Stop Dog Barking: Training Your Dog To Be Quiet On Cue
Finally there is a proven way to stop dog barking without having to resort to the old school training methods of punishing your dog, using shock collars or other negative methods.
In this blog post I decided to share with you an answer to one of my clients frustrations about not being able to stop her dog’s barking.
I think you’ll love the suggestions I gave her, and will find them extremely effective ways to stop dog barking once and for all!
*** Question From A Reader ***
I was wondering if you are able to help I have asked my vet about this. Every Friday morning around 5am garbage trucks come by. One is for normal rubbish and one is recycling. I sometimes wake up before they get close to our home. But when the truck is within two or three houses Snoopy starts to bark constantly and I have tried to get him to be quite but he will not listen. The only way I can stop him barking is by holding him by the collar and lightly holding his mouth closed. Otherwise he constantly barks. I received Snoopy Border Collie x Blue Cattle at nine months. And he is now seven. It has been a lot of garbage trucks. I am not sure whether it is a habit he has gotten into or something is aggravating him. If it is habit how to I break it. I love him dearly I would like to be able to solve this problem for me and the neighbors. I hope you can suggest some ideas to help this situation. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated as I have no idea how to tackle this situation. I have had a look at the barking video which had great ideas but I am not sure how to apply it to this situation.
>>> My Comments:
Anne, there are several reasons why a dog barks. He could be afraid, he could be territorial, bored, just be letting you know about something new, or he could be excited… and on and on.
Most of the time it’s a combination of your dog being a bit of an Emotional Wussie, along with continually trying to always use, force, restraint or negative controlling types of intervention… and never really seeing results.
Let’s first talk about the Emotional Wussie part 😉
Helping dogs be more resilient Emotionally is what my Emotion Training program is all about. It’s really best described as an 8 week Emotional Conditioning program that would be a lot like you or I doing an 8 week exercise or conditioning program.
In a traditional conditioning program that you or I would take part in, we’d go into a see a personal trainer, they’d test us to see how much stress or resistance our bodies could handle without breaking down…
Then they customize a conditioning program that’s designed to put low levels of stress on our bodies to help them build up their ability to handle more and more weight.
Well your dog’s Emotions work the same way.
In truth, every living creatures emotions work the same way.
If a human is afraid of public speaking, and they want to become more Emotionally Conditioned to handle the stress of speaking in front of others, it’s a good idea to start by speaking in front of just one other person, then a small group of close friends in a speaking class, then to strangers, etc.
You don’t just throw that scared public speaker in front of 100,000 people with no build up.
They can’t handle it Emotionally.
Their Emotions haven’t been built up to the point where they can remain calm in that kind of a situation.
So that’s what my Emotion Training program does for dogs.
It strategically puts them in low emotional stress situations so they can gradually build up their “Emotional Muscles” to the point where a dog that normally would run in fear if another dog approached him, could calmly walk by a violently barking dog and remain calm.
It’s a program that I REALLY think all dog owners need to take their dogs through, and I’m VERY proud of it, it’s definitely my best work yet.
You can learn about my Emotion Training program here”
So that’s the first part you’ve got to get straightened out if you want to stop your dogs barking. You have to get your dog to a place where he’s not an Emotional Wussie, before you use a few advanced training strategies that I’ll share.
One of these strategies I learned from Karon Pryor, an excellent trainer, and pioneer of positive reinforcement training in animals… where she teaches how to put being quiet on cue.
To do this she recommends that you do two things.
1) You first put barking on cue
2) You then put “Stop Barking” on cue
You may first think it’s a bit odd to put a behavior that you DON’T want on cue; but here’s why you might want to consider it.
In Karen’s book, Don’t Shoot The Dog, Karen talks about when she used to do a lot of work training dolphins.
One dolphin in particular had an annoying habit of sinking to the bottom of the pool when it didn’t want to train anymore.
I’m sure you can imagine that a dolphin sitting at the bottom of a pool is a hard thing to work with… so what they discovered is that if they started to reward the behavior of sinking to the bottom of the pool, and actually put it on cue…
They noticed that the dolphin no longer sank to the bottom of the pool *unless* it was cued to do so.
Isn’t that interesting?
This putting a *bad* behavior on cue has had the same effect in tons of other training examples, like barking dogs.
Many dogs who are taught to bark on cue STOP barking unless cued to do so.
>NOTE: It’s not a 100% thing, and works best if the dog is not an emotional wussie.
If you want to know how to put a behavior like this on cue, you can see how to do that in my Hands Off Dog training program here:
But here’s the clever twist…
If you think about it, the BEST way to train an animal to do something is *reward* it after it’s done a behavior that you want to do.
And since we’ve just trained a dog to DO something we don’t want him to do, we now simply ask our dog to bark, then…
Suddenly throw your hand in his face saying stop — No need to yell though 😉
This sudden movement will catch your dog off guard and stop his barking.
Immediately click the clicker and toss him a treat… because he just stopped barking when you asked him to.
The real power and genius of this drill is that it trains your dog to bark when he’s NOT in an emotionally irritated state… so he’s more likely to stop barking because he’s not busy barking at some intruder who’s ventured onto your front lawn.
It’s allowing him to build up to that point!
You can then repeat this over and over, asking your dog to stop barking, then bark, then stop again, each time asking for quiet longer and longer, until the behavior is fully learned!
It’s a SUPER clever strategy that is *super* effective at stopping barking.
>REMEMBER: You still need to keep your dog’s emotional state of mind, in mind. If your dog’s barking all the time because he’s bored in your backyard this strategy isn’t going to work well and requires other techniques like I talk about in my Hands Off Dog training program, here:
Don’t forget that every great technique can only be great when used in the optimal situation, and you really need to asses your dogs motivation for barking before you can come up with a plan to help break him of this bad and annoying habit.
Hopefully that helps!
P.S. If you tried this technique and it worked for you, tell me about it, I’d love to share your success with other readers to help motivate them to want to fix their dog’s problems too!
Just send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include it in a future newsletter.