Doggy is making me crazy!
We all love our dog, but sometime he does get a little bit on our nerves with some behaviours. We want to help you stop these behaviors and live a happy life with your dog! We chose 4 common bad behaviors and have decided to make a serie of articles to give you some tips for managing them.
Problem #2: Barking
He barks EVERYTIME the mailman comes at the door (or when he sees a squirrel, a leaf falling of a tree, a bee… well, he barks at EVERYTHING!)
We know how annoying it can be when your dog keeps barking for no reason. Not only is it annoying for you and your family, but also for your neighbors, whom you prefer to have good relationship with, we believe. Here we are, bringing you some quietude and peace with 5 tips to stop your dog from barking before you decide to put him a muzzle!
1. Ignore the barking
You can take the power out of your dog’s demanding barking by completely tuning him out when he barks at you. Ignore the barking and force your dog to realize that they will not be rewarded with attention for it. Use treats to encourage positive behavior and withhold them when your dog is barking. Wait for a moment of quiet, or a calm sit, then give your dog attention. If you’re consistent, your dog will soon realize that barking doesn’t work to get him what he wants and he’ll abandon the strategy.
2. Teach your dog the "quiet" command
Here is a method you can use to stop this undesired behavior from your dog.
Schedule the training times when you know your dog is barking (like when the mailman comes to your door) and make sure to keep the treats near. When your dog starts barking, say the «quiet» command while sticking a treat in front of him. Once your dog stops barking to sniff the treat, reward immediately with verbal praise. To ensure that your dog knows that you are rewarding his silence and not the barking, first reduce the amount of time that passes between your command and the silence (reward if he shuts down within 10 sec., 8 sec., etc.). Over time, you can reduce the treats by only giving it sporadically, but don't stop the verbal praise to keep on reinforcing the behavior with your dog.
3. Manage the environment
Territorial and alarm barking happen when dogs see or hear something outside that catches their attention. The quickest trick to stop your dog from barking at the window or in the yard is to manage the environment. Block your dog’s sightline to potential barking triggers by using a privacy fence, window curtains or blinds, etc.
If your dog barks when you leave the house, set up a safe and quiet place for them away from the front door or from a window with street view. This may be a back bedroom, laundry room, or in the basement and you can put a crate and a comfortable bed in the space.
4. Ask your dog for an incompatible behavior
When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that's incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.
5. Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day
This tip is almost always one of the solutions we propose to dog owners. For ANY behavioral issue your dog might have, you are almost guaranteed to eliminate or at least reduce it if your dog has enough stimulation and is tired. In this case, if you play with your dog, provide him with some entertaining toys and go for a walk at the park daily, for example, your dog is going to be really less responsive to environmental stimuli and has high chances to stop barking at everything. He won’t even have the energy to do so!
Learning how to stop a dog from barking doesn’t have to be a painful process. Yes, it requires patience to stop your dog from barking for no reason, but remember that just as these tips are some great ways to reduce dog barking, there are some mistakes to avoid in order to succeed. Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because he thinks you’re joining in. Remember to speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell. Also, most dogs don’t know what you want when you’re yelling at them to “shut up.” So train your dog to understand the word “Quiet!”. Hopefully, in a few weeks, you won’t have to hear your dog barking at everything and be able to enjoy some quiet time with him!