Barking is one of the hardest behaviors to get under control. There are many types of barking and finding out the cause is very important. If you know what makes your dog bark you can recreate the trigger to use it in training exercises. Make sure you are not rewarding your dog for barking in any way. Don’t look, touch or talk to the dog when they bark.
If your dog barks at the door, he needs to be desensitized to the doorbell and to people coming through the door. Start with a soft knock at the door, wait for the dog to be quiet and reward with a yummy treat. Repeat several times increasing the trigger (knock, doorbell, human), until you can have a new person at the door ringing the doorbell. The dog’s barking should decrease in both intensity and noise level. We suggest that you begin with 10 to 15 minutes a day. You should try to keep the dog under threshold as much as you can. This means the dog hasn’t exploded in a barking fit, but is still able to think.
If your dog is over threshold and you need to stop the barking, a “time out” can sometimes help. Time out should be in a place where the dog is safe and can’t get into more trouble. A crate or small room is ideal. The dog should not be able to see you or hear you. Start with 5 minutes, then let the dog back out, if the pup goes back to barking put him back in for 10 minutes, then 15. If you find your dog is still barking we suggest that you take her for a walk, not a sniff or a run in the yard. It shouldn’t be a reward but more of a means to express excess energy.
No matter which technique you use it will take time and lots of patience. Go slowly and stay positive. Like any training exercise, this one can be fun too. If you need more help though, give us a call so we can schedule a consultation with our trainer.