Barking is a natural means of communication for dogs. Barks can mean different things, from wanting attention, being scared or bored, protecting the house or reasons unknown. There is always a reason for a dog’s bark, we just have to find out what it is. Once the source of your dog’s barking is determined, you can train him to stop. This may be as simple as taking him in at night, or strict training to stop your dog from barking when the mailman comes to the door.
Owners should never expect a dog not to bark. We as humans talk, and a dog’s bark is simply the same thing. However, when dog’s begin to bark excessively and it affects your everyday activities, it is time to treat the problem.
From determining the possible cause of your dog’s barking to training tips and techniques, we provide you with extensive knowledge on how to deal with dog barking. We discuss different training tools that can help you stop dog barking such as whistles and electric collars. We understand that the use of shock collars is a sensitive topic, so we have provided a list of benefits and risks to consider before committing to a bark collar.
Our mission is to provide readers with the best information on controlling their dog’s barking. We believe that dedication and proper training are the best methods for treating an excessive barker. We are your resource for creating a healthy and happy relationship while you work with your dog to control his barking.
- 1 Why Dogs Bark
- 2 How to Control Dog Barking
- 3 Collars to Stop Dog Barking
- 4 Debarking Your Dog
Why Dogs Bark
Barking is a dog’s way of communicating. A dog’s bark can signify needs, protection dominance. There are many different types of barks, and different tones may have different meanings.
Some breeds are simply barkers. These may include guarding breeds such as German Shepherds, Dobermans, or Bloodhounds, or small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians or Poodles, who tend to bark at every possible occasion.
Dogs like to communicate as much as possible because they feel like the Alpha dog. If barking gets out of control, it is important to train your dog to realize he is not the Alpha dog, but you are. Dogs always have a reason for their barking. The first step in training your dog is to find out why he is barking in the first place.
There are a number of reasons your dog may take to barking. Things in the environment such as other dogs, people, strange noises or thunder may trigger the urge to bark. Some other causes of barking may be separation anxiety, aggressiveness, or a strongly territorial dog may bark.
Some barking may actually be good. Training your dog to bark during certain occasions may be beneficial. Some of these may include barking to be let outside, barking when hungry, barking to tell you something is wrong and barking when a real intruder is outside.
Barking at Night
A dog barking at night can be a real problem in the household. There are a few reasons your dog may bark at night:
Loneliness or boredom – During the day, your dog has plenty of things to look at and human contact. But at night, he may feel bored and want attention, which may resort to barking. Loneliness may also cause your dog to start barking. The dark not only scared humans but dogs too. Barking may express loneliness or fear.
Excessive energy – If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise during the day, he may be restless at night and want attention. Too much energy may come out as noise. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise during the day. The less energy your dog has, the less he will bark.
Excessive Dog Barking
This may also be known as pathologic barking. This abnormal barking may be caused by separation anxiety, an obsessive-compulsive disorder or hyperactive tendencies. This type of barking usually goes along with other extreme behavior problems such as destroying household items or self destruction.
Pathologic barking usually needs to be treated first by a veterinarian before the barking can be controlled.
Barking at Other Dogs
This type of barking is usually caused by lack of social contact. Sometimes, it may be a sign of aggression or protective instinct.
Your dog may see another dog as a threat to himself as well as to you.
Although this can be a good trait to have, it can be a pain to deal with on walks and may scare other people. This can be cured by more social contact with other dogs as well as humans.
Barking at The Door
This is usually a territorial behavior or a result of over-excitement. Dogs will bark if they sense a type of threat. This can be the most difficult type of barking to treat. When the mailman comes to deliver papers, your dog barks. When he leaves, your dog will think that because of his barking, it scared off this terrible “intruder”.
Barking When Alone
This usually ties in with separation anxiety. The bark will often be high-pitched may lead to howling. This may be an act of self-soothing. Dogs who bark when alone may be bored, or simply a little over-dramatic.
Dogs are very social creatures and do not like to be left alone at all costs. Unless the barking is accompanied by destructive behavior, it can usually be treated right away.
Barking at People
This ties in with barking at other dogs. This type of barking may be because your dog is not socialized with other people. He may simply see any other human as a threat to him and his owner.
Neighbors Dog Barking
This can be tricky to fix, because you can’t discipline your neighbor’s dog yourself. There are a few ways to approach this situation. First, approach your neighbor in a friendly, non-confrontational manner. If you are uncomfortable speaking in person, you can send a letter. Be sure to notify your landlord if you are renting.
Try using an ultrasonic barking device. Most systems go up to 50 feet, and may help in stopping your neighbor’s dog from barking.
If your neighbor does not attempt to fix his dog’s barking, you may have to notify law enforcement such as animal control. Keep a log on your neighbor’s dog’s barking. This will help to prove your case if the situation goes any further.
How to Control Dog Barking
After figuring out why your dog may be barking, it’s time to start breaking the habit. There are many different training techniques available, you just have to determine which technique will work best for your dog. As soon as you determine what methods your dog understands best, it is important to keep at this method for as long as it takes your dog to understand fully what you are asking him to do.
It is also important to realize that training won’t cure your dog’s barking overnight. It takes time and patience to stop your dog from barking completely. Puppies learn quicker because they soak in the information you provide for them. Training can be especially tricky if you have an older dog, as their habits can be harder to break.
Training Your Dog to Stop Barking
The first thing to note is that you should never yell at your dog to stop barking. He will think you are actually barking along with him and it will likely encourage his behavior. Talking in a stern, a low tone will be the most effective on your dog.
Always keep training sessions upbeat and positive. Getting angry and punishing your dog will just scare him, not teach him to stop barking. He may stop for the time being out of fear, but will likely continue once you leave the room.
For example, if your dog barks, you command him to stop barking and he obeys, proceed with lots of praise such as “good dog!” and then give him a treat. Positive reinforcement works better than punishment every time.
It is important that everyone in your family is on the same page when it comes to training your dog, and not just for barking. Being consistent with training methods will avoid confusion for your dog. It is also important to catch him EVERY time he barks, not just every other time.
Avoid giving your dog any attention when he is barking. This means no talking to, no touching, don’t even acknowledge him. As soon as he stops barking, give him a treat and praise him. Be patient though, you must wait until however long it takes for him to stop barking.
Teach your dog commands that you want him to obey. Using keywords will help with consistency and will help with future training. Using simple words like “Stop” “Quiet” or “Enough” are short and will get the point across to your dog most effectively. You may also want to try commands such as “Bed” or “Down” to get him to go to his bed when guests arrive.
Rewarding your dog is positive reinforcement and will be the most effective technique. Keep treats handy for when your dog stops barking by your command. As soon as he is quiet, he can have a treat. Don’t forget to include praise!
Little bits of cooked chicken is a great form of treats to use when training. Give your dog a bit of chicken every time he obeys a command.
Keep Him (or Her) Busy
When you leave the house, make sure your dog has something to do. This will help stop him from barking at passerby’s and out of boredom. Lots of exercises will also help prevent barking at night. The more exercise, the better! A sleeping dog is a good one. This is the same as with hamsters. They need a silent hamster wheel for running otherwise they will also drive everyone around them crazy.
Example: give your dog a kong toy filled with treats or peanut butter. This not only helps to stimulate neurological activity but keeps him occupied for hours.
Dog Stop Barking Devices
Dog Barking Ultrasonic Devices
This is a training device used without shocks or physical contact. It picks up barking from a 25-foot radius and lets out an ultrasonic (or audible) frequency to stop dogs from barking.
Dog Clicker Training Systems
This is a very popular device used in training dogs. Simply use the clicker to reward good behavior. It easily attaches to a keychain and the stainless steel device won’t rust. This guide is approved by the Training Directors of Triple Crown Academy.
Cirtus/Citronella Spray Collars
This is a citronella spray formula to help train aggressive dogs. It can spray up to 10 feet and is safe to use indoors. It is effective with no harmful side effects.
Silent Dog Whistles
This acts as an aid when training your dog. It is barely audible to the human ear and comes with an adjustable pitch that your dog can hear from 300 yards away.
Bark Control Collars
Cure your dog’s barking safely and comfortably. The collar has an automatic shutoff feature to avoid the risk of overcorrection. There are 3 training modes to choose from. SportDOG collar comes with a rechargeable battery and lifetime warranty.
Collars to Stop Dog Barking
When it comes to barking collars, there are plenty of mixed reviews. It is a very controversial topic and many people are against the use of shock collars for training purposes. There are both benefits and risks involved in using shock collars. It is important to read about other options available for training.
Shock collars are most commonly used to keep your dog inside your property, prevent barking, to stop behavior problems and to keep dogs away from potentially dangerous objects or situations.
Benefits of Bark Collars
Shock collars allow the owner to control the shock delivered to your dog. If your dog misbehaves and does not respond to warning shocks, you can control how strong the delivery will be. This is good because you can better understand what your dog will respond to. If the behavior continues using one level, you can turn up the shock strength until he understands your command.
Shock collars can correct your dog’s bad behavior even when you are not around. This is good for barking. The shock is automatically delivered as soon as your dog starts to bark. However, automatic shock collars can have serious side effects. They may shock at an incorrect time and cause confusion and aggression. There are a number of bark-specific collars and tools that may produce better results than a shock collar.
A vibrate or beep from a collar may be enough to teach your dog. Electronic collars deliver a beep and vibrate as warnings for bad behavior. If trained properly, your dog may associate the behavior with the warnings. This is good because you can avoid using the shock option altogether. The key is persistence.
Risks of Bark Collars
Dogs may become more aggressive – Pain from a shock collar may in fact cause an opposite reaction than what you are trying to teach him. This means when you try to correct your dog’s bad behavior and induce a shock, he may become scared or aggressive and continue or worsen the behavior. It is important to use shock collars as training devices, and not simply punishment for bad behavior.
The pain may be associated with the wrong thing – This means your dog may associate the pain from a shock with the environment or other animals or humans. This could lead to fear of the particular object, animal or person. If your dog suspects you are the one inducing the pain, the special bond you have with him may be weakened.
May induce stress – If your dog is unable to predict when he may receive a shock (when he is about to do something bad) it could induce stress. Your dog may believe anything he does will cause a shock. Added stress will lower your dog’s quality of life and could lead to health risks such as depression and anxiety.
In short, if these collars are misused, they may result in a serious health condition or even death. Shock therapy is meant to be a short term, training aid. If you choose to use a shock collar for training purposes, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about tips and options for using shock collars safely.
Types of Bark Collars
Electronic collars – Electronic collars are the most popular for training. They come with three modes: beep mode, vibrate mode and shock mode. The main point of the electronic collar is that you may not have to actually induce a shock to your dog. The beep and vibrate options may correct your dog’s behavior before a shock is needed.
Shock collars – These deliver a full electric shock to your dog. These collars usually come with shock strength options, but be aware that even the lowest shock will induce pain in your dog. Shock collars are generally used on uncontrollable, over-aggressive dogs that do not respond to electronic collars.
Citronella or citrus collars – This type of corrective collar offers a spray mist of citronella when your dog misbehaves. It works by startling your dog out of his behavior, whether it be barking, jumping up, digging or overall bad behavior.
Costs of Bark Collars
Dog collars can cost anywhere from $50 to $500. There are plenty of options to choose from and many reviews you can read to choose which is best for your dog. The cost of collars usually includes the type of warranty, battery life, and features.
Just because a collar has a high price tag, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best choice for you and your dog. Some things to consider before purchasing a bark collar include the size of your dog, type of fur he has, temperament and level of aggression.
Debarking Your Dog
Debarking is a very drastic measure in stopping your dog from barking. It is also known as vocal cordectomy, surgical debarking or devocalization. It is a surgical procedure in which the dog’s vocal cords are cut or removed. This procedure is done under anesthesia either through the mouth or through an incision in the neck.
Something to note is that this procedure does not completely silence your dog. The noise will be more of a hoarse whisper than a bark, and he may still be able to howl, whine or growl.
This procedure is quite controversial, and there are many benefits and risks involved before committing to the procedure.
Benefits of Debarking
When a dog’s barking has become a problem, and no training methods seem to work, debarking surgery may be the last step.
There are some benefits to the debarking procedure.
- Your dog will be able to bark as much as he wants. Barking is a natural behavior, and although he won’t be loud anymore, he will still be able to communicate freely.
- Excessive training or use of stop barking devices such as shock collars may make your dog depressed or anxious. The relationship between you and your dog may become weak. Not having to constantly punish your dog for barking may make your relationship much happier.
- Your dog will be able to stay outdoors without annoying neighbors. Your dog will be able to stay outside and not disturb anyone.
- Some people consider debarking a way to save a dog’s life. If a dog’s consistent barking creates a problem for your household, neighbors or landlord, and training does not work, some owners simply choose to send the dog to a shelter or pound. This may eventually lead to euthanasia.
Risks of Debarking
Understanding the risks of debarking surgery is very important before committing to the procedure. Not only is debarking a very controversial topic, but there are very serious risks to consider.
- As with any surgery, there may be complications. These include infection, pain, allergy or reaction to anesthesia.
- Scar tissue may develop over time and more surgeries may be required to remove it.
- If there is an intruder near your home, your dog will no longer be able to warn you and ward him off.
- The surgery is considered to be inhumane and cruel. No dog owner wants to see their dog suffering or in pain.
- Further health risks may occur down the road. It is important to properly research this procedure and talk to your veterinarian prior to committing to the debarking surgery.
- Sometimes the procedure does not work the first time. This means you may have to repeat the surgery, which means more use of anesthesia.
Cost of Dog Debarking Surgery
Dog Debarking is a very invasive surgery that costs anywhere from $50 to $600. If you believe debarking is right for your dog, talk to your veterinarian for further information about this procedure.