How To Stop A Dog From Barking
Barking is natural, but excessive barking can be a big problem.
Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, and it can be hard to figure out what triggers their barking. But if you know what causes your dog’s excessive barking, we can answer these questions and provide a solution.
Why does my dog bark so much?
Why do dogs bark? Barking is a form of communication and there are many reasons that may compel a dog to bark.
Here a few:
1) Frustration / Excitement
4) A medical issue
When frustrated or excited a dog may bark in an attempt to activate someone or something in order to get what they want. If a dog barks and receives something they like, such as food, a toy, play, or attention… they are more likely to repeat the behavior the next time they become frustrated. This reinforces that barking is a good solution for their problem.
When training police dogs there are times when we want a dog to bark and alert us if someone is present. We may want to have them bark as a warning trying to gain compliance from person(s) prior to a situation escalating. Sometimes when teaching this exercise I intentionally frustrate the dog with something they want, then immediately reward them when they bark. This is a way to reinforce the behavior. From this point, I can teach them to bark continuously and teach a bark command to activate the behavior.
Fear can be a motivator for a dog to bark. This serves as a warning. Oftentimes you will see other indicators of fear such as raised hackles, maybe the dog is acting a little unsure, showing some avoidance like looking away or licking their lips. Typically fear barking sounds deeper and more serious than a frustration/excitement bark. It serves as a warning to what or whoever is making the dog feel uneasy as if they are saying you better get back, or else. Protection barking typically has a deeper tone as well. There may or may not be fear associated with protection barking. But it too serves as a defensive warning to intruders.
Protection barking is often heard when someone comes to the door, or maybe when the dog barks at another dog or stranger from the yard. The dog may come forward towards the perceived threat and they may posture themselves to look bigger and more self-confident.
If the perceived threat leaves when dogs display fear or protection barking, this can convince the dog that they caused the intruder to retreat. If left unaddressed, over time this can enable a dog to become more aggressive and can potentially lead to biting behavior. Medical issues can also be a cause of barking. If the dog is in pain or has a neurological disorder they may bark.
As pet trainers, our staff spends more time teaching dogs not to bark, than to bark. We see a significant number of dogs whose barking is a nuisance and has become a problem for the owners. Understanding why the dog is barking is an important factor in determining how to remedy the issue. A confident dog that is barking from frustration or excitement and trying to activate someone or something, would be addressed differently than a dog who is barking because they feel unsafe.
We utilize obedience training and confidence-building exercises to teach dogs appropriate behaviors, where we can redirect inappropriate activities when needed. Once the dog understands what is expected of them, with low-level distractions, we increase the distraction intensity in their training environment. This is a gradual desensitization to their triggers and teaches that the unwanted behaviors no longer offer a successful solution. But calmer, quiet behaviors in the presence of what triggers them, will always bring success.
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My 3 yr old Shepherd was with this facility for a 2 wk board and train. I can’t give trainer Megan, and the team at Dog Training Personalized enough praise, for the training outcome with my 3 yr old Shepherd. Megan was the main trainer for my Shepherd and my gosh! This girl has an unbeatable passion, talent and professionalism for training and towards the Canine. She went beyond just using tools and commands. She used the very approach that I find so important with training. She built a personal relationship, along with building a “working” relationship with my Shepherd. She accomplished in a limited time, what I was unable to do for years. I was amazed to watch, through updated videos and pics, how happy and eager he was to be working with Megan. Trust me when I say, it was difficult to be away from him, but Megan’s constant communication and updates through pics and videos gave me reassurance that he was with the right trainer, team and training facility. For me, seeing is believing. I would have “never” believed that he would be in a sit or down, that someone could not only walk away from him, but leave the room, out of sight, and he would remain until released. The entire facility was clean and sanitary. The staff was friendly and extremely knowledgeable, not only in “training” but the physiology of my breed. I was impressed with all of the team who help with his training. Each one off them, Megan, Sydney, Sami, (sorry, I’m sure that I have forgotten someone) brought their special talents during his training. Megan, put her heart into every moment she could, bringing the best out of Atlas while he was there. She accomplished every bullet point that I had concerns with or had ask for with his training. Most importantly, I was the one, as his handler, who needed the training. She continued to educated me, in many techniques and approaches with training. She helped with understanding the dogs thought process. Giving me a better understanding as to why and how, along with correctly handling and carry on, the training he learned. Trust me when I say, we are grateful for Megan and to this facility. Beth and Atlas
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