Barking at Fence & Windows

by Nathalie
(Toronto ON)

From Nathalie... I have a 5 year old Great Dane neutered male foster dog.

Inside the house he is obedient, sweet & respectful, although a Velcro dog (follows me from room to room).

He will violently bark at things going by the back fence & window and run along the back fence at people, dogs, bicycles & skateboarders.

I have tried silently & calmly going outside to bring him back in each & every time. I have tried going out and standing in front of him with my back to him as if to say "Hmmm... thanks for letting me know. I got it, you can relax."

This seemed to work a bit, but then passersby starting barking back at him in teasing. I cannot get to these people fast enough to explain the situation & ask for their co-operation.

When we are off leash he is fine. He is pleasant and will greet other dogs or people nicely, although he does lunge at car windows at bicycles going by.

I am considering an e-collar because I cannot predict when it will happen and he needs to be outside to do his business.


Shannon Says...

Hi Nathalie,

As you know from trying all these other techniques, ignoring bad behavior will never make it go away.

In order for him to learn not to bark, he needs to be corrected each and every time he displays this behavior, and praised whenever he doesn't.

The best way to correct this sort of problem is definitely an e-collar (electronic training collar).

You could either go the route of an anti-bark collar, which would correct him whenever he barks, regardless of the reason, or a remote training collar that you have to actually press a button for it to correct him.

It doesn't really matter which one you decide to go with. The biggest difference is that you need to be watching or listening for his barking if you use a remote trainer, whereas the anti-bark collar will automatically correct each bark.

Sometimes the dog figures out that he can avoid the anti-bark collar correction by changing the pitch or volume of his bark.

Also, I've seen some dogs that react to an anti-bark collar by barking at the correction.

Basically, the remote training collar gives you more control over the level of correction and when you want to correct him for barking.

Depending on the unit that you purchase, you can often be inside the house with the remote to correct him when he is outside.

Of the different brands, I recommend Dogtra, Radio Pet and Invisible Fence for remote training collars, and Invisible Fence for anti-bark collars.

E-Collar Training for Barking

One of the most important things to remember is to desensitize him to whichever collar you decide to go with for about a week. Do not turn the collar on, and just have him where it throughout the day while playing, eating, going for walks, etc.

You want him to associate the collar with positive things, not with corrections. If he makes the connection between the collar and the correction, he will become "collar trained" - well-behaved when the collar is on, and disobedient when it comes off.

Good ways to make that positive association include: giving him a treat immediately after the collar goes on, feeding him after his collar goes on, throwing the ball, going for walks.

I would also desensitize him to the remote if you are using one. Start to wear the remote around the house to get him used to seeing it on you, sometimes holding it in your hand and other times around your neck on a lanyard or clipped to your pocket.

After the initial week of desensitization, be sure to have him wear the collar for more than just going in the backyard. It's completely safe for a dog to wear an e-collar all day, as long as he gets at least 8 hours naked (no collar at all), such as at night.

This will take the onus off the collar, and it will become an ordinary thing for him, just like his regular collar.

When giving a correction with a remote, SAY NOTHING, and with it behind your back,hold the button down for 1-2 seconds only. Obviously, if you're in the house, he won't see the remote so you don't have to worry about hiding it.

You need to catch him in the act, and correct within 1.5 seconds of barking for him to understand what the correction is for.

If he looks at you, look the other way - you don't want him to think that the correction is coming from you, but from the behavior that he is displaying. Say nothing and don't clap your hands or make any other sounds.

When he stops barking, be sure to praise him if you are outside. Be consistent, and you should start to see an immediate improvement!

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