Ever wonder why your dog rushes to the window, barking at sights and 
sounds outside of your home?  Curious why your dog so incessantly 
reminds you every time a stranger or another dog walks by your front 

Believe it or not, wolves bark much less than the domestic dog.  This 
is because barking is a trait that we humans selected for in our dogs!  
So before you place blame on your pooch, understand that we bred this 
into them, actively selecting it for the "watchdog" value that benefited 

It is actually estimated that vocalization makes up for less than 10% 
of a dog's daily communication.  So when they do bark, pay attention, 
because it's definitely for a reason!  A dog's bark is intentional 
communication to his pack, and in the case of vocalizing at a picture 
window, the barking is often a warning to his pack members of potential 
danger.  I frequently interpret barking at a window (or through a fence, 
or at the end of the leash, etc.) as an alert to the pack that someone 
or something is encroaching on the territory.  Basically, your dog is 
saying, "Alert! Alert! Call the pack! There's an intruder approaching 
our den!"  And guess what?  When your dog barks at that passerby, and 
they continue to walk away down the street... your dog only gets 
reinforced for barking, by thinking THAT'S what made them leave their 

I also find that the barrier of the window ("I can see it, but I can't 
get to it!"), creates horrible frustration intolerance in our dogs.  If 
your dog's bark is very high-pitched and rapid, accompanied with 
excitable body language, your dog is probably barking because he 
actually wants to say hello so badly.

But despite knowing why our dogs bark like this, we commonly find it an 
irritable problem behavior, especially for those living in closer 
quarters to others who may not be as understanding of our dog's barking 
(ie: apartment or condo living, close by neighbors, etc.).  So what do 
you do to help curb your dog's bad habit?

I'll start by telling you what NOT to do: yell at your dog to be quiet. 
This is simply barking back at your dog, and will only encourage the 
behavior further.  Loud vocalizations are interpreted by dogs as 
excitable, so do not give your dog any more excuses to think it's okay 
to bark so incessantly.  Besides, calm benevolent leaders do not act out 
of control this way, so why expect your dog to listen when you yourself 
are acting like an ill-behaved puppy?

Instead, act like a pack leader would to cease a barking pack mate:  be 
quiet.  I know it sounds counter-intuative to us humans, but in the dog 
world, a short, low, breathy growl is authoritative and effective.  This 
is believed to stem from the fact that loud, excessive barking can 
attract predators, so instead of barking back to stop barking, this 
quieter communication pattern has evolved.  To discourage the barking 
behavior of your dog, mimic this low, authoritative growl and state a 
command like "Enough" or "Quiet" in a very businesslike and unemotional 
tone.  This will make more sense to your dog naturally, and will be more 
effective than yelling at your dog in frustration.

I find taking the leadership role works best.  I will say very calmly 
to my dogs, "Ok, thank you for letting me know, that's enough now" and 
then re-direct their attention to me in a positive manner.  When they 
cease barking and come to check in with me instead, they receive a treat 
or perhaps some special attention and praise.  In response, they learn 
it's better to alert by coming to me, than it is to bark at the window.

Implementing remote corrections can be helpful, especially when we 
don't have all day, every day to remain vigil over the window in case 
our dog barks.  Try a squirt bottle, or a shaker can perhaps.  Remember 
- every dog responds differently, so aim to find something humane, but 
effective, to startle and interrupt the barking, even if it's only 
momentarily.  It is vital that it must be REMOTE and the dog cannot see 
the tool.  If your dog barks, and you show her the squirt bottle before 
you squirt her, she will only remain quiet when the bottle is present.  
However, if you hide around the corner, and sneak a squirt at her 
whenever she barks, your dog think, "Gee, every time I bark, water falls 
from the sky!", and she will discontinue the behavior whether you OR the 
squirt bottle is present or not!

Solicit a neighbor or friend to walk by your house several times, to 
provoke your dog to bark when you have the time to train her.  Try using 
the interruption tool the MOMENT she starts to bark, then take those 2-3 
seconds of quiet as an opportunity to re-direct your dog's attention to 
you instead.  Re-direct, treat, repeat!

A quiet pack equals a happy household.  And a happy neighborhood too!