Barking dogs

Well, I suppose if you’re not that guy who wore the bark collar, you might want some better options to stop a barking dog. Let me tell you first that most dogs bark out of boredom: if your dog is barking when you’re not home, start adding some daily walks to the routine. Quiet often that gets rid of the problem!

But if you’ve already done that and you need help with barking at doors and windows, for instance, read on!

There are a lot of things you can do regarding barking dogs, but a few of the easiest are bark collars, squirt bottles, and recall.

You can get a few different kinds of bark collar. Now, keep in mind a bark collar will remove the symptom (barking) but not the problem (obsession, not listening, being hyper-vigilant.) That said, if you need a patch while you work on the rest, bark collars are great! I personally prefer the citronella bark collars if they work for your dog; they spray a strange-to-dogs scent in the air when your dog barks. The downside of these are that they run out of spray if the dog barks too often, and sometimes the dogs don’t care!

If the citronella collar doesn’t work on your dog, you can look at a static (or electronic) bark collar. Be aware that this is way too much power for some dogs, so go the citronella route first. (Pet Food Express, among others, will take these back if they don’t work on your dog.) You can get an idea of what sort of shock your dog is getting if you put the collar to your throat and either cough or laugh. Keep in mind fur dulls it significantly, but it’s still a surprising jolt. (I’m never a fan of jolting my dogs, but it’s better than a neighbor poisoning them.)

Now, if it’s something that happens when you’re home, you can also try a squirt bottle. Get one of those heavy-duty ones from a hardware store, put it on stream, and the next time your dog barks use a verbal bridge. This means you start talking as soon as they bark, and continue talking until you squirt them. You’re bridging the bad behavior with the consequences by talking. My “talking” is my bad dog noise, which is a hissing sound, but you can also use a litany of words: “No barking, I said no, that’s enough, boom shakala boom” — it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep talking! Then you can squirt them even if they’ve stopped barking, and they’ll still make the connection. Woo hoo!

Finally, there’s the recall option. This relies on replacing a poor behavior with a better behavior. When your dog barks, call them inside and give them a treat for coming, then keep them inside on a time-out so they have a chance to calm down. Time outs should last 5-10 minutes. Worst case scenario is that they bark and then run to you. Best case scenario is that they stop barking!

All this said, let me just restate: walk your dog! Bring down the energy, teach them to listen on walks, and they’ll be much better behaved at home, too.



2 thoughts on “Barking dogs

  1. All good advice.

    I have used all of your training tips.

    For my dog, his over the top greeting BARKING remains unchanged after 8 years with us.

    Yes, we walk him, train, play, and do recalls, but still must keep squirt bottles handy.

    For my little white rescue, Sydney, what works best is to be prepared. He knows the command, “Ouiet.”

    Yet when greeting, we must put him on a leash and greet people in front of our home. The only other option is to hold him tight until he has stopped shrieking and wriggling.

    • *chuckles* It sounds like you have one of those rare dogs where training has to get creative before it kicks in! At least it sounds like Sydney is friendly, rather than upset at having visitors!


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