Dogs may be man's best friend, but barks sure aren't.
Canine howling at doorbells, delivery men, the cable guy and people coming and going can make for one frazzled dog owner.
But Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog," shared tips to help bring peace to you -- and your neighbors, on "The Early Show Saturday Edition."
She observed that there are many reasons dogs bark, and ways to get them to put a muzzle on it depend on the type of bark.
This is the kind of bark a dog does when demanding attention. He/she is saying, "Look at me, I want something (food, a toy, petting, etc.)."
Training method: This one has a simple solution: Ignore the dog. Turn your back, don't say anything, don't touch or even look at the dog. You do this for as long as the dog is barking at you. Once it stops, you wait for about five seconds of quiet, than turn around and give it some sort of attention. You don't want to give the dog attention while it's still barking -- in its mind, that would be a reward for barking. Instead, reward the dog for being quiet. The dog realizes it gets nothing from you when it barks and everything when it's quiet.
Many dogs bark simply because they're bored. Baking stimulates the dogs and gives them something do to.
Training method: In this case, owners aren't usually giving the dog what it needs. Dogs crave physical exercise and mental stimulation. When you give the dog both of those, the dog will bark less. Essentially, it's an owner's responsibility to provide the dog with a physical and mental outlet. If you have a dog, you have to put in the time. A tired dog doesn't need to bark. More attention is the solution here.
This one is simple: Somebody is coming to the door and the dog is barking to alert the owner. They see something outside the house or hear a strange sound and start barking. They're basically telling their owners that something is there. I believe that dogs should alarm bark: It's their job. Historically, dogs have always been man's first alarm system. That's why man has a good relationship with dogs. They would alert their owners of approaching enemies and protect their livestock. Here's the thing: I only allow a dog to alarm bark three times. I train them to stop after that.
Training method: I will allow a dog to alarm bark three times before I will loudly say, "Thank you," and give them a reward. The reward can be food or toys, whatever the dog likes. This really works. This training method works pretty quickly, but to make it stick, it has to be constantly reinforced. I find a lot of people like their dogs to alarm bark.
This is when the dog barks because it's insecure and aggressive. This is a constant barking at a particular person, guests coming into their house, or barking at other dogs/animals out on the street. This is the bark that people find the most annoying. There is a lot of emotion behind this bark. If a dog fears a human and he or she comes into their house, a dog will bark because it wants them to go away.
Training Method: To stop this kind of barking, I need to show the dog that people who come into the house are good. First, I find out what motivates a particular dog. Some dogs like food, others toys, etc. So, I have the stranger give the dog its favorite treat when the person enters the house. I ask them to just throw the treat toward the dog and never go up to them. And believe it or not, this actually works. It's a process of desensitization. It can take a few days or even a few months to work, depending on the circumstances. Some dogs are just really uncomfortable around strangers. For usually try to bring a couple of strangers into the house during one training session. The owner should do this with any guest who comes into their home. Eventually, the dog will get used to people coming in. In fact, they may soon look forward to visitors and stop barking!
When people get excited, we jump up and make noise (like at a football game); a dog does exactly the same thing.
Training Method: This is hard to do, but you have to ignore your excited dog and not pander to it. You have to give attention to the dog when it's calm and not notice it when it gets excited. That kind of barking only happens in short spurts. You just don't want the barking to go on too long. In this case, I redirect the dog onto something else. I give it a toy, so it can get its excitement out on something else besides the barking. It usually works.