If your dog won’t stop barking (and so, sadly, your neighbors see you as that person with the “annoying barking dog“) it can be very annoying and cause problems for yourself and your neighbors.
This article will explore three ways you can quiet your dog, and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Classic Obedience Training
There are innumerable books on the subject of canine obedience training, most of which address the problem of obnoxious barking. Most of these books recommend a positive reinforcement for good behavior, which can be very effective in a relatively short space of time.
For example, when your dog is barking up a storm, gently but firmly close his mouth with one hand. Tell him quietly and sternly not to bark, putting a lot of emphasis into your voice.
For safety reasons, don’t make it a rough, sudden or unnecessarily aggressive move. Repeat until the dog can be released without barking, and then give him a small treat of some kind to reinforce the good behavior.
Home Training Aids
Among other things, audio-sensitive shock collars can be a highly effective way to deal with an incessant barker, without causing any real harm. Shock collars that respond to noise can be purchased for any size canine (and make sure you do the research before purchasing), and operate by emitting a low-level electrical charge when it senses percussive noises of a certain decibel.
The main thing to worry about here is that other noises aren’t setting off your dog’s collar; not only will it cause him unwarranted discomfort, but it will confuse him as to the point of the collar if it shocks him when he’s not barking. Be on the listen for noises similar to barking in your house and surrounded areas, such as hammers on a construction site or the sound of a snare-drum in a drum kit. Ask a local pet supplier about the sensitivity of shock collars and what the best kind would be for your pet before purchasing anything.
Take Him to a Trainer
For more extreme cases of constant barking professional help may be needed before they can be resolved. Animal trainers have the schooling and the experience to know what your dog is barking at and why, and can suggest possible exercises that might help.
Do your research before selecting a trainer in your area, though; good trainers are usually exhorted by the community, while bad trainers are warned against. A little time spent on the Internet or with local pet-owners who have visited trainers in the area should give you all the information you need to make the best choice for your beloved pet.
Once you’ve selected your trainer, set up an initial meeting with them. Describe to them the frequency of your dog’s barking, the times of day it occurs and what is generally happening at the time. If you’re lucky, the trainer can diagnose the problem immediately and prescribe a home remedy that doesn’t require your spending money on regular sessions.
The main issue you’ll have to overcome is one of patience; your dog’s barking can be annoying at times, and rub you the wrong way. You have to consider the importance of giving your dog enough attention, and taking him for walks to let him release his energy, as well.
Jordan Gaither: I’m a Communications major by trade, an artist by choice, a welder by day and a dancer by night (Okay, I made that last part up). Having lived in a succession of cramped, oddly-shaped apartments, I have a wealth of personal experience in apartment living, as well as arranging and decorating to maximize effect and livable space.