First of all, what is alert barking? Alert barking is a bark that informs you, their dog owner, that they have seen or something that is not ordinary or not usually happens. This barking is usually different from barks that seems to be guarding and protective, like how a dog barks at other dogs if they get close to his food.
Alert barking can be usually heard when dogs bark at something that is moving or unusually loud at that moment. Some examples that could trigger your dog’s alert barking are whenever your neighbor starts his car or motorcycle or like how the mailman delivers mail to each of your neighbor’s houses and apparently, your house.
Alert barking adds to the security of your household since your dog is able to alert you if there are any potential dangers and threats present. However, excessive alert barking is just disturbing and causes nuisance not just to your household members but also to your neighbors.
Fortunately, you may correct the behavior by training your dog. Below are some tips that could help your dog reduce their alert barking.
1. Understand that barking is an instinctual behavior
Barking for dogs is like how babies cry. It is inevitable and is backed by their instincts. You have to understand and accept that barking is just natural. Alert barking in the same sense is also natural, since he could be protective of your household and thus wants to get rid of the threat by barking loudly or he could be barking just to alert you.
2. Do not punish your dog
Do not hit your dog or spank him whenever you want him to keep quiet. Your dog doesn’t even know what is wrong with what he is doing, as for him, barking is just a natural behavior. Your dog will only get confused and it could be counterproductive to the training.
Instead of punishing your dog, do some gestures that could lead him to be quiet like putting your index finger near your lips and saying “ssshhh”. Some dogs that are already accustomed to their households tend to understand a simple gesture to keep them quiet.
3. Take action if your dog is barking
Dogs bark because they are sensing a threat. Of course, if you are the master of the household, then he is the one alerting you to the potential threat itself. Take action by attending to the front door or to the direction where your dog is barking at.
Your dog will surely follow you and there is a high chance that he will stop barking because you are already going to take action towards the threat. Some dogs would even stop immediately after you have stood up from the couch if he is alert barking.
4. Use kind words to your dog
After you have taken action and your dog stopped barking, you should say “thank you” to your dog or even something that could resemble a unique sound like a bell. This is performed in order to let your dog associate that specific phrase that you are going to say whenever you want him to stop barking.
If your dog managed to get used to the phrase, he will be thinking that the problem has been taken care of, so he should stop alerting you.
5. Include a gesture whenever you want your dog to be quiet
Aside from using a specific phrase, you might want to add a gesture to make your dog stop barking. You may associate a certain gesture like a wave of the hand or even putting your index finger near your lips.
These gestures will allow your dog to further associate it to stop barking, giving you more control over the situation. Sometimes, you may not even have to say the phrase if the gesture is enough to keep him quiet.
6. Ignoring your dog
Although sometimes this works, it may not work in the long run especially if your dog is super anxious about a certain situation. For light cases, such as neighbors passing by or even kids playing at the front of your house, you may choose to ignore your dog.
Eventually, he will understand that him barking at those people outside may not be too much of a matter that you have chosen to ignore him. Afterwards, he would stop barking since he has already read the situation.
7. Provide things that keep him company
Some dogs frequently do alert barking because they are just bored. They might even do it because they have nothing else to do in the first place. Try giving your dog his favorite toy or something to watch with. If your dog is preoccupied with these matters, his barking might be reduced.
Even though your dog manages to bark a lot usually, his attention will be divided and focused on playing with the toys, so he wouldn’t notice things outside like your neighbors to bark at.
8. Provide rewards to your dog
Whenever your dog stops barking to your command or gesture, give out a reward. This is performed in order for your dog to positively associate the behavior of staying quiet to a positive one, which is giving out treats. Treats could come in the form of a rub in the head or even making him taste his favorite food.
Do not give out treats while he is still barking. Although he might stop for a while, he will misunderstand and associate that barking is a good behavior since he was given a reward. He will just continue to bark after he has finished with treat, with the expectation that he will be given another. Give appropriate rewards at appropriate times.
By taking note of the steps above, you will soon discover that your dog completely follows your command. Although he is still doing alert barking, you will be able to control it, so it would not be excessive and be nuisance to you and to others. Just be consistent and patient with your dog, and the training will be successful.
Do you want to put an end to your dog’s annoying barking problems? CLICK HERE to watch this FREE Step-by-Step Video from Doggy Dan’s Program!