What to do when a dog barks excessively at one's neighbors? In response to numerous readers' questions regarding barking dogs, we're reposting one of Alex's first columns to help readers get to the bottom of the noisy rover issue. Alexandra Macias, owner and operator of the Long Beach-based Alex Macias dog training, will be back next week answering new pet-related questions from readers.
My five-year-old Beagle, Kentucky, barks excessively when people walk by my house. Even when they’re long gone, he still continues to bark. I constantly tell him to stop, but he never listens, and my neighbors are now starting to complain. Please help!
Barking can definitely be a frustrating behavior to deal with. There are several remedies to try. The simplest remedy is to take your dog on a daily walk. Since Kentucky is a Beagle, he needs at least a 45 minute walk every day of the week. Walks are not only physical workouts, but they provide much needed mental stimulation for your dog. When a dog is mentally tired, he or she is much less likely to perform nuisance behaviors such as excessive barking. If the walks are not enough, you may also want to try putting a backpack on him when he goes on walks. You can weigh it down with bottles of water, or plastic baggies of rice. The extra weight will add to his physical workout, but more importantly, the backpack will give him a job to do. This will add to his mental stimulation, which, again, will tire him out more.
If Kentucky still continues the barking despite getting enough mental stimulation, try a shaky can. A shaky can is an empty aluminum can with 13 pennies placed inside. Every time Kentucky barks, you’re going to tell him “that’s enough,” and give the can one, hard shake. He will learn that every time he barks, he hears an unpleasant sound. He will want to avoid the unpleasant sound, so will not bark. It’s important to say a command like “that’s enough” while shaking the can. This will teach him “that’s enough” means to stop barking. That way, you can eventually fade the can away, and just rely on verbally telling him “that’s enough.”
These remedies should work, and you should see some progress in Kentucky’s barking. Good luck, Lynda! Woof!
Alexandra Macias is the owner and operator of Alex Macias Dog Training, a Long Beach-based dog training business. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her at email@example.com.