Tips to Teach a Santa Monica Pooch to Stop Barking

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 7, 2022

Rae stop barking tips

For today’s Santa Monica dog training session we helped 1 year-old mixed Breed Rae, sharing tips to stop barking at other dogs.

Rae was a real sweetheart, greeting me at the door and offering a number of sits once she figured out that was a great way to get treats from me.

I sat down with her guardian and we started discussing dog behavior, Rae’s background as well as a number of dog behavior tips.

Tips to teach a dog to stop barking

The first step in stopping dog barking is identifying why the dog is barking in the first place. Dogs bark for many reasons; to raise an alarm, to get attention, to protest, disagree or to make something go away.

In Rae’s case, she was barking to let the other dogs know that she saw them and wanted them to go away. The problem with a dog who barks at things outside your window or home is that if they can see whatever they’re barking at, they get the reward of seeing that person or thing move away. This reinforces the barking behavior.

One of the barking tips that I suggested was to get some bamboo reed matting and line the outside of the railing to the patio. This will eliminate Rae’s ability to see the things that she is barking at. It will also remove the validation that comes with seeing the person or dog walk away. Blocking a dog from seeing something is a powerful way to stop barking.

Visual block to stop dog barking

While this secret to stop dog barking will help, it’s not gonna completely solve the problem. As Santa Monica’s resident dog behavior consultant, I have found that one of the most successful ways to stop dog barking is to create a positive association. I pulled out some high value training treats and headed out to the deck so that I could show the guardian how she could help Rae feel positive about dogs passing by her house.

If you have a dog that barks at people or dogs that pass your home, check out the free positive dog training video below.

It was great to see how quickly Rae responded to this dog barking trick. By using good timing, I was able to keep Rae from getting aroused in the first place. This method allowed me to get her to move away from the fence and dog on the other side pretty easily.

After we finished filming the free video on how to stop dog barking, I coached Rae’s guardians through the exercise until she was getting the same result. I was impressed at how well Rae and her guardian did considering this is the first time that we introduced this way to stop dog barking.

I recommended that Ray’s guardian practice this technique a couple of times a day, with some of them occurring when dogs are not around. It’s important for a dog to practice a behavior before needing it. Otherwise, you run the risk of the dog thinking that the game is related to the danger or thing they are reacting to.

Eventually, Rae’s guardian may be able to remove some of the bamboo reed matting and play the engage disengage game. This is a great way to help a dog build a positive association with something that they are fearful of or reactive to.

But the first step is to help Ray practice being out on the deck while she can hear other dogs and not bark at them.  I recommended that the guardian try to record the audio of dogs collars jingling as they pass the house. She may need to sit on her steps or wait outside at the peak dog walking hours and then simply follow behind someone recording the audio on her phone for 20 or 30 seconds.

Once she has these recordings on her phone, she can practice playing them at a low volume and then giving Rae a treat if she does not react. As Rae becomes practiced at not reacting, the guardian can turn the volume up a tiny bit until eventually it sounds like the dog in in the living room. This is a process called desensitization and counter conditioning and it is a very effective way to stop dog barking. Since there are likely a number of the same dogs to pass by the house, it should be possible to capture a recording of each dog’s individual collar’s sound and help Rae build up a positive association to each one of them.

By using multiple methods, Rae’s guardian should be able to make faster progress. In time, fingers crossed, the silence will be golden.

To help Rae’s guardian remember all of the positive dog training tips we shared in this in-home Santa Monica dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr