Excessively barking dogs can be annoying. Bull Terriers usually are not known to be excessive barkers. However, even among them there are individuals that can become pretty vocal.
My English Bull Terrier Mila, for example, is a frequent barker and besides that a very vocal dog in general. She is using a whole variety of noises to communicate. Some of them are a little annoying, while others are utterly cute. Her predecessor Fancy had a crisp “barking phase” at a younger age, when she would notify us of things happening beyond our front door. Later in life this completely ceased and we hardly ever heard her voice.
Many owners don’t mind theirs dogs barking in general. After all barking notifies strangers of the presence of a dog. But a lot of owners would like to have better control over time and length of the barking.
To handle the issue it is important to understand triggers and the dog’s intentions.
Why do dogs bark?
The reasons for barking can be manifold:
- or quite the opposite: boredom
- to alert their humans
- distress or fear
- to communicate with other dogs or animals
only to name a few possible triggers.
How to stop barking dogs
Barking may need a combination of different measures to become controllable.
In order to work on the barking, we first need to identify the situations that trigger the barking in order to learn more about the dog’s motivation and possible counterstrategies.
Are there any things we can actively do to discourage barking?
Some people don’t ask why the dog is barking, put a shock collar around it’s neck instead or use air or water and shock or spray until the dog stops barking.
This is an aversive training method. All of you, who have read across my blog, know that I am not a fan of training/ learning through punishment.
Not only does it bear the risk of an aggressive reaction in many situations and can damage the dog’s trust in the owner. In my opinion it also is the least effective way of communication for learning purposes.
If using punishment to “cure” barking, all the dog learns is that it is simply not allowed to express itself, no matter if the reason is distress, boredom, dominance or pain.
Therefore tips on how to use a shock collar etc. will not be part of this essay.
But there are still several things owners of barking dogs can try.
Aversive training methods are also often chosen, just because they show results more immediately than other methods. Positive reinforcement, for example, is a much more positive way, but it usually takes A LOT MORE TIME.
I personally do not bother, because I know that I can always manage as long as my trained behaviors are not quite 100% in place yet. No biggy.
Read more about how to deal with dogs barking at home on the next page.