Tips to Stop a Pair of Frenchie’s From Barking at People

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 25, 2021

Bowie and Wizard scaled - Tips to Stop a Pair of Frenchie's From Barking at People

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with two amazing French Bulldogs; Bowie (left) and Wizard, sharing tips to stop them from barking at things.

Knowing that Bowie sometimes gets overexcited or nibbles peoples fingers when they come to visit, I arranged to have his guardian bring him outside to meet me. Outdoor greetings are much easier for dogs due to the distractions and the environment not being so closed in.

I had left a trail of treats from the front door to where I was sitting outside of the dogs point of view. I would recommend that the guardians arrange to have friends that they haven’t seen in a while come bye and re-create this greeting.

Dog behavior modification is very much a numbers game. You have to repeat things a lot and most people try to train their dogs in the moment. The best way to change the dogs behavior is to put it into situations that are specifically crafted for that dog. If you invite someone over to help you with your dog and pretend that they are a guest, you can give them instructions and get to hang out and catch up with your friends all at the same time.

Once we got inside, Wizard aka Wiz, was very comfortable with me because his roommate Bowie wasn’t going crazy. If the guardians can arrange several greetings that go the same way, the dogs can learn to relax and not get so excited that they are jumping up and nipping people.

I recommended that the guardians have one of our level one trainers come out and show them how they can use the relaxation protocol to condition the dogs to stay on a dog bed in a calm and balanced state of mind while guests arrive, kids run around the room or even when somebody knocks on the door.

One of the dog behavior problems the guardians wanted me to help them fix was Bowie’s habit of barking at the construction workers or visitors to the home. Stopping a dog from barking at people is all about identifying why the dog feels the need to bark in the first place, and addressing the root cause rather than chasing a symptom or punishing a dog for barking.

Many people think that spraying the dog with a water bottle, shaking a can of change, yelling, spanking or other forms of punitive interactions will stop the dog from barking. But a dog that is barking is trying to communicate something. If you’re trying to communicate something to someone and you think it’s important, them telling you to be quiet would not stop you from trying to get them to understand what you were saying. Same thing happens with dogs.

Instead, I used a postive reinforcement based way to stop dog barking; counterconditioning. Counterconditioning a dog to stop barking involves exposing the dog to the thing it was barking at, but at a low enough intensity (achieved by adding distance, slowing down speed or lowering volume) so the dog doesnt react or in this case, bark. After the stimulus happens, the dog gets a treat – provided it didn’t bark. After practicing that a few times, you can increase the intensity level a small amount and repeat the exercise. If you dont get greedy, the dog starts to see the thing it was barking at as a source of them getting something good. Over time, this conditions the dog to stop reacting to whatever it was barking at.

You can learn how to use counterconditioning to stop a dog from barking by watching the free positive dog training video below. This works for all dogs and people, even if you are not a professional French Bulldog dog trainer in Omaha.

It was great to see how quickly this exercise stopped the dog barking. Stopping dog barking this way is easy, it just needs a lot of practice. I recommended the guardians ask one of their workers to help them at least once a day. Spending 1-2 minutes on this barking prevention exercise a few times a day will accellerate the canine rehabilitation process. They should also go through their phones and ask friends to come over to visit and help them practice the exercise when they first arrive. Fixing dog behavior problems is all about repetition. Creating situations to practice is wise and can really accellerate your progress.

In the mean time, the guardians will want to do all they can to prevent Bowie from barking at people as this is practice at barking. By limiting the situations where the dog barks at people, and practicing the counterconditioning exercise to teach a dog to stop barking, the guardians will progress twice as fast.

Exercising Bowie before practice can help set him up for success, they will just need to make sure he has a good 10-15 minutes of rest between exercise and counterconditioning. But exercising before guests arrive or before other activities that cause the dog to bark can really help.

I shared a number of other Dog Behaviorist tips and tricks in this in home Omaha dog training session. To help the amazing guardians remember them all, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr