Barking at the Television

by Tom
(New Jersey)

Zoe barks at the television when she sees animals or especially other dogs and she knows exactly which commercials have dogs in them just by the sound of the commercial and then she starts jumping and barking at he TV also when we go to bed the TV is closer to the bed and it is worse in the bedroom, she also barks at people on the TV that she doesn't like!

I just can't figure out a solution for this behavior. I got a bark collar and when it is on she jumps and growls but soon as it comes off it's back to normal with the barking!!

What is your suggestion for this behavior?

Editor Suggestions for Training a Dog to Not Bark at a Television

Hi Tom,

Barking at the TV is not uncommon in dogs, especially in high energy breeds like Jack Russell Terriers. Let's break down the behavior and develop a plan to address it.

Understanding the Behavior:
Zoe's barking at the television is likely a reaction to the moving images and sounds of animals and certain people. Her heightened senses enable her to recognize specific commercials or individuals, and she may be responding to them as if they were real threats or objects of interest.

Strategies and Training:
Use Positive Reinforcement: Zoe needs to learn a different way to react to these stimuli. Use treats, praise, or toys to reward her when she remains calm while the TV is on.

Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning: Gradually expose Zoe to the things that trigger her barking at a low level. Play a recording of a commercial with dogs at a low volume while feeding her treats. Over time, increase the volume as she becomes more comfortable.

Teach an Incompatible Behavior: Train Zoe to perform a behavior incompatible with barking, such as lying down on a mat when the TV is on. Reward her when she does this.

Create a Safe Space: If the bedroom situation is more challenging, create a calm space for her away from the TV where she can relax during bedtime.

Avoid Bark Collars: Bark collars might stop the barking but don't address the underlying issue and can create fear or aggression. It's better to focus on training.

Work with a Professional if Needed: If these strategies do not show improvement, consider working with a professional dog behaviorist who can provide personalized, in-home training.

Here is a Training Schedule You Could Follow:

Weeks 1-2: Focus on positive reinforcement and start desensitization at a low level. Practice daily in short sessions (5-10 minutes).

Weeks 3-4: Increase the intensity of desensitization and start teaching the incompatible behavior.

Weeks 5-6: Implement the training in various contexts, including the bedroom, making sure to reward Zoe for calm behavior.

Additional Tips:

Exercise Zoe: A tired dog is often a well-behaved dog. Regular physical and mental stimulation can help her feel more relaxed.

Monitor Progress: Keep a diary of Zoe's reactions to different stimuli and the progress she's making. Adjust the plan accordingly.

Consistency: Make sure all family members are on board with the training plan to maintain consistency.

By understanding the reasons behind Zoe's barking and focusing on positive reinforcement and behavior modification techniques, you should be able to make significant progress in reducing her unwanted behavior.

Please keep us up to date on Zoe's progress.


Editor and Publisher
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