A barking dog can be annoying, especially when you are out for a relaxing stroll or enjoying a quiet evening at home. Dogs may bark to get attention, or they may bark because they are feeling bored or anxious. Any attention you give, including negative attention, may incite even more barking. Here are proven methods to help train your dog to exhibit more favorable behaviors.
Set Consistent Commands
Before embarking on any dog training, all family members need to agree on commands they will use to praise good behavior and reprimand unwanted behavior. Being consistent with these words is fundamental to a successful training program.
Ignore Attention-Seeking Behavior
Sometimes a dog barks because he learns that barking gets your full attention. It can be challenging to reverse this behavior. However, ignoring your dog in these moments can be impactful. Turn your back, don’t make eye contact, and ignore the dog’s presence until he stops. The minute the barking stops, reward your dog with a loving acknowledgment and a treat. If you yell at the dog while he is barking, this can be perceived as attention and perpetuate the unwanted behavior.
Use a Bark Collar or an Ultrasonic Trainer
Bark training can also be done with a couple of devices. A bark collar may be an easy answer. There are different bark collars on the market. Some emit a sound, a repulsive smell, or a shock. The collars are controlled by a remote device or are sound activated.
If a bark collar is not an option for your family, an ultrasonic trainer could be a good solution. Touted to be extremely safe, it uses a high-pitch frequency that is inaudible for humans but is very uncomfortable for canines. When the dog is barking inappropriately, simply click the button. It is good to use a stern command that you will use consistently. Therefore, the word will be associated with the high-frequency sound, and eventually, the device will not be necessary.
Remove the Stimulus
If your dog enjoys sitting by the window and barking at every squirrel, pedestrian, or worse, every car, then removing the visual stimulus may help. Provide a stern command, close the blinds, and relocate the dog to another room or a designated confined space. The dog will associate the unwanted relocation and stern command with barking at the stimulus.
Provide Plenty of Exercise and Praise
Many dogs bark out of frustration and boredom. They need something to do and could be feeling anxious. A tired and well-exercised dog is less likely to bark because of restlessness. Some dogs need multiple walks a day or at least a healthy game of chase. Playing with your dog creates a bond, and better communication can develop between the two of you. Praising good behavior with positive words and treats is an association that can reduce negative and unwanted behaviors.
There are many strategies for reducing undesirable barking behaviors. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used in tandem to create the desired results. You may need to try a few strategies since all dogs, like people, have diverse personalities and will respond differently to one approach versus another.