How to stop Excited Dog Barking
Think about it.. do wild canines bark? Ever hear of a Wolf, Dingo or Coyote excited dog barking for absolutely no reason? I would guess not yet while wild canines may bark a bit as puppies when establishing pack hierarchy, barking among a pack can actually draw the attention of predators or scare off prey. Here's a perfect example of how domestication has once again warped the mind and behavior of some pet dogs in another quirky way.
Don't get me wrong, barking can and is used as a form of communication among canines, along with whining, whimpering, growling, howling and other sounds. So to blatantly say our pet dog barking is wrong would be untrue as over time, our dogs have learned to communicate with us by vocalizing in a variety of ways.
What we're referring to in this article is the dog next door, or, even your dog by chance. A dog that barks like a nut case when it's excited, or pees on the floor.. that's another article as a matter of fact!
The Neighbor's Shih Tzu
Let's take for example the neighbor's Shih Tzu who's confined to its yard by an invisible fence. Here comes the UPS driver with a package and the dog starts excited dog barking, spinning like a fool or running back and forth along the invisible electric barrier. This is not to be mistaken with aggressive and guarding type barking, it's that excited dog barking and foolish body language that says it all. So Mrs. Neighbor comes out and starts yelling at her dog to quiet down. "C'mon".. "shut up!", "SHUT UP!".. "stupid dog", you get the picture.
But the dog keeps barking and wont shut up.. why? First of all most dogs feed off of their humans. You're yelling and excited so guess what? Dog keeps yelling and gets more excited! Who'd have guessed? The problem with this situation is that Mrs. Neighbor doesn't know much about the language of dog, or, realize that her excited state is simply reinforcing her dog's excited state!
Tip: Often, daily exercise and simple dog training activities can help mellow an over excited dog! Something as simple and fun as interactive play can really be the the catalyst that stops excited dog barking. Give it a try!
A situation like this often ends up physical with something being thrown at the dog, a gentle boot.. a stiff boot I'd imagine for some, or the dog being chased off getting screamed at. Let's put an end to this communication breakdown once and for all. As far as a dog knows, short, quick, loud commands such as "stop", "quiet", "no" or "shut up", simply means it's in a barking contest! So as you can see, simply yelling commands to stop excited dog barking is not going to do the trick or quiet your noisy dog. Matter of fact, this technique is actually reinforcing the behavior!
The proper way and best technique to resolve excited dog barking, and you'll read this elsewhere on our site, is redirection and focus. That's right, rather than bark back at a barking dog, let's pull their attention away from the excitement and redirect the mind with calming commands. Some even have success simply making eye contact with no commands! If you've already established yourself as alpha leader of your pack, the eye contact method should work pretty well. Correction reinforcement minded folk, a command and quick leash correction will get the point across here rather quickly. Training techniques to stop exited dog barking can get as creative as your imagination so let's summarize some of the basics below.
Excited Dog Barking Training Exercise
Note that you'll need to be near your dog and catch her before her mind gets to an excited state in order to correct the behavior for good. This can be accomplished with a daily training exercise. For instance, lets say USPS arrives every day at Noon and your dog goes nutty, perfect set up for daily training and we'll use this in our example!
- Get you dog's attention and time it just prior to them getting excited when you see a change in behavior.
- Accomplish this with a voice command, treat or toy. Correction reinforcement fans, use a leash correction, spray bottle or noise maker if that's how you roll.
- Call your dog to heal or command a sit stay or down stay if they're good with basic obedience.
- Keep an eye and be sure focus remains on you until the mail carrier leaves.
- You may treat or offer small praises in a soft voice during the process.
- Key is to keep the mind calm and make everything ordinary and non eventful throughout the event.
- Once you two succeed, throw a ball, treat or reward your dog in her favorite way.
Some trainers will employ touching techniques to thwart barking that of course are accompanied with calm voice commands. For example, you can slip the fingers of one hand under the back of your dog's collar. Pull up gently on the collar while pushing down on the top of the muzzle with your other hand. Be sure to command "quiet" in a calm voice while doing this.
Tip: I have found that tucking a dog's tail down between their legs helps to encourage a more calm submissive mindset. Give it a try ;)
Remember, certain breeds will bark more than others, it's been bred into them. Barking serves a purpose in the canine world yet excited barking serves no purpose. The tips and techniques discussed in this article are meant to help with training exercises. There is no quick fix to excited dog barking unless you're inclined to use an anti bark collar (which sometimes don't work). We'll leave that subject for another article;)
Excited Dog Barking Summary
To stop excited dog barking you must be there to catch your dog before it becomes excited. Doing daily training exercises using help from friends or family to "stage" an exciting event works perfectly. Be sure to get the attention of your dog and distract their mind before it reaches an excited state. Use some of the training tips we discussed to keep your dog distracted and focused on you. Keep all commands calm and monotone.. "non exciting". Use treats, eye contact or other distraction to keep focus on you until the excitement ends.
Repeat daily until association with the stimuli is forgotten, this takes time but dogs are are creatures of habit so don't give up! For training tips to resolve additional dog behavior problems don't miss links provided on our dog behavior and training main page.