Generally this barking is a result of extreme happiness or the anticipation that something wonderful is about to happen. This bark is a constant high frequency sound accompanied by jumping, spinning, whining or other vocalization. An example is the situation where your dog sees that you are getting ready to take him outside for a walk. He goes ballistic but quiets down once the leash is on and he is on the other side of the door. As a training technique try this – go through the motions that you are going outside. When you get to the door, wait for a few seconds, then turn around and take the leash off, take off your coat, etc. and resume some other task. Repeat several times and when the dog is quiet at the door, take the dog for a great walk or some good play time. The reward is getting through the door so no need for the clicker or food. It is important during the training session that you remain calm and quiet. I recommend adding a hand signal to the process to signal the dog to be quiet. As you know, when the dog is exhibiting all the excitement behavior he knows he will not hear you. The dog will more readily obey a hand signal. No yanking on the leash, no yelling, etc. Your calm demeanor will speak volumes. Any kind of attention – talking to the dog, touching the dog or even just looking at the dog may be viewed as a reward by the dog. However, this does not mean you ignore a happy dog. You want him to exhibit acceptable behaviors and to completely ignore the dog will only frustrate him further. Keeping your emotions neutral is important.
Teaching a dog to wait at a door is good for safety’s sake. After the dog has learned that being quiet will get him the reward he wants it’s time to add the “wait” command at any door – including the car door. This is easily accomplished by having the dog on a leash, asked to be in a sit position and to wait while the door is opened and he is given your release word. If, when you put your hand on the door knob, he stands up and wants to paw at the door, simply close the door, repeat the command and try again. Once his butt remains on the floor for a least a second or two, open the door and let him go through. Once he gets the hang of it his wait time will be as long as you want it to be. You do not have to be the first one through the door. He will not take on the alpha role if he goes through the door first! In fact, I prefer the dog goes through the door first so I know where he is and there is no danger of him pushing against me and whizzing past me. For me, it is just safer to let him go through the door first and continue on with whatever activity we had planned.
More about excitement barking tomorrow to include, barking in the car, barking at guests, stress barking. Talk to you then.