the Quiet command may also be needed, but that needs to be done carefully under the guidance of the trainer due to pup's aggression and fear also). Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Overall trust and respect building - follow these methods under the guidance of your trainer. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cheese
Labrador Retriever
4 Years
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Cheese
Labrador Retriever
4 Years

Hi there! My dog Cheese is a big sweetheart - he loves people and getting attention - the only problem is he barks and growls when he sees them! I have no idea why he reacts the way that he does, as he has lived in apartments his whole life and you would think he'd be used to noises. When he hears someone outside, he starts to growl and whine and bark - his hackles go up, he starts to pace around while panting, etc. If he can see them, he'll run to the window and growl/bark even more, mixed with yawns and whines - he's not aggressive, he just wants to get to them and play and get pets. Of course I don't blame people for being startled - he's a 75lb growling, barking dog. Outside isn't any better while on leash - he lunges, jumps, cries, barks - he will sit next to me if I ask him to, but the entire time he can see the person and their dog, he's whining and crying and yawning. I try to give him positive reinforcement and calm him down but it doesn't help. He won't calm down unless they leave or we walk away (and even then he constantly looks behind him and whines). He does great with people and dogs at the dog park - of course he barks when he sees other dogs outside the fence, I know that's to be expected - but he doesn't growl, jump, etc. He is a very submissive dog and if another dog humps him (before I can intervene) he just stands there or sits down - only once in his life have I heard him actually growl at the other dog. He then, of course, tries to seek out a dog HE can hump, and the cycle continues. He also likes to get in between people's legs / feet. (That's it's own issue I suppose.)

When I have people come over, he will bark at the doorbell, but as soon as they come in he's happy as can be - I just wish he didn't jump!

I'm worried he's developed a real fear response to people outside, I can understand barking but the growling and carrying on like he does concerns me. I'm able to re-direct him with treats or a game of fetch (usually) but it just seems like he's not getting it. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Leigh, When you greet someone like a friend pup doesn't know on a walk, once the person reaches you, is pup friendly or still acting aggressive? If pup is then friendly, it sounds like pup may be becoming overly aroused anticipating an interaction and need to be desensitized to people. 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 or people, to help pup stay in a calmer mindset to begin with. 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 and people, staring others 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 reactive he is. Additionally, when you do pass others, as soon as he starts staring them down, interrupt him. Remind him with a gentle 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. Staying in a calmer mindset also makes the walk more pleasant for him in the long-run. Once pup can walk past others more calmly, you can carry small, soft treats hidden in a treat pouch or plastic bag in your pocket. When pup's body language stays calm, they remain focused on you, or are very obedient when other dogs are within sight, reward pup with a treat and very calm - almost monotone praise (too much excitement can make the situation harder for pup). Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel https://dogtrainingamerica.com/the-good-dog-minute-6-4-13-severe-leash-aggression-with-biting-turned-around-in-minutes/ I suggest also teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking and excitement normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T pull/bark/get tense/react to something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. Finally, if pup is friendly with other dogs and people up close and isn't aggressive, work on calm socialization, and don't skip rewarding pup for calmness around others once he is doing better on walk and is calm enough to reward it! That can help ultimately. For socialization, do things like joining obedience classes, trainings clubs, group dog hikes and walks, canine sports, ect...Your goal right now should be interactions with others that have structure and encourage focus on you, calmness around the other dogs and people, and a pleasant activity with other dogs and people around - opposed to just roughhousing or tense environments with tons of unpredictable dogs loose which increases adrenaline. Recruit some friends with well mannered dogs to go on walks with you and your dog, and people who like dogs to practice without other dogs also, following the Passing Approach method and Walking Together method to help pup learn how to be calm around someone and their dog, while also continuing socialization. Passing Approach and Walking Together methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs If pup has ever redirected aggression toward you or shown any form of aggression toward you, I recommend only working on this with professional help, and potentially the use of a basket muzzle pup has been desensitized to wearing ahead of time using treats. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
1 Year
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Charlie
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
1 Year

I have a one yea role Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is lovely when we are out and about, he loves everything and everyone and never barks. BUT as soon as we get home he has a real barking problem - he barks for:

1/ I’m bored and you’re trying to work
2/ out the full length windows at squirrels having a party
3/ any animals on the tv, especially hates horses on tv but doesn’t mind them at all when he sees them in real life!
4/ outdoor noises such as my downstairs neighbour opening their patio door

I have to confess this is absolutely doing my head in now - we live in a small flat together and all I hear whenever he’s home with me is barking every 10 minutes. He gets plenty of exercise, lots of stimulation and puzzles and also goes to daycare most days so he is 100% not home alone bored. HELP!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jacki, I recommend desensitizing him to things like the Tv and downstairs noises, and using a combination of corrections and rewards for attention seeking barking. 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. Quiet and Desensitize methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. 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!). In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet"...Like if you see pup watching a squirrel out the window or you hear a neighbor. 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. You want to eventually be rewarding just quietness whenever pup stays quiet around something they would normally bark at. Don't wait until they bark to train, look for opportunities to catch and reward their quietness because that's what will eventually desensitize them and help them not bark at those noises in the first place. 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. 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. When pup barks for attention, tell pup Quiet. If they bark anyway, correct with your interrupter calmly and briefly then ignore pup again. If you are working and you catch pup doing something calm and quiet instead of barking at you, like chewing a chew toy or lying on their dog bed, calmly place a treat between their paws to give attention for the quiet calmness instead of the barking. I also recommend making pup some dog food stuffed chew toys, like kongs, and keeping a few ready in the freezer. You can subtract that amount of kibble from pup's meal amounts to avoid overfeeding. When you are working, occasionally give pup one of those when they are being calm to teach pup to simply lie down on their bed quietly and entertain themselves. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Phoenix
Goldendoodle
8 Months
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Phoenix
Goldendoodle
8 Months

Phoenix barks at every single noise in the house i say no which is a word he knows cos thats how hes learnt what not to do and has learned fine about from his barking thats one thing he won't learn and keeps doing but he doesn't bark outside only in house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article I have linked below. I recommend teaching Quiet using the Quiet method. I also recommend using the desensitization method found in that article. Quiet method and Desensitize method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out the video I have linked below for an example and further details on desensitizing to things like noises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Remi
Miniature dachsh
4 Months
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Remi
Miniature dachsh
4 Months

Really struggling with Remi barking at noises. We are trying these techniques on walks but really difficult to consistently be on guard before she barks inside as we live above kids who she likes to bark at - assume because they’re very loud. Even music won’t drown it out she has very good hearing!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
831 Dog owners recommended

Hello Emily, In addition to desensitizing pup to the noises, which it sounds like you have been working on, I also recommend teaching the Quiet command. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out this trainer's youtube channel and the videos she has on barking as well to see more details on how to train. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a If pup tends to bark a lot in general, you may also want to look into an automatic treat dispensing device that can be programmed to reward pup for being quiet, to help train develop a habit of being quiet. AutoTrainer and Pet Tutor make such devices. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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