Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated February 17, 2009)
My grandparents' dog is quite a handful. It's pretty ridiculous actually—he barks like mad whenever somebody leaves the house and whenever he's miffed about food, about company, about whatever. Like I said—it's ridiculous. If your dog barks excessively, you might be at a loss for how to fix it. How do you stop a dog from barking so much? There are a couple of techniques to try, but this is one that is quick, cheap, and effective.
Something you can try to keep them quiet is to put some coins in an empty coffee can. The next time that they bark without good reason, shake the can near their face. Dogs hate the noise and will quickly be quiet. In time, just the sight of the can will remind them that they are barking up the wrong tree.
This technique will often work and is known as sound aversion. Aversion therapy requires you to use a strong 'aversive' which is an unpleasant thing, in this case a sound to punish the behavior. If your dog is barking because of fear, it is really cruel to punish them for this and you should seek positive reinforcement methods instead. Dogs who are serious barkers are doing so for a reason and, if that reason still affects the dog, the need to bark remains and they will learn to ignore the aversive so you need a stronger one; if, however, the aversive techniques get physical in any way, or seem abusive to the dog in any way, stop and seek other methods of behavior control.
This will work most effectively if you use this technique early on. The younger the dog, the better he or she will respond to and adhere to this training. Despite the old cliche "You can't teach a dog new tricks," it does need to be acknowledged that new tricks are harder for old dogs to learn. The younger the dog, the easier it will be to train.
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