Is stopping dog barking on your list of good intentions? It rose up my to-do list recently and I made some good progress.
There’s no getting around it,our LarryDog is a barker, and he is impelled to defend his territory. At our last place, where we had over an acre fenced, he would run the fenceline at top speed, barking his head off, at the relatively few vehicles that went by. Of course, UPS was his favorite. Since his barking also kept the bears out of our yard, I was actually glad of it. That was in Colorado, where the bears came down from the mountains into our semi-rural area.
Now we have a long narrow quarter of an acre, with a quiet street at the bottom of a gently sloping hill and the house just about all the way at the top of the land. LarryDog loves to sit on our front porch and go charging down to the street when he notices motion through the slats of the gate. Once there he barks,even if nobody is there anymore.
That’s relatively easy to handle as he will come when called. He’s a lovely enthusiastic sight, running back to the house, leaping the flowerbeds in his eagerness to see if there is a treat this time. I use intermittent rewards to keep him guessing.
But now we have a different challenge. We’ve hired a couple of men to do some construction on the side of the house. They need to leave the front gate open, so we keep the dog inside while they are here. And he’s been barking at their frequent comings and goings. It’s made me appreciate again the barkless Basenji we had until she died a couple of years ago.
Get the Dog to Sit to Reduce Barking
So I’ve been working with LarryDog. I had read that dogs don’t bark when they are sitting. He does have a very good sit. So I ask him to sit. It doesn’t always stop the noise, but often it does.
I also call him to come to me and then reward him with some petting or a bit of food.
Also, at other times randomly, I reward silence in the same ways.
On an obnoxiousness scale of 1-10, where 10 is the worst, I’d say it has dropped from a 9 to about a 5 so far. think I’d better stick a clicker and some treats in my pocket!
Here’s a really good book about dog barking, not only about stopping it but about understanding why they bark. I learned a lot from it: