How do you correct excessive barking using home-based methods?
The first thing is to find out why the dog barks and eliminate the cause. There are many possible reasons: anxiety, fear, lack of communication and attention, excessive joy or a low level of physical activity.
Perhaps the dog barks because it is afraid of something. Familiarize your puppy with different noises, walk in different places, communicate with other animals and people.
Barking can be a way to elevate status. And this problem is very often a result of improper education. It is important that from an early age the puppy understands who the leader is.
There's a myth that you can deprive the dog from its protective qualities if you punish it for barking. However, this is far from the truth.
If the dog whines, howls or barks, it is worth making every possible effort to choose the right tactics of deterrence and encouragement.
Many caring owners make the same mistake: when they leave the house, they feel pity for a poor left-alone doggy. They try to pacify the dog's whining and barking and even give it a treat in such cases. The dog interprets this as the owner being happy with what it's doing and continues with even more enthusiasm. As a result, there is even more noise and the owner doesn't realize that he encourages his pet's wrong actions.
Teach your dog to analyze whether situations like footsteps on the stairs or noises at the door threaten the general well-being of the household. If there's no reason for a "danger" signal, ignore the dog. When the pet becomes silent, praise it.
NEVER punish the dog physically for whining and barking. Use a self-possession command (for example, "Lie down") or a "No" command.
Before leaving the dog alone, walk it intensively, provide it with sufficient physical activity so that your pet has no energy for barking.
Shifting the dog's attention may also work. If the dog is barking loudly, call it, clap your hands and run in the opposite direction. If the pet runs after you, praise it.
One more way to stop excessive and useless barking is to splash some water on the dog. Not from a bucket of course, but from a spray bottle or a glass. But this radical method will only work with a fearless and active dog. A shy dog may be threatened so much that it will panic every single time it sees a glass in your hands.
It is very important to organize a dog's living space and activities properly. Never keep your dog in a dark and small room. This may result in uncontrolled fear and mental problems in behavior.
When you leave your dog alone, you can leave an object which can work as your "replacement", for instance, a piece of clothing which has your smell.
You can distract the dog with the TV or radio turned on. You can find many sites with music and TV-shows for dogs on the Internet.
For some time, the dog may be busy with interactive toys or games. For example, a toy with the favourite dog's treat is a great distractor as well as hidden in different corners of the house tasty things.