Training Tip: Stop Excessive Barking

By on August 21, 2014

Excessive Barking is a problem many dog owners deal with and many aren’t quite sure how to properly correct and train pooches to stop. Luckily, our friend Jaime Lundeby of Unleashed Omaha is here to help. The excessive barking question is one submitted by one of our readers- if you’ve got a training query, feel free to use our contact page to submit your own! Now- onto why dogs yap yap yap and how to make corrections:

Barking can be due to a variety of reasons. Dogs can be territorial, aggressive, anxious, obsessive, compulsive and more. These behaviors are sometimes tough to deal with.

“It comes down to what the particular reason is for the barking,” says Jaime. “In territorial barking, we use leadership exercises to establish the dog does not need to worry about who’s at the door or window. We must try to get them use to the things they’ll see in their everyday environment.”  Laying down a solid foundation of obedience and teaching your dogs to be neutral to all stressors will alleviate a lot of the nuisance barking.

When the dog understands that you are the pack leader and protector of the household (not him), the territorial nature of his barking dissipates because he looks to you for the decision making. “Aggressive barking is handled in a similar way. We establish new pack structure and a dog life with boundaries, guidance and advocacy.” As counterproductive as it sounds, one of the ways to teach a dog to stop barking is to put the barking to a command.  If you are able to trigger your dogs barking with a sound or action, this is going to be the key to teaching your dog “how to bark.”

With a clicker in hand (a common training tool you should consider using) and a bunch of treats, perform whatever action or sound that triggers your dog’s bark. When your dog barks, click the clicker and give your dog a treat. Repeat this action until you have your dog consistently barking at the stimulus to access the treat after you click the behavior. Once you have the consistency of the bark from the stimulus, you’re going to name the command.  Say the word “SPEAK” immediately following the action or sound that makes your dog bark. Do this every time. When the dog barks, click and treat.

Say “Speak!” Here’s the process once again:

1. Stimulating action

2. Barking

3. Click

4. Treat

Perform this a handful of times. “Eventually, through association, your dog will hear you say the word “Speak” and he will anticipate the stimulating sound is coming through that association. He will bark without hearing the sound when he does click-and-treat,” Jaime says.

Now, you have the barking solely on the word “Speak” without the noise.  If your dog stops barking from just the word “speak,” just revert back to bringing in the stimulus until the association is made and they are barking only from the word “Speak.” You have taught this behavior to only be performed when you give a command. You can correct the dog with prong collars, or if properly trained, an e-collar correction. Bark collars are also a great tool and are far from inhumane, Jaime says.

“I recommend teaching “SPEAK” and then using smaller corrections with prong or e-collar first, then using the bark collar. It is much easier to understand when they’ve been introduced to low level corrections via prong and manual e collar as the barking collar will increase correction automatically for continued barking,” he says. “Because we’ve already shown why the dog is being corrected, the bark collar correction will not be associated as nearly a severe of punishment.”

If you’d like to learn more about the leadership exercises and how to re-establish pack structure in your home, contact Jaime and Unleashed Omaha at 402.665.1114 or Private Message him on Facebook.

For more information about Unleashed Omaha, the company website should be finished and available soon. We’ll give you a heads up when is up and running.

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