Woof, Woof, Shhh: Ways to Get Your Barking Boxer to Be Quiet Part 2
Last week we looked all the different ways our Boxer’s like to communicate through their bark. (Click here to read Part 1 of Woof, Woof, Shhh) Identifying the pattern of your dog’s barking is the first step. Let’s just take a moment to remember the different types of barks we discussed:
Socially Facilitated Barking
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking
There is no quick fix. It is not realistic to expect that your dog will stop barking immediately or completely. What is possible is to decrease the amount or frequency of your dogs “vocalizations.” J Here are some pointers and training techniques to get you and your Boxer on the same page.
Change Their Environment and Be More Active
Provide enough mental and physical stimulation for your dog. Plenty of exercise and training sessions each day will make a difference. A tired dog doesn’t bark like a bored dog barks.
Limit your dog’s ability to see or hear passersby. Removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings can help to obscure your dog’s view of areas that he observes and guards from within your house.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your yard, keep him in the house during the day and supervise him when he’s in the yard so that he can’t just bark his head off when no one’s around.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your car, teach him to ride in a crate while in the car. Riding in a crate will restrict your dog’s view and reduce his motivation to bark.
When you are playing with your dog, encourage the use of toy-based games to decrease the amount of barking.
Training Techniques for Big Barkers
For territorial or alarm barkers do “Quiet Training”
While this may sound counterintuitive, one training technique many dog owners is teaching your dog to bark on command. This technique is called the Woof and Shush or the Speak and Quiet. Read more here, or watch this video called “speak and quiet on command.”
Teach your dog “Go to Your Place.” It helps teach your dog a specific set of behaviors to do when people come into your home so that he has fewer opportunities to alarm bark.
If your dog barks at people or other dogs during walks, distract him with special treats, like chicken, cheese or hot dogs, before he begins to bark. Be sure it is a high value treat. Using their voice is a great pleasure for dog.
When your dog barks for attention or for food, cross your arms and turn your back on him. If he continues, walk out of the room.
The best way to reduce excitement/frustration barking is through basic and intermediate obedience training. "Sit/stay" and "down/stay" are commands that say to your dog he must wait until you release him to go play, for a walk, or to meet his buddy.
The Tough Cases
Compulsive Barkers: Some dogs bark like a broken record, while moving in a repetitively, fixed or rigid way. If your dog barks for long period, apparently at nothing or at things that other dog’s wouldn’t usually bark at (e.g. shadows, open doors, light flashes), you likely have a compulsive barker.
You can try changing how you confine your dog. For instance, if your dog is tied or tethered, you can switch to keeping him loose in a safe fenced area, or if he’s left alone for long periods of time, you should increase exercise, mental stimulation and social contact. We also recommend you get good help from a trainer or behaviorist that is qualified and has specific experience working with compulsive dogs. Be sure to ask them about their experience.
Not People Friendly Barker: You should be able to tell from your dog’s body posture and behavior whether he’s barking to say “Welcome, come on in!” or “Hey, hit the road, Jack! You’re not welcome here!” If your dog isn’t people friendly, you’ll be more successful if you limit your dog’s ability to see or hear passersby and teach him to associate the presence of strangers with good things, such as food and attention. If you have a more challenge case, you can read the ASPCA’s article that you can read on, Desensitization and Counterconditioning. And, of course, seek out help from a qualified trainer.
We certainly hope was helpful to you and your Boxer buddy. To help an abandoned or homeless Boxer in the receive proper care and make their way to a safe, forever home in the Northwest, become a NWBR foster or make a donation.
Every boxer deserves a chance to live a happy life in a loving home.