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The Barking is Driving Me Crazy!

by Karen Barrett
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Sick of your dog barking in the back yard? Can’t catch him? You’ve tried everything: yelling, ignoring, luring with treats, but nothing works, and it’s just getting worse!

Here’s what I want you to do:

Before you let your dog outside clip a long line to his collar. It can be anything from 3 to say 10 metres long, depending on the size and layout of your back yard. You want it long enough that you can get hold of it without too much trouble if your dog’s running around the yard, but not so long that it gets caught up around trees, etc.

If you have a big dog then you can use a rope like the one shown on the left. For smaller dogs use a lighter line like the one on the right. They’re not expensive. You can pick up ropes and clips from Bunnings. Brass clips are a bit more expensive than stainless steel but they’ll last longer in the weather and in salt water.

Now, the first time your dog barks, go to the back door or window and have a look around, as if you’re checking for danger. Don’t look at your dog, just make sure he sees you checking things out. Say light-heartedly “it’s nothing”, then walk back inside.

If he continues to bark then go outside calmly. Don’t look at your dog and don’t speak. Pick up the end of the rope and gently walk your dog into timeout.

Now here’s your dog’s interpretation of what’s gone on, put into English for us humans:

Dog: Woof woof, there’s something out here, it might be dangerous.

You: OK, I’ll check. Your body language and tone of voice are communicating to your dog, “don’t worry, I’ve checked, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Dog: Woof woof, I don’t believe you, I still think there’s danger.

Human: Well you’re obviously distressed so I’m going to put you in a nice safe place so you can calm down.

Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but you won’t have to do it forever. Sooner or later your dog’s going to start trusting you when you check and indicate there’s no danger, and in time, the barking in the yard will stop entirely; BUT you have to be on top of it EVERY TIME for as long as necessary.

See the thing is, every time you DON’T step in, and you allow the barking to continue, you’re allowing your dog to reinforce his habit of barking.

Hope this helps! … and of course, if you’d like to know more take a look around my site or give me a call on 0402 126 029!

Best wishes for a more peaceful existence!


The Barking is Driving Me Crazy! Dog Behaviourist & Training - Dogs Love

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