My Doberman continuously barks/jumps/bangs at the fence, anytime of the day or night when he ears a noise outside the fence, if he sees a bird or if our neighbour pops his head over our fence. Can we stop him?

Excessive barking is a really common problem in dogs. You can certainly stop him exhibiting these behaviours, but I won’t sugar coat it- it’s going to take some work.

Firstly, we want to know WHY he’s barking. Is he protecting his territory? Is he fearful? Is he anxious? Is he bored?

Treatments that work are based on working out the underlying problem, together with concentrating on positive rewards for the behaviours that you actually want (i.e. not to be barking/jumping/banging at the fence at every opportunity) The reward for being quiet has to be better than their perceived reward for barking.

Punishment is not effective!

In the short term, he should not be outside alone. If he is allowed to continue the behaviour it continually reinforces that it is ok, and leads to a habit. He needs to be watched and brought inside at the first sign of aggressive barking. A way to facilitate this is to use a head collar and leash.

Only interact with him in a positive manner and set up situations so that he will want to do as you ask.

It sounds like he needs general training and improvement of his recall etc, a health check to ensure there’s no underlying health problem, and an effort to improve his surrounds – i.e. making sure he is not bored, is exercised outside the house once or twice daily, stimulated by slow feeders and toys etc.

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Chat soon,

Dr Claire