Barking At The Window - Dog Training and Behaviour
Updated: Jul 9
Almost anyone who owns a dog knows the situation: You’re sitting at home reading a book or watching TV, fully relaxed and settled when suddenly your dog gives off rapid, loud, and surprising barks! You jump out of your skin, and your dog flies to the nearest door or window! There goes the peace and quiet, and we now have a stressed and pent-up dog. It’s important that we understand what is happening and how to prevent the barking , not just for our sanity, but for our dogs too.
Why Is This Happening?!
There are a few elements to this, so here are some factors below:
Boredom! If there’s nothing else to do, we put the TV on and watch it. Our dogs do the same. The window is their TV. If we have dogs that usually chase or bark at outside triggers e.g. prey, they will also be getting an interactive element too! Dogs need a lot more mental enrichment than we often provide. Without this, they resort to entertaining themselves!
Fear – If your dog is quite nervous of people/dogs/traffic etc, they may be carrying this fear with them even when in the home. A dog in pain may also show fearful behaviours like barking at triggers when they pass the house.
Barrier Frustration – This can be due to fear or excitement, but the window becomes a barrier, so your dog becomes frustrated that they can’t just get to the person/dog/etc outside.
Management Is Key!
Now we understand why, we can start to provide the specific help they need. The first thing to consider is what management have we got in place? We all live busy lives, and this can get in the way of training and behaviour work. Management is a perfect way of ensuring the behaviour doesn’t get practised in between sessions.
Provide more enrichment – things such as Kongs, Licki Matts, natural chews, and snuffle mats can provide this. Play with your dog for 5-10 mins throughout the day. For an even more enriching time, look into ACE Freework by Sarah Fisher!
Put up a window film to block views to the outside world, but allowing light to still come in. This will prevent your dog from barking when you are unable to find time to train (especially if you have a busy life!)
You can teach your dog to love the crate to keep them away from the window when you’re not around. You could also teach ‘place’ or ‘settle’ while you’re home to help remove your dog from the area.
Consider putting a radio on or the TV to block out noises that may encourage your dog to stand at the window.
Finally, prevent access! If your dog barks at the window, especially due to fear or frustration, ensure their bed is away from the window or even consider moving the sofa away from the window.
How To Stop Your Dog Barking At The Window!
Now we’ve got all the measures in place, it’s time to help our dogs overcome the issue. When you have a spare 5 mins to do some dog training, grab some high value treats and sit by the window with your dog:
When you see your dog look at something they would normally respond to, say “yes!” or “good!” and feed them the treats. You can toss them on the floor or feed to mouth, whatever your dog prefers!
Repeat, repeat, repeat! Each time a trigger walks past (whatever your dog chooses to bark at), follow the step above.
Soon, your dog will start to look at you as soon as they see the trigger, and before you have a chance to say “yes!” – fantastic! You can now reward your dog for their choice to disengage.
Over time, you can incorporate physical/verbal or toy rewards so that you don’t have to keep delivering treats. You can also incorporate your ‘place’ or ‘settle’ into this so your dog actively chooses to move away and relax.