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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20180
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My dog barks at people at night. Very excessively. I think

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My dog barks excessively.  He barks during the night and wakes myself and my neighbours up.


He barks at people when we are out.  Often wagging his tail, but it does sound like he is fearful.  It is not at everyone, but it is very loud and aggressive. Men in hats seem to be a trigger.

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. I do apologize that I was not online to take your question earlier.

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.

How old is your dog?
Is he neutered?
How long has he been doing this?
What do you mean by "reassuring him"?
Is he on a leash when you are on walks and he barks at people?
If so, do you find that you tense up when you see these type of people approaching in case he does act up?
What breed is your dog?
Is it barking all the time, or just some of the time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thank you for your reply.


My dog is a three year old male, rescue poodle. We have had him for three weeks now. He was neutered.


I imagine that he has been doing this a while, the family who fostered him were lovely but I suspect they haven't been completely honest about his behaviours. It could be why he ended up in a shelter in the first place.


I try to reassure him by stroking him (which I realise may be reinforcing the unwanted behaviour). It doesn't seem to make any difference whether he is on a lead or not, but there are certain people that he will always bark at, men in hats, with hi-viz jackets, builder/workmen types, but it does seem to be getting worse, and once he has started he then will sometimes bark at everyone. I have found saying 'No' very firmly does work.


Sometimes I do tense up when I see these people walking towards us which may not help. Sometimes I tell him not to bark and he listens surprisingly, but not always.


He does not bark all the time, but it still does seem a lot, and my neighbours are complaining about him barking at night.


Many Thanks




This is a pretty common problem. The first thing is that you need to get him obedience trained. Not for the commands themselves but for him to realize that you are the boss and it is your job to protect him, not his to protect you. obedience will help with that part. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

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.

Your are on the right track with saying NO, but I want you to set up situations where he would bark preferably with a helper who will wear the clothing that the dog associates with workmen. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. Make the treat a vienna sausage sliver or liver sliver, not a normal treat. The second you see him fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if he ignores the other dog, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the person closer until he is no longer trying tobark at them. . You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.

For the barking excessively, you really need to be with the dog to be able to train them not to bark. I'm going to give you several ways including the one we used for our own rescue dog. Here is what worked for us. 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 the pup 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.

For barking that happens when you are not home or asleep, you may need to get a nobark collar. They have ones that use citronella and others that are shock collars. they are effective for stopping barking.

There are other things that help as well like taking him for a long walk right before bedtime to tire him out. Many smaller dogs get acid reflux, so feeding a small meal at bedtime helps as well. Getting a kong toy and filing with peanut butter or yogurt can help. You freeze it and only give at bedtime. That keeps him busy for hours. If his mouth is busy, he can't bark.

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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