If you are frustrated with your dog going to the window and barking incessantly at pedestrians, other dogs, or the mail carrier – you are not alone. In fact, this is one of the most common questions we get asked!
One easy way to cut down on your dog barking out the window is to close the blinds or curtains, or keep your dog away from the front of the house during times you know the mail is coming or you see the neighbors on a walk. However, that isn’t always practical, and your dog may be able to stick their snout through the blinds or behind the curtains anyways. If keeping your dog away from the window isn’t an option, then it’s time to start a training plan! Don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Why does my dog bark out the window?
The first step is to understand why your dog barks out the window. Your dog isn’t just barking to be annoying. He is raising the alarm that someone is at the house – and he believes that he’s an expert at scaring them away! You and I know that pedestrians keep on walking past your house because they are on a walk, and the UPS carrier leaves after a moment because she has other packages to deliver. But think about it from your dog’s perspective: A person walks near the house, he barks, and the person leaves. Success!
This behavior gets reinforced over and over again. In the current scenario, the reward for your dog barking is that the person eventually leaves after a lot of barking. Therefore, the goal of training will be to interrupt the pattern and end the barking early with a reward from you. Here’s how it works.
How do I stop my dog from barking at the window?
To stop your dog from barking at the window, provide a reward for them after their very first bark. You are going to be thanking your dog for alerting you that there is someone outside, and you’re going to do it immediately so there isn’t a long barking session.
Positive reinforcement is the way your dog learns what behavior you want from them. It is your language for communicating with your dog. Yelling or giving punishments will only scare your dog and cause more confusion. (Read our training philosophy to learn more about positive reinforcement). So, the first thing you need to do is to have some treats ready. The treat should be a special reward, so choose something tasty and have it ready quickly so you don’t have to go looking for them when the barking starts. You can keep some treats in a pocket or treat pouch, or keep a container of treats in the room.
When your dog sees someone outside, they will rush to the window. After their very first bark, you will call them back to you while showing them the treat. When they come away from the window, you give them their treat and shower them with appreciation. You want to make them feel like they’ve done their job. When you give your dog their yummy snack, try to keep them calm by asking them to sit or lie down, and give them plenty of pets and praise.
When you first start, it may take a while to call them away from the window. Keep at it! Training is all about repetition.Your dog will eventually learn that seeing someone out the window means that you are going to give them a treat. Try to intervene sooner and sooner each time until your dog is barking only once and then turning to you to get their reward for a job well done! If you want to teach your dog not to even bark once, you can be extra vigilant and reward them as soon as they look at the person outside, before they ever start barking.
Need extra help? Let us know! We offer private lessons in person and by phone/video, and offer a variety of group training classes. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need help deciding which training class is right for your dog!