Barking Dogs

United States
March 10, 2009 9:32pm CST
My dogs have a common, and yet very annoying problem. They bark all the time--from passing neighbors, to the mailman, to what sometimes seems to be nothing at all. There is a lot of advice out there, and I would love to discuss these choices and get some feedback. The first method involves squirting water at the dog each time he or she barks. This is supposed to get the dog's attention off whatever he or she is barking at and focus on you instead. What is great about this method is it works instantly; however, the real question revolves around the long-term benefit. Does the dog really understand why you are squirting water? Is it scaring the dog and harming your relationship?The second method, so I have heard, is the shock collar. It works much like the water bottle method, but it administers a shock instead of a squirt. The same pros and cons apply; I believe this method is a bit inhumane, but the shock sure does get the dog's attention. The third method is treating the dog to give him or her a positive association with passing strangers. Before the dog sees the stranger, give him or her a bit of a treat. Continue this as the stranger passes. If he or she starts barking, give the dog the "watch me" command to distract him or her until he or she is quiet; then, start the whole process over. Over time, this will help alleviate any anxiety associated with strangers. The method you chose depends on whether you prefer positive-based training or punishment-based treatment. There is a lot of debate in the training world about which is more effective. Currently, I believe more are leaning toward positive training due to the fact, according to many trainers, that it helps you maintain a positive relationship with your dog. I would love to get some feedback on this. What do you think?
1 person likes this
1 response
@Canellita (12051)
• United States
11 Mar 09
My Dad had a dog that used to bark that way and the neighbors complained and he had to go to court over it and then the dog had to go to bad dog school. Dogs are supposed to bark and unfortunately they don't speak English, at least not yet, well, except for that one dog... Anyway, I would call the local SPCA and see what kind of training they have for the dogs to distinguish a real threat from someone they might be trying to get outside to play with. Which brings to mind something else -- Dogs have different kinds of barks. Are yours making the same noises all the time?
@EvrWonder (3575)
• Canada
11 Mar 09
In my experience, socialization with that which causes the barking seems to help a great deal to help cease the barking. This takes time but is worthy. We want our dogs to bark when stranger approach our home. Choose wisely as to what to desensitize our dogs barking from.