STOP That Barking!
When you are training a dog, it is always easiest to train one dog at a time. Help your dog learn faster by putting the other dogs in another room, out of eyesight.
To help stop nuisance barking:
1. Management - during the training period while the dog is learning a new way to behave, you should manage the dog's environment so that they don't have the opportunity to continue to practice the unwanted behavior. If the dog usually barks at the door when you leave, then crate the dog in another room, or have another family member put them on leash and take them out of the room. Be sure that you are not encouraging the barking behavior by joining in on the alarm by yelling, raising your voice or getting stressed. Leaders don't have a need to vocalize, which brings us to the second point.
2. Leadership - Leadership is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy, happy relationship with your dog. Every dog and every person deals with social status and social order. Dogs are more confident (and less likely to need to alarm bark) and respectful of your requests (thankfully the Leader is here to handle this intruder! now I can relax!) if you provide clear leadership. This is a good leadership protocol: www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm
3. Training: Train your dog to Bark on cue, and to Hush on cue using clicker training!
Adapted from Karen Pryor's www.Clickertraining.com site:
1. Get out your clicker and GREAT treats. Trigger the barking by knocking on table or door. While the dog is barking, click and immediately give her a treat.
2. As she swallows a treat, make a 'Shhh' gesture with your free hand, right in her face and verbally say ‘Shhhhh’. She will look surprised or interested. Click that expression, move your hand away, and treat.
3. Wait for the barking to start again (or trigger it). Click during a bark, and treat. As the dog swallows, surprise her again with the 'Shhhh' cue, click and treat. Repeat the sequence many times.
4. As the 'Shhhh' cue starts to work, you'll see your dog try to keep her mouth closed, after she's eaten the treat for barking. She wants to earn that next click and treat. Great!!
5. NOW the next time the dog barks, say 'Speak!' one time, and click. Follow with the 'Shhhh' cue instead of a treat, and then click and treat for silence. You are teaching two cues. As she is learning the 'Speak' cue she may whine or yip. Click any sound at first, then just 'Woof.'
6. To make the new cues very permanent, keep clicker and treats handy and reinforce 'Speak' and 'Shhh' at least once or twice ANY TIME she barks, for a few days.
7. Now you will be able to use the 'Speak' cue by itself for a cute trick, and the 'Shhhh' gesture by itself any time to stop nuisance barking