Does your dog bark at the TV? Are they irritated when they see or hear animals on the screen? I thought my dog was a bit weird when doing this, but it turned out to be a very common problem. In the past few years, I have received a lot of emails on this topic, asking for help. So guess what? Today we are going to talk about how to stop your dog from barking and sprinting in front of the TV.
Why do some dogs bark at the TV and some ignore it? Some dogs bark at the TV because of excitement, some are responding to certain sights or sounds, some are frustrated, and some are stress and/or fear.
Lycra is a combination of all these factors. Without my intervention, it started to happen more frequently and the intensity became worse. Her general excitement about anything happening on TV turned into frustration. She saw all these animals having fun and doing exciting things in her own living room, but she could not join in, or even smell them. When she started to feel upset, I knew I had to find a way to stop it.
How to stop your dog from barking in front of the TV
When it comes to preventing your dog from barking at the TV, the first thing you need is a set of videos that will cause them to react. For this, I used these Paul Dinning videos. They are perfect for this method (as long as your dog responds to birds and squirrels) because they are high quality and straightforward-they only show animals moving on the screen.
This means that you don’t need to watch commercials or watch nature documentaries for 5 minutes set by the staff before getting your dog’s response. Once you click to play these videos, it's time to play them.
The second thing you need is a bunch of delicious food. When all these crazy things start to happen on TV, these will be used to keep your dog's attention.
Now that you have compiled some videos and prepared snacks, it's time to start. Sit in front of the TV with your dog and start playing one of the videos. I will start with the one you suspect will only cause a mild reaction from your dog. I first used bird videos; they were funny enough to make my dog stand up and investigate, but they didn’t immediately set her intensity to 100%.
When playing the video, pay attention to how your dog reacts. Are they interested in those birds? Are they getting excited? Are they barking? Has your dog jumped off the sofa and started to watch TV? Observe their reactions so that you can predict when they will react.
Now that you know exactly when your dog will respond, it is time to intervene before this happens. Give them a treat before they get too excited and tell them how good they are, because they calmly watch all these little birds. Give your dogs snacks while watching TV to let them know that they have made the right decision. Doing so repeatedly will help reinforce this behavior.
This may seem very simple, but it is a positive experience that you teach your dog to stay calm while watching TV and make them feel good.
Every time Lycra started to get a little excited while watching the video, I would tell her to "leave it" and give her a gift. When she started grumbling on the TV, I would tell her to "be quiet" and give her a treat. Over time, she started to react less to things on TV, and eventually she was able to remain calm reliably.
Starting with a video that only gets your dog's slight reaction is the key; if you choose someone who makes them immediately irritated, it will be difficult for them to calm down. When dogs become so excited (often referred to as exceeding the threshold), it is almost impossible for them to learn anything.
After you teach your dog to stay calm while watching the first video, it's time to move on to the second video. Use the same method as in video one (reward your dog to stay calm and quiet before they become too excited) and repeat as many times as necessary until you are sure that your dog can handle it without being too excited.
The trick is to slowly build their tolerance for all the crazy things that happen on TV without making them too excited to listen and learn. After your dog learns how to stay calm when watching birds, you will find it easier to keep them calm when watching animals such as squirrels and cats.
That’s an awful lot of words for a fairly basic concept, I know. I’m well 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: