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How I Stopped My Dog From Barking at the TV

Does your dog bark at the TV? Do they get angry when they see or hear an animal on the screen? I just thought my dog ​​was weird when she did it, but it’s actually a common problem.

Over the years I have received quite a few emails asking for help on this topic. So guess what? Today we’re going to talk about how to stop your dog from barking and lunging at the TV.

Before Laika, none of my dogs ever showed much interest in what I was watching or listening to. But like many other situations, Laika tends to handle things a little differently.

Whether it’s a dog barking on TV or a shot of a fox hunting in the snow, it will get a response from her. She doesn’t just bark – she whines, she grumbles and she gets up to investigate. If it’s something she really finds interesting (squirrels), she won’t just bark at the TV, she’ll jump up and start bumping her nose on it.

Her barking and lunging at the TV made me realize that 1.) I needed to find a way to keep her calm and 2.) I watch a lot more TV shows with animals than I thought. I haven’t stopped watching my pet shows, but I have discovered how to keep my dog ​​from going crazy over them. This is how I stopped my dog ​​from barking at the TV.

Why do dogs bark at the TV?

All dogs are different, and that includes what, where, when, how and why dogs bark at certain things – including the TV. Dogs are attracted to things that move, and seeing animals on screen is something that piques the interest of many dogs.

Why do some dogs bark at the TV while others ignore it? Some dogs bark at the TV out of excitement, some do it in response to certain images or sounds, some do it out of frustration and some do it out of stress and/or fear.

With Laika it was a combination of all these factors, and without my intervention it happened more and more often and the intensity got worse. Her general excitement about anything moving on TV turned to frustration. She saw all these animals having fun and doing exciting things in her own living room, but she couldn’t participate or even smell them. When she got so upset, I knew I had to find a way to stop it.

How I stopped my dog ​​from barking at the TV

This is Laika, and she likes to bark and nudge at any mammal that moves on TV.

How to stop your dog from barking at the TV

If you want to stop your dog from barking at the TV, you first need to watch some videos that will provoke a response from him. I used this for this Paul Dinning Videos. They’re great for this method (as long as your dog responds to birds and squirrels) because they’re high quality and get straight to the point: they show nothing other than animals moving around on the screen.

That means you don’t have to watch a commercial or watch five minutes of a wildlife documentary crew setting up their gear before you get a response from your dog. As soon as you press play on those videos, that’s it.

The second thing you need is a lot of tasty treats. These are used to keep your dog’s attention when all that crazy stuff is happening on the TV.

Now that you’ve got some videos lined up and some goodies in hand, it’s time to get started. Sit in front of the TV with your dog and play one of the videos. I would start with a response that you suspect will only elicit a mild reaction from your dog. I used the bird videos first; they are interesting enough to get my dog ​​to get up and explore, but they don’t turn her intensity up to 100% right away.

As the video plays, watch how your dog reacts. Are they interested in those birds? Do they get excited? Are they barking? Has your dog already jumped off the couch and lunged for the TV? Observe their reactions so you can predict when they will respond.

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of when your dog is going to react, it’s time to intervene before that happens. Give them a treat before they get too excited, and tell them how good they are while they quietly watch all those birds. Giving your dog a treat while he watches TV lets him know he’s making the right decision, and doing this repeatedly will reinforce that behavior.

It may seem very simplistic, but what you are teaching your dog is that staying calm while watching TV is a positive experience, and one that makes him feel good.

Every time Laika got a little excited watching a video, I would tell her to “leave it alone” and give her a treat. If she started complaining at the TV, I would tell her to “be quiet” and give her a treat. Over time, she began to react less to things on TV, and eventually she was able to remain reliably calm.

Starting with a video that gets only a mild reaction from your dog is key; if you choose one that immediately causes them to fly into a rage, it will be difficult to calm them down again. And when dogs get so excited (often called over-the-threshold), it’s almost impossible for them to learn anything.

After teaching your dog to stay calm while watching the first video, it’s time to move on to video number two. Use the same method you used for video one (reward your dog for staying calm and quiet before he gets too excited), and repeat as many times as necessary until you’re confident your dog can handle it without being overly excited To hit.

The trick is to slowly build up their tolerance for all the crazy things that happen on TV, without making them so angry that they can no longer listen and learn. After your dog learns to stay calm while watching birds, you will find it easier to keep him calm while watching things like squirrels and cats.

TLDR version

That’s a lot of words for a pretty basic concept, I know. I am aware that I have a tendency to over-explain things. If you’re just here to stop your dog from barking at the TV, here’s the short version:

  • Find some videos of your dog barking
  • Grab something tasty
  • Sit down with your dog and watch the videos
  • Give your dog treats for they start barking
  • Rinse and repeat

The concept is to change your dog’s emotional response to the TV from excitement to calmness, and you can do that by rewarding your dog’s calm behavior with treats.

For best results, I recommend starting with a video that elicits a mild reaction from your dog and then working your way up to the videos that drive him crazy. Once your dog has some control over his impulse to bark at anything on the screen that moves, it will be easier to work on videos that really excite your dog.

Does your dog bark at the TV?

Does your dog bark at the TV? What kind of videos have them confused? Do you think your dog is doing it out of excitement or frustration? What methods have you used to keep your dog calm while you watch TV?

Resources and recommended reading

The method I used to stop my dog ​​from barking at the TV is called counterconditioning and desensitization. It’s a mouthful, I know, but it’s a method that works extremely well for many dog ​​problems ranging from reactivity to separation anxiety. It’s the process of changing your dog’s emotional response to a particular stimulus or stressor (in this case, the TV).

It’s a great concept that all dog owners can understand because it can be used in such a wide variety of situations. To learn more about counterconditioning and desensitization (and why it works so well), I recommend watching the following video and articles:

How to stop your dog from barking at the TV

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