The following is a question from one of the readers of our site:
I live in an apartment and Charlie barks at the sounds of the neighbors coming and going from their apartments. He also barks at everyone he sees when he sits out on the balcony. How do I stop the barking please?
I must say that your videos have helped me enormously. Charlie was hugely leash aggressive but he is now around 98% improved after only a week of me implementing your training methods!
There are two main types of dog barking that I typically see. If you are going to know how to stop a barking dog it’s important to first understand the ‘why’ and the motivation behind your little buddy’s barks:
Barking for a purpose- This is a dog who runs to the window to bark at passers-by, barks at people or dogs on walks, barks when someone rings the doorbell, etc. In other words, there are very clear and visual triggers that cause the dog to bark.
Nuisance barking- This is a dog who barks to hear themselves ‘talk’. They bark at every other sound, bark when lonely in the crate, bark at leaves rustling, etc. In other words, there is no clear and present threat, trigger, etc. they are simply barking because they want something and aren’t getting it.
How To Stop A Barking Dog- The Solution
As I mentioned previously, if you want to know how to stop a barking dog, first diagnose why it is happening. Once you know the motivation then it’s important to address the problem head on:
For dogs that are barking with a purpose it’s important to replace the bad behavior with good behavior. For example, have your dog lie down and stay rather than rush to the door when someone knocks. Have your dog heel properly by your side instead of barking at dogs and other people. For most dogs and owners this will require an increase in obedience training and perhaps even an advanced level of training. Our clients will typically use the foundation obedience or advanced e-collar obedience programs to help solve those issues.
For nuisance barkers I typically just correct the barking. This may be with a leash correction, squirt bottle, or e-collar correction. Following the correction I’ll praise the silence.
Generally speaking, when I’m asked how to train a dog to focus and how to train a dog with hand signals I give an answer that most people weren’t expecting. That reason is, I almost never train a dog to focus on command. The reason why is two-fold:
It’s limiting. People who want to learn how to train a dog to focus often don’t realize that it’s essentially training the dog to not pay attention until someone is begging for their attention.
It’s cumbersome. I like to have my command be a call to attention AND a call to action.
In that sense I am training a dog to focus but I’m not doing it in the sense that most people are asking about. Here is how to train a dog to focus:
Give one ‘free’ command. Just say the command in a calm even tone. It doesn’t matter if the dog is paying attention or not, simply give the command.
If the dog obeys the command, great! Praise the dog.
If the dog disobeys the command, don’t get upset. Simply repeat the command with a correction. This step of the formula is how to train a dog to focus. Simply put, it doesn’t matter if the dog was paying you any heed to begin with. When you start correcting for non-compliance the dog quickly learns to pay attention AND obey the given command.
Praise the dog once the correction achieved compliance.
Insist on permanence; i.e. if you’ve said sit, keep sitting. If you’ve said heel, keep heeling, etc.
The occasions where I DO teach a dog to focus are generally based around fixing an aggression issue where the dog needs pay attention to the owner vs. the aggressive trigger.
My advice to my clients is to NOT train their dogs to focus on command but to rather have a higher level of obedience requiring the dog to be at the ready for commands throughout the day.
In this video you’ll see the first session of my recall training with the e-collar. This is just a brief video that is a taste of what is found in the hours and hours of training found in my dvd program.
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Hi Ty, Just wanted to check in and let you know that Sierra is doing REALLY well. I am so happy with her and she is so much better behaved. It is nice to be able to sit on my front porch and have her out there with me enjoying things. She is great on trail and responds well. Overall I am so very pleased with the changes your help brought about in her behavior. Take good care and thanks again.
Kathy – Happy Dog Owner
Ty with DogBehavionOnline.com, helped me so much with the entire doggy process. He helped me along every step of the way, beginning with the breed of dog, to finding a reputable breeder, then finally training our newest family member. Thanks to Ty we don’t just have a dog, we have a great addition to our family.
The Collard Family
Ty, I just wanted to say thanks for the training for Boo. He has just been awesome. He is so much calmer and we have been practicing the things on the list and he is doing great. I thought he was good on a leash when we went walking, but he is tons better now. I love it. I will definitely recommend you to anyone who is having pet issues. Thanks again!
Sonya & Boo
H i Ty, I think anyone getting a dog and needs help training should most definitly call you. your like the dog wisperer of utah county! I want to thank you very much! you brought me much closer to my best friend. I did not know how for sure to train my dog. but for you it just came natural. your a great trainer and a great teacher. Thanks again.