Barking at children

Posted by karen1
Sep 19, 2008
My Bichon dog "Franklin" loves to sit in front of the glass door in the sun. The problem is that he will bark at everything. If a garage door opens 1 block down and he can see it he barks. If someone is walking a block away he barks. I also have some neighborhood children who ride their bikes in front of the house and he barks at them even though he knows them. When he barks he gets very excited and runs around the living room jumping on the sofa barking then running back to the door constantly barking the whole time, running back and forth. He is so excited I cannot get his attention. Any ideas to get his attention would be helpful. I would hate to have to keep the door closed and not let him see outside or not get any sun. I have tried to ignore him and he will keep it up until the children go away or the person walking down the street is out of site. Any ideas would be a great help.
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Dec 30, 2009
Hi Karen

The most important thing to remember when dealing with problem barking is never to reward barking. It is good that you are ignoring him when he barks as he is trying to get attention and he will realize that barking doesn't work. The moment he is quiet, say 'Quiet' to him and then give him lots of attention and a treat. This gives him something to strive towards, so that he knows what you want as well as what is considered bad behavior. Unfortunately, dogs often mistake people walking away to be a direct result of their barking, so it may be quite hard to stop him barking at people outside the window, because he is getting his 'reward' each time they go past. To stop this, you may need to use either a rattle-can (few coins in a can) or a water-gun, but make sure you only rattle/spray when he is barking. This will distract him for a few seconds, which should be plenty of time for you to give the 'quiet' command and reward him for his silence. Then you should distract him from what is outside by giving him another command, such as 'sit-stay'.
Making a big fuss of him when he is quiet is vital, but to ensure maximum efficacy you must not generally give him attention whenever he asks for it. Instead, he has to learn to work for it, for example, only playing with him after he has obeyed a command. This will make your attention all the more valuable and worthwhile in his eyes.
Do let him have a few barks, as moderation is the key. More importantly is that he does not bark excessively and is quiet when you tell him to be. If he continues to bark, as a last resort you could try a citronella collar, which emits a powerful smell when the dog barks, which they find extremely unpleasant. The problem with these collars is that they will address the barking but do nothing to treat the cause of it. All other methods should be tried first before resorting to them.

It is also possible that Franklin is barking because he is bored. You can rectify this by taking him out for a walk every day if possible and giving him chews. Toys are also a good idea, but make sure he doesn't get over-possessive over any of them. You may want to keep changing them to stop this from happening as well as keeping him interested. Another idea is hiding his meals or treats inside a 'kong' so that he has to work hard for his food, which will keep him occupied for some time. Take time out each day to spend with him and include some obedience training too if possible, as this will not only keep him attentive to you and give you some quality time together, but it will also result in a more obedient dog!

I hope this helps and all the best for the training!