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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our dog barks incessantly at everyone who passes by our window.

Resolved Question:

Our dog barks incessantly at everyone who passes by our window. We are reduced to having the curtains closed all day to try and get some peace. What can we do please?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

What breed is your dog?
how old is he?
Is he neutered?
How much obedience training has he had?
Can you tell me exactly what you have tried that you haven't mentioned?
Did keeping the curtains closed actually work to stop the barking?
Did he bark at dogs as well as people?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is a black Labrador retriever, 3 years old and neutered. We acquired him at 8 months old, with some behaviour problems. Happily, with some training (Kennel Club bronze, silver and gold awards), plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, he has calmed down and is now a well behaved, calm, friendly dog.


When the curtains are closed he seems to lie down and rest more easily, as he can't see people and dogs, horses, bikes, whatever, going past the end of the garden. However, if anyone going past makes any noise he is straight up at the window and barking madly. We had people here yesterday doing work in the garden and he was ok once he had been introduced to them - he then sat in the window and just watched what was going on. I wonder if his reaction to people passing by is a "guarding" response.....?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Sheila,

I do believe it is an alerting issues. Dogs play the role of warning their humans that someone or something is there. It is their job to alert us. The problem is that frequently we do not acknowledge that they have done their job, so they keep barking and barking.

You have a few options to help correct this problem. One is to go to the window and acknowledge the passing object or person, then bring the dog away from the window and reward them with a treat for sitting or laying down next to you. Since he has had a good foundation in obedience, this shouldn't be that difficult. It will help teach him that the alert is good, but once it is acknowledged, he can come and sit with you. Have a unique word to acknowledge you have seen it.

I had a dog that would even bark at the wind or a leaf. Here is the method we used with him. We left his leash on in the house attached to a chain collar. Each time our dog barked inappropriately we gave a quick tug correction to distract him, said "no bark" and had him sit. After a few corrections right in a row, he would finally stop barking for a second. When he didn't bark I'd give him a treat. By the end of a couple of weeks, he had reduced his barking significantly. We did go through a lot of treats.

We did this over the course of a month all together, giving treats for non barking and eventually phasing out the treats and using praise instead with a treat only once in a while. Now he rarely ever barks.

As crazy as this sounds you may wish to teach your dog the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.
http://www.dogskool.com/web/news/summer2002/page3.html

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

You also have the option of getting a bark collar such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars, ultrasonic collar and even shaking a can of coins that will stop excessive barking. The collars do give a warning tone and allow an alert bark but not continued barking, so in that respect they do achieve the desired response.

Often a combination of techniques are needed to achieve the goal but remember that you do not want to stop an alert bark, just stop excessive barking. It might also help to introduce him to people that frequently walk or ride past. Then you might even notice different barks for different people. My dogs alert me to when a stranger passes or if it is the neighbor as their alert bark is different for each.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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