I have 3 large dogs and have trained them to only bark if someone is actually in our yard or on our front porch. I can tell by their barks whether they're barking at someone or just barking at a squirrel.
I tried the spraying of water but it didn't leave a lasting impression. I bought a plastic lemon with lemon juice in it from the produce area of where I grocery shop. When the dogs bark for no reason they get a squirt of lemon juice in their mouth. I don't give them any sort of warning, when they're barking I look out the front window and if there's no one in my yard or my front porch the barking dog will get a squirt.
They know what is acceptable and what isn't. Since I know each dog's individual bark I only zero in on the one who actually did the barking. It's sort of interesting to watch at times. If Emma barks, Rosie can't get away from her fast enough, it's almost like she's saying, "I didn't bark, it was all Emma, I had nothing to do with it" as she slides around me to get away from the Living Room.
I'm not harsh but they all run if they see me pick up the lemon and know without a doubt even if they scramble away, I will catch them and they will still get the correction. If they see a neighbor walking their dog they will growl at the front window but not bark. Their training didn't happen over night and I actually permit two warning barks. A herd of elephants could walk past my house and they would not bark non-stop. I actually trained them not to bark, not for the sake of barking but because they get into such a frenzy at the front window that they turn on each other which always ends in a dog fight.
I'm recovering from Transverse Myelitis and I was paralyzed for 6 months and it took me a year to learn how to walk again. While I was paralyzed my well behaved furry children weren't kept in check by my husband and basically got away with everything.
Once I was able to stand up on my own I had to basically remind my dogs of their good manners and each dog needed a reminder lesson in obedience. It didn't take them long to figure out that since I was once again mobile that their party days were over. It was very important for my physical being to be able control my dogs. I lose my balance very easily and fall down. I have a lot better control of them when they aren't turning on each other when they're all barking at one time.
I have 2 dachshunds and for years they have driven me crazy barking like mad every time someone came to the door. After years of trying different methods I finally came up with one that works, at least on my two. It actually came from a method I use on my cat when he misbehaves.
I keep a small squirt bottle close by. It's one that sprays a stream for approximately 8-10 feet.
One thing to remember. When training your dogs not to bark, don't try to train them to not bark at all when someone comes. That's their job is to let you know someone is there. But with this method it won't be long before she only barks a few times, and when you tell her to quit, she will.
I started out by after they had barked a couple of times, I would squirt them in the "butt" at the same time saying "enough". It got their attention. And if they continued to bark they continued to get squirted. It didn't take but less than a week before all I had to say was "enough" and they quit.
This same trick also taught them not to jump on visitors too, which they had been very bad about for years. Not that they wanted to bite, they just wanted to be sure and get some petting. But now they don't jump at all on people and they've found they get a lot more petting this way, only on the person's terms, not theirs.
I wish my sissy dog would let me know when someone is coming to my door, like all training you have to stop it every time till they learn. I trained with one or two word or commands, and sounds. When a cars passed us on the road I said car coming, and then I stopped and waited until the car went by, now Zues will stop even when off the leash. He also stops if he hears the leash click, when training him not to pull me. Have a really good treat for him like a piece of hot dog, distract him give him a word command.
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