How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark at the Neighbors
Neighbors simply don’t phase some dogs. However, for other dogs, a neighbor walking by provides the perfect opportunity to show off their communication skills. For many houses and neighbors, a little dog barking is no big deal. However, if you live in an apartment complex, townhome, or a condo, dog barking can become an issue quickly. Not to mention, living in a complex increases the chances that someone will walk by your front door and, therefore, cause your dog to bark. So today, I want to discuss a few ways to train your dog not to bark at the neighbors.
First, let’s break down the potential reasons WHY your dog is barking at your neighbors. Barking is a primary form of communication for dogs, but what exactly are they trying to say?
Barking at the neighbors can be classified into four different barking categories:
Protective Bark: This bark is used when your dog feels that your neighbors are encroaching on their territory, or threatening their house in some way. This bark will be strong and will potentially increase in volume as the threat continues.
Fear/Startled Bark: This type of bark will occur when your dog is barking at a noise that caught their attention. Perhaps they weren’t by the door or window, and the neighbors made enough noise that they startled your dog.
Greeting/Play Bark: This type of bark would be used if your dog is interested in playing outside with the neighbors or their dogs.
Ongoing/Excessive Bark: This type of bark arises when your dog’s needs are not being met. They may be distressed, and may have extra energy to burn.
Although I am not a training expert, I feel that it is always important to understand what your dog’s motivation is to choose the best way to train them away from the behavior. Now, let’s move on to training your dog not to bark.
Remove the Motivation: If possible when you dog barks at the neighbors, bring them to another room and distract them. Letting them continue to bark, or even opening the doors or windows is rewarding them for the barking behavior. This can be especially useful when your dog is using a protective or greeting bark.
Ignore the Behavior: Don’t reward your dog by giving them attention when they are barking. Instead, be patient and wait until they stop completely. Once they have stopped barking, provide them with a treat. Keep in mind, the treat must provide a greater reward than the barking behavior.
A Tired Dog is a Quiet Dog: This is especially true for dogs who are displaying ongoing/excessive barking behavior. They have too much energy to sit still, and the neighbor walking by provides them with just enough entertainment to let everyone know.
Provide a Reason not to Bark: Give your dog an opportunity to perform a trick, or show you how they can do to their spot. Not only does this distract them from barking, but it also provides you with an opportunity to reward them for a positive behavior.
Teach Them to Come When Called: Work on this command and behavior frequently. Similar to the suggestion above, when your dog is barking at the door or window, walk across the room and ask them to come. When they walk over to you, provide them a treat and positive praise.
Don’t Shout or Yell: Shouting or yelling at your dog makes your dog think that you are barking too, and will only increase the behavior.
Implementing any of these suggestions requires patience and input from the entire family. So, don’t forget to get everyone on board when training your dog.
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