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My JR barks at every sound, many of which I can’t hear at all. I’ve tried every training method which does not involve cruelty but often feel I can’t bear the explosive racket and lose my temper.
He is never left to carry on barking but erupts a hundred times a day. Has anyone actually managed to stop alert barking? How?
Firstly, this is a JRT. They are the Barky McBarkfaces of the dog world. This is in them, so it goes a long way to to accept that this is the nature of the dog you got. Which is not quite the same as giving in, but perhaps a realisation that you will always have a barkier dog than most may help your sanity
Unfortunately, they also have a particularly harsh bark with the hardest of the noise happening at the start of the bark so they are especially good at making you jump (compare with some dogs whose bark is slightly quieter at the start of the 'woof!' so gives you a micro second of warning that it's coming).
However, there are some things you can try that may help the barking:
1. Make sure this dog is given lots of opportunity to be active and mentally stimulated. These dogs are quick, energetic, hardy dogs and a couple of quick walks round the streets are unlikely to cut it. So, if you're not, then look at ways to get this dog out and about, giving them lots of opportunity to sniff new and exciting scents and run about. Look at activities that do similar indoors, such as hiding treats in the room and ask him to find them, trick training, interactive games etc. The more he gets an outlet for his instinct in other ways, the less likely he is to try and find entertainment himself, though barking etc.
2. Stop shouting (I know you know that ). Shouting can encourage barking in a couple of ways. It can be a contagious behaviour, i.e. you bark so he dogs barks. It can be unpleasant and thus confirm to the dog that the noice outside DID mean something bad was going to happen, better try harder next time to tell it to "Sod Off".
3. Partner noices with something much more pleasant. Have pots of tiny treats hanging around the house and everytime you hear a noise, chuck a treat to the dog. If you don't hear it and the dog does, call him to you for a treat. Be as quick as poss. to deliver the treat because you want the dog to start to learn noise outside = treat. Ideally you want to be giving that treat before any barking, but this may not be possible at first. Over time the dog should start to hear noise and automatically look/run to you for treats. Once this is 100% rock solid you can start to offer praise instead of treats on occasion.The dog you have will determine whether you always need to give a few treats every now and again or can move to total praise.
4. Drown out smaller noises with soothing radio music or similar. Something like a smart speaker can be espcially good for this because you just need say "Alexa, play relaxing music" or similar.
5. Breathe. If you are relaxed, you are much more likely to help the dog relax. I realise that's far easier said than done when the dog has made you jump for the sixth time this morning
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