How To Stop Dog Barking
"To stop dog barking requires training your dog into alternative andmore rewarding behaviors. Dog barking is a natural . If your dog barksfrequently correcting the behavior requires an understanding of thecause or trigger. Once identified behavior modification and rewards canbe used to transfer the behavior to more acceptable outlets."
Barking is obviously a normal dog behavior. Thereare many natural reasons dogs bark which need to be asked whendetermining how to stop dog barking including:
- To Protect Territory
- When Seeking Attention from Others
- Fear of separation from family members (calledseparation anxiety)
- Fear in general
- Some type of abnormal behavior (cognitivedysfunction due to old age, senility)
- Learned behavior
- Group behavior
Diagnosis of How to Stop Dog Barking
Because barking is disruptive, particularly insuburban and urban areas, many owners are interested in changing thebehavior. There may be cause for concern if the barking is frequent. Ifyou are planning to seek the veterinarian it might be helpful to keep alog of the length and number of times your dog barks in a period oftime. This way your veterinarian can make a determination if thebarking is normal.
Your veterinarian will ask a series of questionsas outlined by Kevin Stafford from the Institute of Veterinary andBiomedical Sciences:
- Where and when does the barking occur?
- Who or what is the target of the barking or thetrigger
- Is the owner present or absent?
- How does the owner respond to the barking?
- How does the dog behave thereafter?
- Is the barking continuous?
- What other behavior does the dog show when
Type of Dog Barking Problems
Territorial Barking:This is when you dog is protecting the home or an area surrounding yourproperty. To change this dog behavior you need to either eliminate thecause or "trigger" by not exposing your dog to visitors or blocking awindow your dog uses to spot anything that triggers the behavior. Oneway to train your dog by associate the barking with a negative behaviorby following these steps:
Step 1. When a visitor approaches and your dogbarks place your dog in a kennel or crate before the visitor enters thehouse and can be seen by your dog.
Step 2. Next step is to have a friend come to the house, have your dogsee the visitor, and then place in your dog in the kennel while yourfriend is entering the house.
Step 3. Once your dog is desensitized to visitors in order to avoid thenegative behavior you can replace it with a positive behavior such as atreat for not barking.
Barking for Attention: Yourdog barks if you respond to the behavior. By responding your arerewarding your dog vs. ignoring the barking. The key to changing thisdog behavior is to substitute an alternate such as asking your dog tosit when she starts barking. Reward the sitting behavior. Some ownersprovide a negative reward for barking such as using an air horn orwater spray, although that could be cruel if not done gently.
Separation Anxiety: Tohelp your dog with separation anxiety is to help your dog feelcomfortable when alone. According to the ASPCA you can try providing yourdog with a Kong Biscuit Ball Dog Treat Holder which can bestuffed with treats right before you leave the house. This will keepyour dog busy and distracted for long periods of time. Only leave for30 seconds and then come back in. Remove the toy when you return.Repeat for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds. Over time expand the timeby 15 minutes. Use multiple toys at once to keep your dog busy overlonger periods.
If your dog barks or howls infrequently when leftalone, it might just be a case of boredom. Try increasing your dog'sexercise regimen.
If this doesn't work then you may need to hire aCertified Animal Behavioral Therapist or Certified Professional DogTrainer.
Fear Barking: Thisrequires that you desensitize your dog to what is causing the fear ifit can be identified at all. Treatment works the same way as above, buteither protecting your dog from the trigger, substituting an alternatepositive behavior such as sitting with a treat.
Cognitive Dysfunction: Likean older person, an older dog may suffer from bouts of senility. Ifthis is the case you might want to consider either prescriptionmedication or a natural remedy such as PetAlivePetCalm Formula for Anxious and Stressed Pets.
Stop Barking Collar
Many owners consider purchasing a stop barkingcollar as an approach for how to stop dog barking. There are severaltypes including electrical that use a small staticelectricity shock collar airspray or orcitronella air spray. Veterinarians are divided as towhether they should be used since they do use a form of punishment andit might not be clear to the dog why, although according to a recentstudy the majority of owners that try them are satisfied (97%).
How to Stop Dog Barking - DogScentless Air Collar
All types of collars are effective as a method forhow to stop dog barking with approximately 80% of dogs if the negativesignal produced by the collar is followed by a reward provided by theowner which reinforces the positive behavior. If you do not do thisthen the positive impact of the collar will in most cases be shortterm.
It is also possible that the stop barking collardoes not work if your dog only barks in a specific place or territory.When the collar punishes the dog for barking they may not associate itwith barking, but with the location they were standing.
Sources for How to Stop Dog Barking:
Barking and its treatment; should anti -Barkingcollars be allowed?
Kevin Stafford MVB, MSc, PhD, FRCVS, MACVSc [and Vicki Erceg BVSc]
Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences, MasseyUniversity, Palmerston North, New Zealand