Carrie likes to bark at things and Nancy would like to get that under control. Here are five steps I am recommending for reduced barking.
Step One - Identify what causes Carrie to bark. We have found it to be the television, noises she hears, things she sees when she is on a walk.
Step Two - Identify what you can do to manage the situation. "Managing" is all about controlling the environment so the dog is not exposed to those things that make her bark. Turn the television off. Divert away from triggers while on a walk. Have guests text when they arrive instead of ring the doorbell. Close the curtains or use a barricade to give the dog more distance from the windows. Managing the situation is critical when you are not with the dog. If Carrie is barking at things while Nancy is not home, she continues to practice the barking. And, as we all know, practice makes perfect!
Step Three - Change Carrie's reactive response to a different response at an emotional level. We have determined that Carrie really likes chicken. Every time Carrie sees a dog on television or hears the doorbell, drop her a piece of chicken. Repeat, repeat, repeat until Carrie begins to expect the piece of chicken. Yes, she will still bark, but when she turns to you for chicken afterward is the sign that we are ready to move onto Step Four.
Step Four - When Carrie barks, wait for her to look at you before dropping her the piece of chicken. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Step Five - Add in a hand touch before giving the chicken. When Carrie barks, wait for her to look at you, offer your flat hand and wait for her to touch your hand (taught separately before introducing it during barking sessions). Then give her the chicken. You can gradually add more into this sequence such as a hand touch, then a sit, then toss a squeak toy or give a piece of chicken. Switch it up. Make it fun and unpredictable.
Yah, there are a lot of variables that can happen each time Carrie barks. But this is a start and it is rather difficult to cover every possible scenario in a blog post. :)