It is simple enough to fix a lonely dog barking problem by changing your dog’s circumstances. Don’t leave your dog alone in the yard for such long periods of time. Spend time with your dog and give him obedience training on a regular basis. This gives your dog purpose, a job to do and makes him an involved member of your family with a purpose in life.
When your dog does a good job of being a watch dog then that’s a good thing. However if he keeps barking for too long then you have a problem. Use this method to teach your dog to quiet down after alerting you to an intruder:
1. Teach your dog to COME which is another lesson but one of the foundations for obedience training.
2. Use the COME command when he is barking at something for too long. Bribe him with food if necessary (but not every time) or jingle some keys to get his attention. Reward him with praise when he comes.
3. Thank your dog for alerting you to the intruder then tell him DOWN. Again DOWN is a basic obedience command he needs to know.
4. Go and take a look at what he was barking at while your dog remains down. Tell him to STAY. Come back and tell him it is OK and release him from the DOWN position.
5. If your dog goes right back to barking, call him back again, but this time make him STAY DOWN longer, like ten minutes for a doggie “time out”.
This way you teach your dog that it is OK to alert you to something. But after he’s notified you, you are in charge and he’s no longer needed to bark. It is your dog’s job to let you know when something is outside. After that it is not his job anymore.
Things to watch out for: Don’t join your dog in loud vocalizations – like yelling. He’ll think you are joining in the barking game and this might exasperate the situation. It’s possible that reprimanding him for a natural behavior (what your dog is good for and good at) will diminish your relationship and teach him he’s no good. But your dog is a good dog!
By teaching your dog obedience like COME, DOWN and STAY you can shape your dog’s behaviors in situations such as excessive barking. Working with your dog on a regular basis, even a just a few minutes per day can improve communication and your relationship with your dog and you’ll have a much better dog in the long run. Both you and your dog will be happier too.