Posted by doriseng
Apr 17, 2008
Hello: I have a one year old Maltese (male) who is very friendly, loveable, but he constantly barks whenever he hears people or dogs walk by our back yard and when I walk him, he barks at other dogs and people he does not know when they are walking by. How can I stop this? I tried squirting him with vinegar and water. At first it helped. Now he justs runs around while I try squirting him. I also tried a No Bark collar. At the beginning, it helped stop his barking, but now he just keeps on barking. He is barking now as I am typing this message. I am getting frustrated. Please help!

Posted by Todd
Apr 23, 2008
Hi Doris thank you for the post

Barking can be a very frustrating problem to fix and often all we can achieve is reducing how often they bark not stopping completely.

From the sounds of it the barking when walking is something called Alert Barking. This is a natural habit where dogs bark at interesting things they see. It is normal but can be reduced as above.

The best way is to reprimand him with a quick tug on the lead as well as a verbal reprimand like a GRRRRR or AHHHHH to make sure he knows what he is doing wrong. When he stops barking praise him with petting and other attention.
Be consistent and quick with the reprimand.

As for the barking at home this is more of a territorial issue or attention seeking. When someone walks past he barks and they leave. In this way he wins everytime so he keeps on going.
Can he see out onto the passing street? If he can then you will need to stop him from seeing out as this can fix a great deal of the problem. Use polythene or newspaper as a short term fix.

If he can't see out we have to try and reprimand him without him seeing you and feeling like he got some attention for barking. There are 2 great ways to do this
1) Soak him with the hose
2) A tin can filled with a few pebbles (throw it near him not at him)

Now with this you need to be very consistent. It is much easier to put aside some time at the weekend to just sit and watch him. Every time he barks he needs to be told off, if he gets away with it he just won't learn.

Repeat this over and over. Eventually he will reduce in how often he barks.

There are some alternative bark collars that you can try that work on ultrasound (so they are much safer and less cruel). Ask your vet about them and give them a go.

Just remember when he barks he needs to be told off without you giving him attention as this all he may want.
Also a tired dog will have less exercise to bark - so make sure he has lots of toys as well as gets a brisk walk each day (take ear plugs for the first while )

Good luck and ask for help at any time