Stop Your Dog Barking at The Window

Stop Your Dog Barking at The Window

Learn how to stop your dog barking at the window today. Find out how in this article.

As much as we love our dogs, they can frustrate us with some of their loud or obnoxious behaviors. Barking at things outside can become a natural behavior for our dogs as they seek out a “job” as a protector of the household.

When they bark, they are alerting us to what they perceive as potential dangers. However, the person walking by or the rabbit in the bush is not something we always want or need to know about.

Barking is normal canine communication, but inappropriate barking – too much or too often – is probably one of the most commonly reported problems owners have with their dogs.

It can be annoying and can lead to unhappy situations with neighbors, particularly if your dog barks a lot. To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first determine what is causing your dog to bark in the first place.

Once you answer the ‘why’, it will be much easier to come up with the ‘how’ – the solution to the problem.

Why does my dog bark at the window

Dogs may bark in any number of situations, including.

  • when there is somebody at the door.
  • at cats or birds in the garden.
  • at people walking past the house.
  • when they are left on their own.
  • to get your attention.
  • when they are bored.
  • at other dogs or people when out and about.
  • at visitors who enter your home.

It is vital that you determine why your dog barks in the first place, and if barking mostly occurs when your dog is left alone, a behavior consultation with a qualified pet behavior counselor will likely be necessary to address this problem.

Similarly, if your dog barks at people or dogs when out and about, or at visitors coming to the home, a simple tip is unlikely to make a difference and a comprehensive assessment will be needed to help improve your dog’s behavior. 

Barking looking outside the window and classical conditioning

Many owners think that letting their dog stare out the window is a way to let their dog “enjoy” the view while they are left home alone and that it’s a form of relaxation.

After all, we love sitting on our porches in the summer and letting the world pass us by, right?

Unfortunately, allowing your dog to stare out windows when unsupervised is potentially very harmful activity, and in a relatively short amount of time, can cause your dog to bark and lunge aggressively at dogs and people on the street.

It also prevents them from resting – they are always hyper-vigilant for very long durations, every day, and unable to truly relax and de-stress.

Typically, a well-socialized and friendly dog is given access to their new window ledge in his new home (or sometimes even access to a window in a lower-story condo).

He sees a dog being walked on the street and gets excited because he wants to go visit the dog to socialize. But, he can’t! He’s stuck behind glass. He feels disappointed and also frustrated.

Every single day, he sits at the window, and classical conditioning is occurring. The sight of people walking by causes excitement, and then frustration at the fact he is stuck behind a glass window.

Soon, instead of being happy to see a dog and person on the street, he immediately feels frustrated and eventually angry. This is called barrier frustration.

A lot of times, this conditioned emotional response to people and dogs on the street generalizes to not just when inside, but also when outside on a leash walk.

Now, the dog that barks and lunges at things behind the window also does this when outside on-leash walks.

After months or even years of this conditioning – the frustration builds up to a point where some dogs if allowed to rush out the front door left ajar, will run out and actually bite someone walking by.

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After tens of thousands of people and dogs walking by, the frustration has transformed into serious aggression.

This is also called “chain rage”, where dogs on tie-outs in suburban and rural property become highly aggressive due to years of barrier frustration.

How to stop your dog from barking at the window

While all of them can be very successful, you shouldn’t expect miraculous results overnight.The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways.

Always remember to keep these tips in mind while training:

  • Don’t yell at your dog to be quiet—it just sounds like you’re barking along with him.
  • Keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.
  • Be consistent so you don’t confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately. You can’t let your dog get away with inappropriate barking some times and not others.

1 Remove the motivation.

Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Example: Barking at passersby

If he barks at people or animals passing by the living room window, manage his behavior by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.

If he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard, bring him into the house. Never leave your dog outside unsupervised all day and night.

2 Ignore the barking.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking.

Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.

To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking.

If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough you’ll give him attention.

3 Example: Barking when confined.

When you put your dog in his crate or in a gated room, turn your back and ignore him. Once he stops barking, turn around, praise him, and give him a treat.

As he catches on that being quiet gets him a treat, lengthen the amount of time he must remain quiet before being rewarded.

Remember to start small by rewarding him for being quiet for just a few seconds, then working up to longer periods of quiet.

Keep it fun by varying the amount of time. Sometimes reward him after 5 seconds, then 12 seconds, then 3 seconds, then 20 seconds, and so on.

4 Desensitize your dog to the stimulus.

Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes him bark) at a distance.

It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it.

Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats.

You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats!).

Example: Barking at dogs.

Have a friend with a dog stand out of sight or far enough away so your dog won’t bark at the other dog. As your friend and her dog come into view, start feeding your dog lots of very yummy treats.

Stop feeding treats as soon as your friend and her dog disappear from view. Repeat the process multiple times.

Remember not to try to progress too quickly as it may take days or weeks before your dog can pay attention to you and the treats without barking at the other dog.

Dogs that bark, and ones that don’t.

Dog’s that bark a lotDogs that don’t
BeaglesFrench Bulldog
Fox TerriersEnglish Bulldog
Yorkshire TerriersBasenji
Miniature SchnauzerPug
Cairn TerrierJapanese Chin
West Highland White TerrierChinese Shar Pei
ChihuahuaGreat Dane
CorgiCavalier King Charles Spaniel
Siberian HuskyNewfoundland

Teach your dog the “quiet” command

It may sound nonsensical, but the first step of this technique is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose.

When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command.

In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

Example: Someone at the door.

When the doorbell rings, your dog alerts you to the presence of an “intruder” by barking wildly.

Once you’ve taught your dog the “quiet” command in a calm environment, practice in increasingly distracting situations until your dog can immediately stop barking when asked to, even when that “intruder” arrives at the door.

Keep your dog tired

Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration.

Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Here is a great way to make your dog tired, watch the video below.


Should you consider a bark collar?

Should you consider a bark collar

There is a huge array of ’tools’ on the market that claim to stop nuisance barking in dogs and offer a quick fix.

These include:

There are many other devices, whose main function is to startle, scare, and cause pain or discomfort to a barking dog in an effort to teach him that barking brings unpleasant consequences.

While some of them might actually work in the immediate-term (by stopping the dog from barking while the device is being used) sadly they do little to address the motivation behind the barking, and so only act to suppress the behavior without actually solving the real issue.

What’s more, they can actually do more harm than good by causing your dog unnecessary stress and even pain.

Plus, using devices that punish pets will likely damage the bond between you, meaning your dog is less likely to follow your instruction in the future and can lead to further problem behaviors.

As an example, think about barking when left alone.

A dog that is very loud when left alone isn’t making a noise because he or she is being spiteful or wants to get you in trouble with your neighbors.

The vocalization is an expression of the dog’s fear, loneliness, and sometimes even panic.

By strapping a device such as an electric shock collar to an upset dog, you don’t do anything to make them feel safer or more comfortable when left on their own – and what’s more, the pain confirm their fears that being left means horrible things happen to them (painful electric shocks occur every time they bark).

Therefore it is vital that when addressing the problem of nuisance barking that you don’t just look at the quick fix – the “how do I stop it?” – but rather ask “why is my pet doing that?”.

If your dog’s barking has got to the stage where you are considering using a bark collar, before you do, please speak to a qualified behaviorist.

You can contact one through your vet, or look one up available on various pet websites. If you rehomed your dog from Blue Cross, simply get in touch with the Centre you rehomed your pet from for free, expert behavioral advice.

4 tips to stop barking when you are out

  1. Cover the window or close the curtains can sometimes help to distract your dog. If you still want some light in the room invest in some blinds.
  2. Keep your dog tired and give them plenty of exercises. Read our other article 10 Ways to Exercise Your Dog at Home.
  3. Turn on the radio or TV. Make it harder for your dog to hear what is going on outside.
  4. Try getting some dog Dog puzzles. They work very well here are my favorites.

 Related questions

Q. My dog constantly barks at passerby. How do I stop him?

This is a common problem with a lot of dog owners. To avoid this problem, never allow your dog to have unsupervised access to look out windows, or even in the yard through fences.

Don’t leave your dog in the yard all day while you’re at work. Instead, restrict access when they’re unsupervised through window coverings, privacy film, crating/confinement, or simply preventing access to the room these windows are in.

When you’re with your dog by the window or yard, and they notice people and dogs walking by your property, mark and reinforce them with food, play, and praise, for calmly noticing passersby, so you help train behavior and condition positive associations with passerby.

Q. My dog goes nuts when he hears the doorbell. How do I control his behavior?

A doorbell or knock on the door can really rile up a dog because they again feel they are “doing their job” by alerting you that an intruder is there.  To “prevent rehearsal” of this behavior, follow the steps above, thanking your dog and letting him know you have it under control.

(Use AH-AH-AH and Good Quiet.)  Then put your dog on a leash and give the Sit command before you open the door.  Don’t let your dog jump on the visitor. Only allow visitors to pet your dog when he is in a Sit.

Keep your dog on a leash for 10 minutes and then release him (give the treat to reward and distract).

Most dogs calm down pretty quickly after the visitor comes in and the dog realizes he is not a threat.  Using a leash during this interaction is vital because it becomes a tool you can use to control your dog when your attention is averted to your visitor.

Other ideas for stopping barking include putting up blinds or moving furniture so your dog can’t see out the main traffic areas.  This is where we as humans can be “solution-minded”—thinking of changes that we ourselves can make that will help with training issues.

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