Tips to Stop Dogs From Barking and Focus on their Humans Instead

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 17, 2017

Bella (Center) is four year old Husky / Lab / Heeler who was recently joined by ten month old pups Chester (left) and Rocky. The dogs guardian called me to teach the pups to stop getting excited, listen better, charging the door and barking when the doorbell rings.

Ive had dogs jump up on me, bark, lunge and get excited when I arrive for my sessions. But today a dog did something no other dog has done in 2,000+ in home dog training sessions. Check out the video below to see Rocky’s unusual way of sending me a message during the greeting.

Usually the first question I ask my dog behavior clients is “how can I help you” but after this greeting, that wasn’t necessary, lol.

Clearly the trio had an issue with dog excitement and it was starting to move from exuberance to some undesired dog behaviors. While the greeting mostly consisted of excitement, there was some territoriality to Rocky’s bark and body language. In the wrong situation, that could easy transition into a case of dog aggression and no one wants that.

I spent nearly an hour suggesting ways to add structure into the dog’s day to day life. Petting with a purpose, passive training and using the escalating consequences will enable the humans to start assuming the leadership position in the dog’s eyes. This will be of the most important aspects of these dogs behavior modification. Until the dogs see the humans as authority figures, they will continue this unruly dog behavior.

To help with the excited dog syndrome and get the dogs to stop barking, we put Rocky and Chester out into the back yard so I could show them a simple focus exercise with Bella.

Training a dog to focus on command is a great thing to teach as it gives the humans an easy way to redirect the dog’s attention away from something that may get them into trouble.

After working with Bella exclusively on the focus, we let Chester and Rocky back in and I had all the members of the family practicing the focus exercise with the dogs at the same time.

If the members of the family all practice this focus exercise at least once a day with each dog, they should get up to a 20 second focus within a week or two.

To stop the excited dog behavior when people came to the door, I spent a few minutes showing the humans how to use Counterconditioning to create a positive association with the doorbell; the chief spark that sends the dogs into a barking frenzy.

I love how quickly and easily positive dog training methods like counterconditioning work. Instead of Rocky running off to bark at the door, he was content to sit and nibble on the treat several feet away.

I made sure to stress that it will be important that the dog is chewing on the treat before the bell rings. As we practiced, this was the only real hiccup the humans had with the exercise.

We were having so much fun in the session I lost track of time and ended up spending close to another hour working with the dogs and humans. As a dog behaviorist I have to stop and reflect on how awesome it is to do what you love for a living. The extra “work” doensn’t feel like work when you enjoy what you do!

By the end of the session, the dogs had stopped barking when there was a knock at the door or if someone rang the bell. They were starting to follow the new rules on their own and their energy seemed more relaxed.

We wrapped things up by filming a roadmap to success to help the humans remember all the dog training and dog behavior tips I shared with them during the session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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