Wednesday's WTFact: Why Does My Dog Bark At The Window?
"My dogs love looking out the window, or through the fence in the yard, but I can't get them to stop barking at everybody and everything that goes by! I feel bad and I want them to be able to see the world, but this is driving me crazy, why is this happening and what do I do?"
Literally EVERY time your dog sees someone walking by your house, your territory, your safe haven...it has barked and subsequently succeeded in making them leave... Every. Time.
Never once has he barked at a passerby and they didn't keep walking. This is incredibly reinforcing! Just look at the statistics! 100% effective!
What To Do About It:
Your dog could initially start barking for a variety of reasons. It could be just the excitement of seeing people or other animals, it could be out of fear, it could be prey drive, dominance or separation anxiety. The good news is, it doesn't matter what started it, I recommend the same course of action regardless. The first step is to do what you can so they CAN'T see outside when you are not there to monitor them. Especially if you leave your dog loose during the day while you are gone. Barking is a manifestation of anxiety, so although it is stimulating for them to be able to see the world go by, it is causing them some form of duress/anxiety or overstimulation if they are always barking about it!
I also recommend CORRECTING this behavior. Ignoring it will not make it stop, and as you probably already know yelling at your dog won't work either. Using a pet corrector (compressed air), spray bottle, or can of coins can all have potential to work effectively to shut down the escalation of behavior and pull the dog away from what is happening outside. You could also potentially keep a leash on your pup ONLY if you are home and able to monitor him or her closely, and give a leash correction for the barking. Once a correction is given, redirect their energy into doing something constructive so they don't go right back to the window. This could be something as simple as having them go lie down in their dog bed.
The pull for your dog to react from activity happening right outside the house is strong, almost instinctual so trying to bribe your pup with a cookie or treat will only be a momentary distraction at best, and at worst, a reinforcement for barking. Waiting for them to stop barking only allows for more time for their anxiety to build. Cutting that energy off at the fuse is the first step to learning how to communicate with your dog respectfully and calmly! It's OK to say "NO" in our book!
To learn other tricks, tips or if you have any questions please visit our website at www.dogtrainingredefined.com or email Andrea at Andrea@theanimaldept.com