It is natural for a dog to bark when protecting his property. During periods when the dog cannot be supervised, it is impossible to correct him for unnecessary barking. I order for corrective action to be taken, you need to be supervising him and within reach during those barking periods.
The good news is that you do not have to sit around and wait for barking to happen naturally. You can ask for help from friends or family so that you can create a potential barking situation. In order to better control the situation, you should have the dog on a leash. This makes it easier for you to catch him and deliver the correction, as well as the praise for appropriate behavior.
Techniques you can use to stop barking:
You need to start out by selecting a command word to let him know to stop barking. “QUIET” would be the most obvious, but “hush,” “enough,” or “that’ll do” will also work.
“Shut up” and “NO” are a little bit too negative.
Prepare for the barking by having the dog on the leash. When he starts, get a grip on the leash and give it a firm horizontal tug, making sure to use your command word at the same time. It’s best to stat with the leash in your hand so that you are not scrambling to grab it if he runs while barking.
When he goes quite, calmly praise his efforts with a phrase like “GOOD, quiet.” A little treat every now and again may help the cause.
If you are not getting much success with the tug on the leash, you might consider using a spray bottle. A few squirts of water in the face while commanding him to be quiet can have a real effect. Adding SIT in there can complete the process. These tools are not meant to frighten or intimidate the dog, and therefore should not be used as such.
Barking can serve a purpose, though, especially when guarding the home. Teaching a “Who’s there” command when someone comes to the door can get them barking at the right time. Follow this with a “Good, who’s there” to let them now that you are happy with their behavior.
If you have a dog that barks to excess, using a clear tone when using QUIET, and follow it with a DOWN command. This helps reinforce your position as the leader. Additionally, dogs in a prone position usually don’t bark. You can also step on the leash to ensure that he stays down.
Obviously, there is nothing you can do to correct barking when you are not home, but you can set up a recorder of some kind to see when he barks, and what causes it to happen. Barking when guarding the property is a lot different than a dog barking because he is scared or lonely.
It’s natural for dogs to bark, and it can be very handy if you can train him to bark in certain situations.