Let's try to make 2020 a better year for dogs, by having less of them ending up in shelters for reasons, such as barking. Barking is their way of speaking. So they are usually trying to tell us something when they do it. This lady is spot on about it.
Dog Barking-Dyane Kirkland
Some dog breeds are just “barky.” I personally have Bichon Frise, and they will talk, and bark, and grumble…rather like little old people in a bad mood. Some breeds are very quiet but can be set off by specific triggers. (Knew a mixed breed that would help the burglars carry out the spoils, but went ballistic if a single squirrel showed up in his
yard…). In between the two types, here are a zillion cause/effect possibilities. So first, figure out WHY the dog is barking.
Armed with that, try some strategies:
If the dog barks when being left alone, chained outside or any other similar situation, this is not his fault. Dogs are pack animals and do not do well in isolation. Would
suggest puppy daycare a couple days a week, or let them spend more time with you.
If the dog barks and barks and barks at the doorbell or whatever, then you need to train him to stop on command. It’s not hard, it just takes time. Figure it can take 6 weeks for a dog to commit something to long-term memory recall. So - to start, you’ll need a helper to ring the bell. When the dog begins to bark, say something like “Somebody’s at the door. Good boy! Quiet now.” And then distract him. If you use positive reinforcement,
that means give him a treat and praise him when he’s quiet. “Good quiet.” You can also just use your hands to restrain the dog (if he’s not crazed), and quiet him. The point is to teach him that barking is okay, but he needs to stop when you say so. My Bichons learn “bark/no bark” right along with sit and come, and it works well. “Yappy little dogs” annoy everyone, so I make sure mine have something to say before they start sounding off.
Barking at individuals or other dogs in public is a socialization problem. You need to take your dog out in controlled situations to meet other dogs, people, and to have typical life experiences. Maybe find a local “Canine Good Citizen” program for them. Most dogs that bark at everybody and every dog that goes by are usually driven by fear or anxiety - strange is scary. The more socialization your dog has, the less it will be unnecessarily afraid.
Playing with your dog will physically tire them, and also mentally engage them. They are less prone to barking for attention when they’re done chasing 50 tennis balls around the yard.
If you’re having really bad issues that you can’t resolve yourself, get a trainer involved. Don’t just pick up on the nearest/cheapest. My first line of attack is always to go to a local dog training club. The classes are often similar to PetsMart classes in the
beginning, but you will have experienced people teaching who can help you with specific problems. Having taught for both the Kansas City Dog Training Club and for PetsMart, I feel for problems like barking, the training club will give you more resources, options and experience than the store brand.
This is a subject dear to my heart - dogs have too long been assigned the “best friend” position without their humans understanding and working with them. The biggest reasons dogs end up in the shelters are house-training issues and barking issues; neither is all that difficult to improve, but it does take patience and consistency. Best of luck.