How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark!
Ideas That Work
One of the most annoying habits that dog owners bemoan is their pet's undue and uncontrollable barking. It's been found that perhaps one third of all dog owners mention this as a behavioral problem over which they wish they had more control.
There are many reasons that dogs react to situations and their environment in this way from territorial barking, to alarm barking, to aggression, and it is helpful to know what is triggering such conduct, but the main focus of this article will be on ideas and ways to stop barking dogs that get results.
It's important, first of all, to distinguish between appropriate an inappropriate barking. Barking that alerts you to a dangerous situation or a few barks that warning someone is approaching, for example, should be encouraged and rewarded. This is your dog's natural tendency to want to protect his pack. Nuisance or inappropriate barking, on the other hand, is barking that is excessive or unwarranted for the situation. Your pet may be distressed, fearful, or suspicious etc. in a circumstance that does not call for such an extreme response.
Stop Barking Dog Methods that Work
The best time to start teaching the difference between good barking and bad barking is when your dog is a puppy or still an adolescent. Start by not reinforce inappropriate barking and rewarding the appropriate silence. Be consistent and persistent with this until your puppy understands the difference.
Many people have great success with a switch-over or shaping technique such as clicker training which can be use to give you control over barking and silence.
Older dogs with entrenched habits may require stronger behavior modification techniques such as bark control collars which are used remotely and of which there are several types:
Citronella spray collars spray a scent and make a sound that most dogs don't like and if used correctly, will help the dog associate his barking will a negative result. Ultra sonic, vibration, and electrical collars likewise offer different types of negative stimulation which will help the dog realize that his incorrect barking results in discomfort. Many of these devices offer increasing levels of negative stimulation for dogs which are, shall we say, a little more reluctant to learn. There are even combination devices, producing, for example, both a vibration and a sound.
The methods mentioned above will work in most cases, but occasionally more drastic measures need to be taken to stop a barking dog. In extreme cases, where all other methods have fail, it may be necessary for your veterinarian to prescribe psychotropic drugs or perform 'debarking' surgery. These solutions are controversial and in some areas debarking is illegal, but given the alternatives of surgery over euthanasia in the case of a drastically dysfunctional dog, it could be the best alternative.