Stop Barking! » Compassionate Canine Training
White dog stanind on dock barking

      Thanks to Jennie Murphy and Benny for this photo

One of the things every one can agree with is that having a dog that barks inappropriately or incessantly is annoying at the very least.  This week we are going to give you the way to teach you dog to “Stop Barking at The World” when you ask them to.  It will also provide ways to test (Pup Quiz) to see if your dog is ready to move to the next step.

A WARNING: This has five steps.  Typically dogs move through these steps quickly (average about 2 weeks) if you do the practice as suggested each day.

 

Remember, until STEP 4 we are not playing this game when your dog is barking.  Please don’t rush!

Equipment:

  • Patience
  • Clicker
  • Yummy treats – in treat pouch, not in your hand please.
    • When your dog understands the game after the first week or so, you can usually switch to kibble/part of their normal dinner meal.
    • UNTIL STEP 5.. then move to the best treats ever for a week or two.
  • Cue – Decide what word you want to use to mean Stop Barking and write it down.  (hush, quiet, thank you, enough)

STEP ONE:  Teaching dog to look or be near door/fence/window quietly is VERY rewarding.  Repeat Step One – 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days.  Each session should take about 3-5 minutes.

  1. Stand near the door (fence etc.) with your dog. Treats in treat pouch, clicker on your wrist.
    • Some dogs are super stimulated simply by the open door, you may want to start with door closed or shades drawn etc.
  2. Wait for your dog to look at the door (without barking) click provide treat to their mouth and as they eat, take step or two away from the door.  They are now 1/2 way between you and the door.
  3. WAIT for your dog to look at the door again.
  4. Repeat above 10-15 times.
  5. End session.

STEP TWO:  Adding your cue word.  Repeat Step Two – 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days.  Each session should take about 3-5 minutes.  We are now redoing Step 1 where we left off.  However we are adding the cue now.  GOAL: Is to add the cue “HUSH” so your dog knows that it means look away from the door/fence/window.

  1. Stand where you did at the end of the last session. We are starting the game with you further away from the door.
  2. Wait for your dog to look at the door (without barking) say “HUSH” click –and provide treat to their mouth where you are standing.
  3. After each treat your dog should wander back toward door/fence or at least look at the door.
  4. Repeat above 10-15 times.
  5. End session.
  6. Repeat Step Two – 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days. Each session should take about 2-3 minutes.
  7. On Day THREE of practice, on the last session, please do the test below to assess progress.

PUP QUIZ 2

  • Do a session as above, but this time. DON’T CLICK after you say “HUSH”.  Your dog will likely look at you or start to move towards you Click and then Treat as before.
  • This shows that your dog has a little inkling what the word means.
  • Keep up your Step Two practice sessions for the rest of the week in the same way you have been.
  • IF your dog doesn’t look or move toward you when you say HUSH, NO WORRIES.
  • Your dog just isn’t quite sure what the word means yet and that’s OK.
  • Just stay with step two as above until the end of the week.
  • Try this assessment again on Day 5 or 7.

STEP THREE:   Gradually increasing distance between you and the dog/door (dog/fence)   Repeat Step Three – 2-3 times a day at least for 3-5 days.  Each session should take about 3-5 minutes.

  1. Stand at the same distance you were at the end of the last session.
  2. Wait for your dog to look at the door (without barking) say “HUSH” and DON’T CLICK .
  3. As soon as your dog looks at you or starts to move towards you Click and then Treat as before and provide treat to their mouth where you are standing.
  4. After each treat your dog should wander back toward door/fence or at least look at the door.
  5. Gradually during the week, I want you to back up or stand in a new location. So your dog hears the word HUSH, looks towards your or runs to you and then gets rewarded.
  6. Repeat above 10-15 times.
  7. End session.

STEP FOUR:     Adding barking to the mix.   Repeat step 4 as much as you can over the next week in short 5-10 minute sessions.   Also please have your HIGHEST value treat.. Chicken, cheese, hotdog etc.

Having a friend, husband, neighbor or a friend on hand to help is easiest way.  Do not use their ‘favorite person”, the mailman or the dog that always makes him go ballistic

Don’t be surprised if it is harder for your dog when working with “real life” instead of in a “training set up” This set is to help them to “play the game” with distractions so they can then play it in real life.

We want to control barking at this point.  This week we are going to MAKE barking happen.  We want to instigate a little barking with a distraction we can control.  A friend stands across the street while you train.  Person can come closer or go further away as your dog needs to be successful.

  1. Stand right near the door (fence etc.) with your dog as in Step One. Treats in treat pouch, clicker ready.
  2. Wait for your dog to look at the door (without barking) say HUSH then Click and Treat a step or two away from the door.
  3. WAIT for your dog to look at the door again.
  4. Repeat a few times.
  5. Now – Have a friend or a friend with dog, come out in front of your house on the street (or across the street) They may have to move or wave an arm or come closer until your dog decides to bark at them..   Prepare them to stop as soon as they hear the dog start to bark..  They can also immediately turn and face away from the house.  They don’t leave unless necessary.
  6. You will simply stand with your dog by the door. (for fence – on leash will likely be better to start)  As soon as they bark –  wait for a brief pause in barking and say ”HUSH” then Click and Treat.
  7. If necessary, put the treat by their nose, turn their head with the yummy treat and move slightly away from the door.
  8. If they come away great, as soon as they turn back to the door to look / bark you can REPEAT Hush, Click and Treat until they can focus on you and come away from the door on their own.
  9. If they don’t come away, then close the door and do a few repetitions.. Then start again with your friend further away.
  10. I would practice for about 10 minutes on this and then end the session. Repeat as much as you can.  If your dog is able you can do three sessions in about 40 minutes with a short break in between.

STEP FIVE – Add in the distance back.

Now, just like before you would start adding distance back to the game.  A few steps at a time.

  1. Your dog barks, you say HUSH, they turn around. You Click and Treat and back up again.
  2. Until you are at or near the goals below.
  3. Move in 3-5 foot increments, if your dog says “I am still in the game” push it further. If they quit playing or get too distracted won’t stop barking, go closer again and move more slowly next time.
  4. Move around the house and practice the game whenever your dog move towards the door even if not barking.  Do they turn around and come find you when you are in the kitchen?  Sitting in a chair?  Out of site?

ULTIMATE GOALS:

For door/window my ultimate goal would be you sitting in your favorite living room chair or in another room, your dog barks, you say your cue “hush” or “enough” or “ thank you” and your dog stops barking, and walks to where you are or simply stops barking.  You will then gradually and randomly give cookies, give love, play ball or tug or Close the door / go in the house as the reward.   Tapering off the food over a month or so.  By then your behavior of “HUSH” should be well established and highly valuable.

For fence barking, my ultimate goal would be you at the door of the house your dog barks, you say your cue “hush” or “enough” or “ thank you” and your dog stops barking, and walks to you or at least  stops barking and will respond to their recall cue. .  You will then gradually and randomly give cookies, give love, play ball or tug or go in the house.  Tapering off the food over a month or so.  By then your behavior of “HUSH” should be well established and highly valuable.

Dog sitting calmly looking out an partially opened door to the front yard.

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Compassionate Canine focuses on using positive (R+) training to solve the real frustrations of families who live with the training challenges of daily life distractions. 

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