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I recently adopted a dog from a local shelter. One of the behaviors he brought home was barking/charging at the door when someone approaches. I'm not very familiar with the motivations behind this behavior (fear of strangers, "guarding" his territory?) but I have mixed feelings about it.

When the person comes in he immediately stops barking and greets them happily. If someone broke in, he wouldn't be much use as a protector :) But I don't really mind having him alert me to strangers. In the past my house has been broken into, and it would certainly be an aversion to have a big black dog barking menacingly (even if he'd just wag his tail and beg for belly scratches once they got in).

I would like to be able to turn this behavior off on command though. He tends to alert me to a lot of unnecessary things (oh my god, a bird!!!) and I'd like to teach him a command to cease barking. What is a good way to approach this? Treat each time he stops barking? Any ideas would be helpful.
 

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IMO only!! dogs bark, that is just by nature, there sense of hearing is what they live by, they bark when they are alerted to something of interest ( or not ;)), they bark to "scare" people off, and, then, like my dogs, they bark just to bark.

i personally would not want to stop them from barking because to me a barking dog ( as long as they have a reason) is a happy dog. that is there voice, that is like telling a human not to talk. in our home we allow the dogs to bark, that is how they talk, we do not mind it, and it keeps us safe, in fact, my dad ( whom we have been living with for just over a year now), has told us that he prefers to have the dogs around now, simply because no BAD will come close the home.

barking is given to dogs for a reason, and to me, training them not to bark is hard, of course we do use the **grunting* noise to stop them from the "oh mom look a bird" bark, and it did not take long for them to learn that.

my advise is that you use the, no, with a stern voice, and they will catch on.

good luck
 

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An alert bark is fine. Twenty alert barks is not. It's a matter of degree.
Yes, dogs bark and they should not have it removed from their repertoire of communications. But you CAN change it so the bark doesn't go on as long.

I would use two different behaviours to work on this.

One: I would, when the barking starts wait the appropriate amount of barks (your choice, mine is two) and then click my clicker and feed the dog. Hard to bark when they're chewing on a yummy. At first, this will seem like rewarding the bark..but really what you are doing is INTERRUPTING the behaviour at two barks. (I'm assuming you are using a clicker but you can use a sharp sound of your own..I prefer a clicker..if you want to know more about using one let me know).

After repeating this many many times (practice makes perfect) you should find the dog goes BARK BARK and then looks at YOU. Reward it. This means she "gets it", that the two barks earns her the reward. Then you "put it on cue" which means you say "thank you" or "enough" as soon as the bark stops and then WAIT a second to click and reward. What you are doing is teaching the dog that after the barking STOPS she gets the reward, gradually increasing the time between "thank you" and the click and reward..she then learns she is being rewarded for the QUIET and not the double bark itself. SO, essentially you have not taken away her BARK BARK but are teaching her two is enough and the quiet is really what you want. I hope that makes sense...its really about timing here.

The second behaviour is a "go to your mat", where you teach the dog, that someone at the door means bark bark and then quiet and then go sit on the mat placed away from the doorway. You work on go to your mat by first luring the dog onto the mat by tossing a treat on it...click when she gets to the mat and just as she is eating the treat. Repeat several times...she will eventually go to the mat and look at you expecting a treat. This is when you fade the lure, click when she is on the mat and then toss her the treat. Repeat some more until she is popping on over to the mat happily waiting for her click and treat. When she is doing this consistently you add the cue "go to your mat (while she is on route) and click and treat. Practice some more.

Then you link the two behaviours together...bark bark, thank you, go to your mat, click and reward. Practiced enough the sequence will start to build itself into a routine and she will start to go immediately after the thank you to her mat...then she gets a jackpot! Then you add a real person coming in..and part of her final reward is a release to "say hi" to the person. The treats get faded out as the behaviour becomes set, because her real reward is the person on the other side of that door!

I hope this made some sense. It's complicated to type it out..lol.
 
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