Barking at night
The simple answer is to ignore the dog. By barking, it is training you
to respond. You might have a few noisy nights but you will be showing it
that barking is not productive. Certainly do not respond by shouting or
scolding. If you do so the dog will only know that its barking has been
productive by making you bark as well.
The reason for excessive barking in one word is FEAR, and it is
frightened because it has not been socialized. It is nervous of every
sound it hears and barks in a futile attempt to send the perceived
threat away. Sometimes a dog which constantly whines, cries, barks, or
is destructive, suffers from skin problems brought about by scratching
and licking themselves because of the stress of being left. Generally
this is not a problem with dogs which have been socialized through
training classes at an early age. The solution is socialzation through
obedience classes and home management.
Barking when the owner is out
This is a big problem caused by bad owners. The dog is a pack animal and
if, as a member of the family pack, it is given the freedom of the home
by being allowed to rest on the furniture and sleep in bedrooms, then it
will suffer a form of stress when the pack goes off to work because it
expects to go with the pack. When people leave home they should not
look, touch or talk to the dog for about 10 minutes beforehand. The same
applies when coming home: ignore, no talking, no patting, no looking,
nothing. This way, the dog understands that its barking has not brought
the owner back. If it has been barking while you were away and is
rewarded by your attention when you come back, it then thinks it was its
barking that brought you back to the house. A dog’s bark is said to be
worse than its bite. It certainly is for the neighbors of a constantly
barking dog left alone for too long, unsocialized and with uncaring
owners. Hopefully no readers would permit their dogs to be such a
Barking at the postman
The postman or any kind of regular deliveryman is regarded by your dog
as an intruder and so it barks and is immediately rewarded by the
postman going away. It thinks it has frightened off the intruder and
done its duty. Talk to your postman and try to get him to cooperate.
Tell him you will leave a tit-bit outside the door and ask him to push
it through the letter-box before the letters. The tit-bit will be a
better reward for your dog than chasing the postman away.
Barking when the telephone rings
If you shout (bark) at your dog when it barks at the telephone ringing,
you are encouraging it to bark more. It feels there is danger if you
react. Get a friend to phone you at several agreed times. When the phone
rings do not move and do not speak. After your friend has done this a
few times your dog will no longer bark when the telephone rings.
Barking from balconies
When a dog barks from a balcony at someone passing by, it is simply
asserting its dominance, firstly by looking down on humans and secondly
by successfully telling them to shove off. As far as the dog is
concerned, it is objecting to someone invading its territory. And even
more pleasing, its barking is rewarded by the passerby walking away.
Answer: ban the dog from the balcony.
Abistop is a French invention resulting from chemosensory research into
the dog barking problem. It is attached to the dog´s collar and
automatically emits a small spray of citronella whenever the dog barks.
Brief exposure to cintronella immediately distracts dogs but does not
cause them distress and even smells pleasant to humans. It is effective
but expensive at £90. A cheaper method might be a quick squirt of water
from a plant spray bottle or putting a bit of food in front of the dog’s
nose. It cannot eat and bark at the same time.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.