“How can I stop my dog barking at anyone who walks past our yard?”
Barking dogs are the bane of neighbours everywhere. Forget the 5am garbage trucks and the motorcycles without a muffler; it is the barking dog that causes the most number of neighbourhood arguments, and noise complaints.
Yes, we all know that dogs bark for a variety of reasons. They aren’t just barking to annoy neighbours. All you really want to know is the simple easy strategy to get them to stop.
Stop them barking at anyone who walks past the gate.
Step 1: Be home and ready to ‘train’ (have some treats handy – like Jerhigh Chicken Bites)
Step 2: When your dog starts barking, grab the treats and say QUIET. Follow this with a hand gesture (that you don’t currently use for sit/stay/down). Bring the treat close to his nose if needed to distract them. As soon as he stops, repeat Quiet and treat him.
Step 3: REPEAT. Keep practicing until your dog remembers the command. Slowly increase the duration of the Quiet command before treating. (Like you would for Stay command)
Option: Speed up the process by getting a friend to trigger the barking by ringing the doorbell or walking past the gate.
Ummm... I’ve got TWO barkers: Like any training, it’s easier one on one. When training, either place one dog away in another room or get a training partner so you can each concentrate on one dog.
Note: For the training to work, it is crucial not to let your dog practice his barking behaviour when you are not around. If he practices unsupervised barking, and is inadvertently rewarded for it (e.g. by the postman leaving), he will keep repeating that behaviour. With more practice it will become more and more difficult to stop your dog from barking.
If it’s not possible to be home until he’s fully trained, consider doggie daycare or hire a pet sitter to prevent him from practicing his barking behaviour. This will remove them from their barking triggers and give them other activities to keep them engaged.
There are a number of products in the market that can assist to reduce the problem as well.
Spray collars – Automatically sprays close to the dog’s face with citronella (an unpleasant smell) when he barks.
Ultrasonic units- Emits an ultrasonic sound when the dog barks to create a barking distraction.
All anti-bark collars work by distracting the dog from barking.
Soft Hushing muzzle collars
Whilst the word ‘muzzle’ has been synonymous in the past with ‘bad’ aggressive biting dogs – it is actually great for preventing barking. It works by restricting the extent a dog can open his mouth. He can bark – but after a few barks, dogs find it tiresome to open their mouths repeatedly against the flexible elastic.