The Nifty Trick That Stopped My Dogs Alert Barking
You know why I didn’t name this article “how to stop your dog from barking — guaranteed!”?
Because that’s a pretty hefty promise, and I’m not here to trick you into believing there’s only one method that will stop your dog from barking.
I have no problem telling you exactly how I manage resource guarding around food because it’s a pretty specific situation. But when it comes to barking? There isn’t one correct method that will stop your dog from barking. There’s too many variables involved. Dogs bark for a bunch of different reasons, and there’s a ton of different methods that may or may not work for your dog.
So today I’m not promising you the world — I can’t guarantee to stop all of your dogs barking. But I can offer you one simple method that helps with alert barking. It’s one I call the “Ok, thank you ma’am” method.
So if your dog barks at stuff while staring out the window, or every time your neighbor pulls into their driveway give this method a shot. It worked for my “holy crap do you see that bird – he’s walking all over our mailbox!” dog, so it might just work for yours.
What Is Alert Barking?
Alert barking is your dogs way of letting you know they’ve seen or heard something out of the ordinary. If your dog stares out the window & barks at everything that moves, or if he barks every time your neighbor starts his motorcycle that’s alert baking. Some people call it nuisance barking, aka when your dog barks at all the things all day long.
Alert barking is normal behavior for dogs — it’s a way for them to let you (and everyone else in the home) know that something’s happening. While it’s a completely normal behavior for dogs, it’s probably not your favorite activity of theirs. But luckily you can cut down on a lot of your dogs excessive barking by being around to manage it.
Tip: If your dog barks a lot when you’re at home give them a few mentally stimulating things to do throughout the day. When dogs don’t have anything to do and get bored they’ll find ways to entertain themselves, and barking out the window is a popular choice. Finding ways to keep your dog busy indoors can help cut down on a lot of excessive barking.
The “OK, Thank You Ma’am” Method to Stop Alert Barking
My dog barks at every thing that enters the yard. Deer, turkey, cats, squirrels, leaves, you name it. In other words she barks at everything. It’s a bit annoying to say the least, so I decided to try to get to the bottom of it.
Rather than yelling “shut up!!!!” across two rooms or trying to ignore it (neither method works at all) I decided to check it out for myself. What the hell was she barking at all this time? What was it that was bothering her so much?
Sometimes she was barking at something unusual like 5 deer frolicking in the backyard. Sometimes it was a cat or squirrel, but most times I had no clue what she was alerting to. The yard looked clear to me.
But that act alone stopped her barking. After I got up off my lazy butt to investigate it for myself my dog looked to me to find out what to do next.
So I simply started patting her head & telling her “OK, thank you ma’am” and walked away. And you know what happened? She quieted right back down.
Why Acknowledging Alert Barking Is So Important
So why do you have to acknowledge your dogs barking? Can’t you just ignore it and wait for them to stop on their own? Well you can, but it’s not very effective. And chances are if your dog is trying to alert you to something, they’re gonna keep barking until you finally listen and see what all the fuss is about.
Acknowledging your dogs alert barking is the first step in figuring out how to manage it.
It’s a simple way to let your dog know “OK, I checked it out too and it’s all clear.” It’s acknowledging their instinct to alert to something unusual rather than just ignoring it. If your dog believes they are alerting you to something important do you know what they do when you ignore it? They get louder.
I mean I know I get louder and grow more frustrated when I’m trying to say something important and everyone’s just ignoring me. It’s nice to have someone listen and say “OK, thank you ma’am” every once in a while.
When my dog kept barking & barking as I just sat and pretended not to hear her I wonder if she was thinking “doesn’t this lady care that there’s a turtle ON OUR PATIO COMING RIGHT FOR US!?!” And since I just kept ignoring it she kept going — until I simply acknowledged it by looking at it myself and saying “OK, thank you ma’am.”
It lets your dog know that “Yes, I see that turtle, but we don’t need to worry about it. It’s all good.” Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Why Yelling Makes Things Worse
When it comes to trying to stop your dog from barking I know that yelling at them and punishing them is our first instinct. It’ll show them that we’re frustrated and want them to settle down, right? Well, not exactly. When you yell at your dog you’re riling them up even more, and they have a tendency to get even louder.
Imagine you see something concerning and you yell to your partner or friend to come take a look, and in return they start screaming. It would raise your stress levels, right? Now everyone’s in panic mode. That’s how it works when you yell at your dog for alert barking. They’re trying to let you know they see something they find concerning, and in return you start yelling back. It’s likely to put your dog on even higher alert.
So when it comes to managing your dog’s barking it’s important to keep your tone in mind. If you want your dog to settle down and be quiet your voice needs to reflect that. When you keep calm and give your dog a command they’re much more likely to settle down and listen to you.
This Method Won’t Cure All Barking
Remember that dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, and figuring out why is an important step to stopping it. This method words well for alert barking because our dogs are trying to let us know what’s going on, and acknowledging their concern let’s them know they’ve done “their job.”
If you ignore it, or yell at them to stop, they’re likely going to keep barking because it’s in their nature to let you know when something unusual is going on. Giving them a quick “thank you, I see it” lets them know that everything is OK, there are no security breaches that need addressing at this time.
But if your dog alert barks when you’re not home? Well that’s a bit more difficult. Many dogs bark out the window at all hours of the day whether their owner is home or not, and if it’s due to separation anxiety that’s a completely different issue altogether.
Sometimes blocking your dogs access to the trigger (such as covering up windows when you’re away) is the only option you have when you’re not around to manage it — unless you want multiple complaints by neighbors.
Barking is a normal part of dog behavior, so the goal is not to create a barkless dog, rather to be able to manage barking so that it does not become excessive and disturbing to us or our neighbors. – How to Curb Your Dog’s Barking
Do You Have Any Preferred Methods to Stop Barking?
Does your dog bark out the window at everything that moves? What methods get them to settle down? Do you acknowledge their barking or ignore it?