How do you stop a dog from barking?
“How do you stop a dog from barking?”. Here’s a quick tip on how to teach your dog to be quiet when there’s excitement outside, and that the postman is not here to murder us.
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How To Stop A Dog From Barking Out The Front Of Your House
I’ve got a quick tip for you today on stopping your dog from barking at things or people going past out the front of your property. Most dogs do this to some extent or at least get interested in what’s out there. It’s really about teaching them to ignore it and be quiet.
There’s a couple of things we need to keep in mind for this. The first one is that you can actually reward your dog for silence, even though it seems like your dog is doing nothing. In the absence of the behaviour you don’t want happening, you can reward your dog, and anything you reward for becomes stronger. Even if that’s silence and it seems like they’re not doing much.
We’re going to take our opportunity and reward the dogs for actually being quiet, not just wait until they bark, then try to get them to be quiet and then reward. If we always wait for them to bark first, you can get into a bit of a pattern, where the dog will learn to start barking, so that you tell them to be quiet, so that they then be quiet and then you reward them.
While we do want our dogs to learn to be quiet on command once they’ve already started, we also want them to learn not to start in the first place, so that they don’t into that pattern. Because dogs learn by patterns, routines and things that they can predict. They will see that there’s a pattern there, of when they bark, you will call them away or give them a quiet command, and then when they do it, they’ll get a reward.
If they know they’re going to get that reward at the end of that chain, they’ll make that chain happen. That’s an important thing to keep in mind.
Now, I thought I’d do this video today, I’ve got Chester and Envy inside. Across the road, we’ve got a lot going on with a house being built, there’s all different people coming and going, there’s a little dog out on the road that’s coming out of one of the neighbor’s houses, barking and then running back in, up and down the street. There has been some people walking past, and so, Chester, he really doesn’t care. But Envy gets a little bit concerned and suspicious – she’s more of a guarding breed.
I would like her to bark less at things that are happening out the front. I thought I’d use this opportunity to show you some of the things that I’m doing with them to just reinforce not to bark at everything that’s going on out the front, and you can use this with your dogs at home as well.
First thing’s first, alternative behaviours. One of the really popular ones is to teach your dog to go to place. That’s what they’re doing right now. They’re right near the window. They can still look out the window and see things, but they’ve also been told to stay on their places, and so they’re doing that as well.
Obviously, being in one place doesn’t stop you from barking, but it can stop you from getting so wound up and running up and down the window or from the window to the door and stuff like that. If your dog just needs to chill and calm down, teaching them to stay on a place like this, or even a really solid down stay is a great tool to have.
Alternative behaviours do help, when you’re trying to teach your dog what to do and what not to do. You can see that Envy is getting quite interested. Good girl, yes. I’m going to reward that, because she looked and was distracted by what’s going on out there, but she didn’t react.
Like I said, you can reward for doing nothing as well, so Chester’s also getting a reward just for staying in place and being quiet, because that’s what we’re after.
So one thing to watch when you’re doing this as a setup is that your dog might clue on to the fact that you’re training or you’ve got treats, whatever your reward is. I recommend treats. They’ll clue onto it and they’ll stop all of the barking, and they’ll just look at you. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because like I mentioned earlier, you can keep rewarding your dog for the absence of the behaviour, and for doing the alternative behaviour instead.
Now also, you might be thinking, yeah, but you’re standing there with a treat bag, setting it up like a training session, and I get it, it’s not always going to look like this, because I have set this up today to work on this. I do recommend that you set up some training sessions before you wing it and you’re just dealing with it as it happens, and your dog’s already started going off, it’s not barking. Because doing these little practises will help your dog to understand what you want later, when you’re not prepared and they are barking.
I do recommend that you have your dogs reward handy, if it’s treats, especially if it’s dry treats, you can just have a little bowl sitting on the countertop while you’re working on this issue, and when your dog starts barking and you call them away or say quiet and they do it, you’ve got a reward ready to go. You can come up to where the barking is happening, tell them to stop and then reward them for being quiet. But these set up sessions are going to help you avoid that pattern we talked about earlier, where your dog wants to start barking so that you’ll tell them to stop and then reward them. That’s one thing to avoid.
If you do some of this practise, where you’re rewarding them for calm and quiet, while those things are going on outside, that’s going to help your dog understand the more overall picture of what you want.
Now your dog doesn’t have to be on a placed bed to do this. It’s one of the great alternative behaviours that you can use for this, but you can also just use a sit stay or a down stay. You can call your dog away, or you can teach them a quiet command by saying quiet, waiting for a few seconds of silence before rewarding. It should be a few seconds of silence, at least 10 seconds of silence, not just a brief moment and then back to the barking, because then they’ll just stop barking, take a treat, go back to barking, and we want to avoid those sorts of back and forth patterns as well.
If your dog starts barking again after you’ve said quiet, you can say no and redirect them into being quiet again, and then reward. Giving them alternative behaviours helps with this as well. To be able to set this up to work on it, choose times of day when you know that it’s busier out the front. Like the time that people are walking their dogs or, like I’ve got the situation that I can use now, with the people building across the road, and make the most of it. If you can’t be there to work on it and stop your dog from practising the barking, keep them in an area away from where it happens, because if they’re practising it all day without you there, it’s just getting more and more ingrained as a habit.
I hope that tip’s helped you today, and remember to be consistent, be ready and that your dog is always learning by what’s happening from you and from everyone else in your household.
Now go and be your dog’s best friend.