Category Archives: Dog Behavior Problem Solving

How Can I Get My Dog To Quit Barking?

How Can I Get My Dog To Quit Barking?

David Baron Car

Thousands of years ago, humans began the process of domesticating the dog and shaping what “being a dog” really means. Through careful selection and breeding, an astonishing variety of dog breeds have been created. Desirable traits have been selected for in various breeds that are of a benefit to humans. There are some traits, however, that quickly become undesirable when expressed too frequently. Barking is an example of a natural behavior that is encouraged in terms of guarding behavior, but becomes a problem when the behavior is produced in excess. A recent health insurance investigation revealed that the sound of a continually barking dog was cited as the most disruptive and stress inducing noise for humans.

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Why Do Dogs Bark? 

Barking, as well as whining, howling and growling, are a dog’s natural means of communication. Barking is characterized by a series of short, sharp sounds, that tend to vary little in tone or pitch. A dog’s bark can signify territorial protection, exertion of dominance, or expression of some need. Typically, barking is “a means of communication triggered by a state of excitement.” Being a natural trait, barking is not considered a behavioral problem, until it is produced in excess.

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Causes of Problem Barking

Problem barking has a variety of origins. Genetics does influence a dog’s tendency to bark. Certain breeds belonging to the terrier family are prone to more frequent barking than breeds such as Greyhounds or Basenjis. Generally, however, excess barking can exist in any breed of dog. The key to solving the problem of inappropriate barking is to determine what external stimulus is triggering the behavior. Improper confinement can be a major cause of problem barkers.

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Improper confinement can include leaving a dog alone in a locked room, or in a dog crate (a tool used for housebreaking and other behavioral modifications). Other improper confinements can include restricted tethering outdoors, or even an enclosed yard without proper shelter from the elements. Such confinement can cause frustration in a dog and cause it to bark excessively. Closely associated with improper confinement is lack of exercise as a cause of excess barking. When a dog is not provided with adequate exercise, pent-up energy is released through barking.

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Environmental sounds can also trigger barking. These sounds include such things as the barking of other dogs, the sound of passing cars, strange voices, thunder, and mechanical noises such as the ringing of the phone. Noises can initiate barking at different times of the day. A dog may not bark at accustomed sounds during the day, but at night may be incited to a volley of barking, much to the chagrin of the neighbors, by the slightest of noises. Other causes of problem barking can include separation anxiety, or the temperament of the dog: an over-aggressive animal may bark at the smallest provocation. A strongly territorial dog may bark at any stranger, invited or uninvited, entering your property.

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Solutions to Excess Barking

Excess barking can be a serious behavioral problem and can mean the termination of the relationship with your dog or the dog itself if left untreated. The following text includes information on how to solve your dog’s problem barking as recommended by the veterinary profession.

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The first step in solving problem barking is to determine if your dog is barking in response to inadequate shelter or improper confinement. If this is the case, the dog must be provided with a comfortable amount of space or supplied with a doghouse if outdoor shelter is inadequate. Increasing the amount of exercise given to your dog may also help. 

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In the event your dog is barking in response to environmental noises, or the barking is simply due to its temperament, behavioral modification methods should be used. These methods can include reconditioning using a verbal reprimand such as “No!”, and leash correction. It should be noted however, that you should never yell at your dog, as loud noises may encourage your pet to bark more. 

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Indirect intervention methods can also be applied. These techniques can range from spraying your dog with water while it is barking, to using noise producing devices such as “Dog Stop” or “Barker Breaker,” which emit loud or high frequency sounds that interrupt and deter barking. These devices can be controlled by the owner, or triggered by the dog’s barking. In the event your dog is resistant to these behavioral modifications, more drastic action can be taken in the form of bark activated shock collars. This device is particularly effective when barking occurs in the owner’s absence. Shock collars, however, are recommended only after other control measures have failed. A final resort, when all other behavioural modification methods have been tried, and particularly when the dog’s life is in question, is a vocal cordectomy (debarking). This surgical procedure involves removal of all or part of the vocal cords.

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The key to solving the problem of excess barking in your dog begins with an understanding of what is causing this behavior. Once you have determined a cause, you have a greater chance of choosing the most effective solution (e.g., more exercise) or behavioral modification. Modifying such an instinctive and natural behavior as barking can be difficult, and may require considerable patience, time, and hard work. Solutions, however, are possible, and worth the effort.

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References Cited

Houpt,Katherine. Domestic Animal Behaviour. Second Edition. Iowa State University Press. Ames, Iowa. 1992.

Landsberg, Gary. Products for Preventing or Controlling Undesirable behaviour. Veterinary Medicine. 89:970-983.

Neville, Peter. Do Dogs Need Shrinks? Sidgwick & Jackson, London. 1991

Siegal, Mordecai. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things. Little, Brown and Company, London. 1986.

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America’s #1 Dog Trainers


Dog Aggression Trainers


Christmas 2011 at DogAnswers Ranch

“Jayden” the Husky/Basenji mix had become aggressive to all animals. Her owner Dana is a Navy anti-submarine warfare specialist and is being deployed to Iraq in May and friends will be taking care of Jayden during that time.

The concern was that Dana’s friends have their own dogs and that Jayden would not get along with them.

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Dana searched for dog trainers in Seattle but while there were dozens of dog trainers, there was no competent canine behavioral trainers qualified to assist with her dog’s aggression problem.

service dog trainersDana was very motivated to do the right thing for Jayden and determined to get her help.

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Dave the Dog Trainer’s Superdog program in Sacramento was only 800 miles away.

service dog aggressionDana was rewarded for being willing to honor her commitment to her best friend.

aggressive dog trainers sacramentoPeople who do the right thing are always rewarded because doing the right thing is a reward in itself.

aggressive dog training sacramentoDana worked hard with Jayden during her 3 1/2 days in Sacramento.

C Bar C Dog Park Jayden is an animal with a mind of her own, but Dana is confident now that a properly managed and trained Jayden can be in the presence of, and interract with, other pets.

dog aggression northern california“Everything in life worth having has a price. Sometimes you get lucky though and things turn out better than you ever could have imagined, and ultimately the the price you pay is small compared to the alternatives.” 

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Dog Behavior Problem Solving

Dog Behavior Problem Solving

Dogs in the wild are pack animals and live in well-organized hunting groups called packs.

Sometimes people bring dogs to their home and forget to tell their dog that he or she is not the pack leader.

Living with dominant dogs can be a real challenge, especially if your dog starts treating you like a dog.  Many people are surprised when their dog starts treating their other dog like a dog too.

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The camera used to shoot these photographs can shoot 6.5 frames per second. Dog trainers need cameras that are fast because Jack Russell Terriers don’t waste any time when there is a diver down.

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Finn goes under water for about 20 seconds.

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The Jack Russell “Henry” is very concerned about “Finn” the Labrador being under water.

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“Archie” the Border Collie just cares about the ball.

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Henry the Jack Russell lifeguard to the rescue. He’s a legend in his own mind, a true action hero.


Henry dives in to rescue the big dog.

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“Hold on Finn, I’ll save you,” exclaims Henry.

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“Come to the shore now, friend!”

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“I said, get out of the spa now buddy!”

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“You need to start listening Finn.”

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“I’m not going to tell you a million times.”

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“The lady and the kids also need to do what I insist.”

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“I’m such a studmuffin.”

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Actually Henry cares for the other dogs and feels he needs to keep them safe. He threw the ball in the spa to make the other dogs fetch it.

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Finn the Lab is the new guy here at DogAnswers Ranch and Henry has taken it upon himself to mentor and look after Finn.

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Finn and Henry hang out most of the day and go everywhere in the yard together.

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Both dogs are getting what they need and are happy to have a friend.

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Finn the Lab is a great dog too. He understands that Henry is concerned and likes having a strong leader like the Jack Russell looking out for him.

All the dogs know what their role is and what the others expect of them.

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And this is what you can expect at your house with your dog(s).

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