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But, a better (and less controversial) way is to find out why the dog is barking and correct that.
Barking at strangers? Not much you should do about that.
Barking when you're not home? Put old blankets (yours) in his crate, play some soft music.
Barking at randon? Find out why.
Incessant barking for no reason is a symptom of mental unrest... usually an excess of energy and lack of structure. Fix the situation and the barking will stop.
Watch the Dog Whisperer on the NGC for more tips if you live in the US. His techniques are VERY successful for me.
If it's not your dog, call the cops. :)
An ex of mine (let's call her Satan's Sister, for other reasons) had this well mannered Basset. His only problem was the only socialization if got with it's owner was a handful of dog biscuits thrown on the floor when the owner stormed in.
She would leave it home, outside. Bark bark bark. Neighbors called, police visited often.
First came the shocking collar. For the first week, it mildly curbed the problem until the dog became immune to the discomfort. If you consider one of these, turn the thing on high and give yourself a jolt with it. This requires a pretty high tolerance for pain, for a dog. But pain is something they adapt to really quickly.
By the second week, the bark was in full swing again with a twist - three of the probes had cut distinct punctures in the dogs neck, burrowing into the skin, causing infections. The barking continued.
Then came the surgery. There are two types of debarking, a deep debark and a mid-debark (not sure of the exact term.) In the second the cords are only partially snipped. The result of this is a hoarse attempt at a bark, which sounds like some monster out of a cheap Hollywood movie, a breathy heave of the lungs. It's pitiful to hear, and real. And for a Basset Hound, who's character relies on their voice, it's still loud enough to annoy the neighbors.
How to stop a dog from barking: If you own a dog, you should know why your dog is so "vocal." Even an old dog can be taught to use his/her "inside voice" in a few short weeks with a little attention. There are thousands fo training methods out there.
They need attention and bonding, and require a mild bit of dedication. If you don't have the dedication to know why the dog is barking, you shouldn't be a pet owner, give it to someone who will.
next time he barks, just hit him on the head with a hammer.
I do not understand all these violent and extreme ideas. I have owned 11 dogs over 35 years, 5 of which were Basset Hounds, three German Shepherds, the rest mutts. If you teach the dog proper behavior and that it is part of the family, not just some Christmas gift for your kid who after two weeks doesn't care so you tie it up outside forever, 99.9% of the time, there is no problem. In general, hyper-barkers are a result of neglect, inbreeding, or abuse.
Incredibly in-humane....please don't go that route.
Also illegal in some areas.
I'll agree with some of the posts, training or resolving the issue is the best option but a bark collar, if used properly, is an altermative.
As mentioned, Cæsar Milan (a.k.a. the Dog Whisperer) has many great ways to treat it without extra accessories. You really need to find out WHY the dog is barking first before you can even attempted to resolve the issue.
If it is seperation anxiety (while you are away) then play music, maybe put an old blanket or towel of yours in the crate with the dog (one you don't mind if it gets destroyed).
If its when you're home, either interwxt with them (play tug, cuddle, whatever) or teach them that it is acceptable to be quiet (reward them when they are not barking). If hes barking in appropreately, he does not get rewarded (no interaction), maybe even a harsh NO will turn the behavior around.
If its when he sees strangers outside, don't correct it, he's protecting his domain (which is what he's supposed to do).
Also, learn how to speak dog (in body language). Body language will go a long way when working with dogs.
[edited by: FlexAjaxSEO at 8:47 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
You can speed the beginnings of the process by having a friend go open and shut the building door a lot so you can control the situation for 10-15 minutes straight. Done properly, he'll finally get it and give up barking. This will lay the groundwork for maintenance.
*You need to gain a good understanding of your dog's body language in order to apply this technique properly. This technique resolves the mental issue driving the behavior instead of punishing the manifestation of the mental instability, like a shock collar does. Dogs can be stubborn enough to become immune to physical punishment, and if a dog gets worked into a fury, they feel no pain anyway.
good luck! Caesar has books if you want to learn more about his process.
I'm not a big fan of C. Milan, but what SEOMike described sounds workable (though I disagree with the reasoning as to WHY it works).
Shock collars usually cause more problems than they fix - if the dog is barking out of anxiety about some stimulus the shock collar represses the behavior but increases the anxiety.
Incredibly in-humane....please don't go that route.
Lots of misconceptions about this. My dogs are NOT debarked, but they are a notoriously "vocal" breed and this is fairly common practice among those who have larger numbers of them (more than 2-3 - in small numbers you can use training to control it, in larger groups pack behavior makes this nearly impossible). No incision, nothing is "removed", it is done with a biopsy punch - the dog recovers quickly and resumes barking ... but the result isn't loud enough to annoy anyone. They don't spend their lives being punished for barking, the owners don't worry about visits from the police or having their dogs confiscated, if its done properly there are no medical repercussions and the dogs happily go on expressing their opinions ... quietly.
If this is your neighbor's dog, I don't recommend kidnapping him to have this done ... otherwise we'll have to start the sequel to "I neutered my neighbor's cat"!
[edited by: MamaDawg at 11:35 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
A bark now and then is expected but constant yipping and yapping has got to go.
I have found that sending the police to the neighbors house with the non-stop barking dogs will eventually make it very quiet and about 3 dogs have disappeared after multiple complaints. We had one neighbor with a dog that howled all morning after he went to work and that went away after a couple of weeks. The other neighbor put their dog on the 3rd floor balcony where it barked all day while that neighbor was at work which didn't last long either.
I agree with the others that you need to watch the Dog Whisperer and maybe you'll learn a little about how to change that mutt's behavior so it'll be in a low energy state when the door opens instead of all hyper.
Find a trainer if you can't do it yourself, or give the dog to someone in a single family home where it won't disturb the neighbors which are probably plotting your demise as we type...
[edited by: incrediBILL at 12:13 am (utc) on Oct. 24, 2007]