Dog training thoughts - barking at neighbours

Neighbours or people passing by the house simply don’t bother some dogs. However, for other dogs, a neighbour walking by provides the perfect opportunity to show off their communication skills. This can present problems for lots of people - although some people don'tr worry when their dog barks as they just see it as means of their dog communicating - any6one visiting my house will know that one of my dogs LOVES to bark and I don't mind so long as he does not carry it on too long or get wound up doing it! LOL

We should look at WHY your dog is barking. Barking is a primary form of communication for dogs,which is why I think it is ok in limited amounts, but what are they trying to say?

Protective Bark: This bark is used when your dog feels that your neighbours are on their territory, or threatening their house in some way. This bark will be strong and will potentially increase in volume as the threat continues. If you have a big dog passersby may feel threatened by this - so will burgulars so it not all bad......

Fear/Startled Bark: This type of bark will occur when your dog is barking at a noise that caught their attention. The noise may have made them jump.  My Tommy does this a lot as he is easily scared, big wimp.... :)

Greeting/Play Bark: This type of bark would be used if your dog is interested in playing outside with the neighbours or their dogs, or even if he is just enjopying watching the world go by.  Stan dopes this, he would not be hapopy if the people he is barking at approached the house but he likes to watch them go past and is almost shouting "Hi, where you going, what you doing today" to them as they go by. 

Ongoing/Excessive Bark: This type of bark arises when your dog’s needs are not being met. They may be distressed, and may have extra energy to burn. This is often the one that results in complaiunts being made as it can be prolonged when owners are away at work.

I feel that it is always important to understand what your dog’s motivation is to choose the best way to train them away from the behavior. Now, let’s move on to training your dog not to bark or reducing the amount of barking.

Remove the Motivation: If possible when you dog barks at the neighbours, bring them to another room and distract them. Letting them continue to bark, or even opening the doors or windows is rewarding them for the barking behavior. This can be especially useful when your dog is using a protective or greeting bark. Also the more they get to "practice" the better they will become at barking!

Ignore the Behavior: Don’t reward your dog by giving them attention when they are barking. Instead, be patient and wait until they stop completely. Once they have stopped barking, provide them with a treat. Keep in mind, the treat must provide a greater reward than the barking behavior.  Our liver cake is perfect for this!

A Tired Dog is a Quiet Dog: This is especially true for dogs who are displaying ongoing/excessive barking behavior. They have too much energy to sit still, and the person walking by provides them with entertainment. Exercise your dog and spend some time playiogn with him and he is less likely to have the time or the energy to bark at everyone.

Provide a Reason not to Bark: Give your dog an opportunity to perform a trick, or show you how they can do to their spot. Not only does this distract them from barking, but it also provides you with an opportunity to reward them for a positive behavior. 

Teach Them to Come When Called: Work on this command and behavior frequently. Similar to the suggestion above, when your dog is barking at the door or window, walk across the room and ask them to come. When they walk over to you, provide them a treat and positive praise. I usually thank them for letting me know of the implending disaster by barking and then coming to tell me!

Don’t Shout or Yell: They will think you are joining in and just do it more - sometimes LOTS more!

If it is the neighbours who your dog barks at try introducing them and lettign the dog get to know them - although of course he then may feel the need to shout his news to his new friends when he sees them :)

If your problem is a neighbour's dog barking when left home alone then mention it to them - they may not know and may wanmt to try to help their dog. Leaving the dog with a toy to play with, going for walk prior to leaving, leaving the radio on, having a dog walker go in half way through the day - all these things can solved this problem but if they don't know it's an issue they won't be able to do anything to help either you havign to hear it or their dog doing it. 

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