I agree with Corey and Holly's mom. We use(d) the squirt bottle with a splash of vinegar. He's much much better now! If he starts yapping for no reason, we just show him the squirt bottle and he hushes up.
If he barks because of a stranger at the door, though, I do thank him before hushing him. He's just doing what he was made to do in that case. Such a good little watchdog!
Well...here comes the trainer in me. (And Sam I know you're out there. Feel free to join in!) It is not uncommon for herding breeds to bark. And dogs easily teach themselves and reinforce the behavior. They start out barking at someone walking across the yard and next thing you know, they're barking at leaves and bugs and all sorts of things!
Even though the water bottle (and please don't use vinegar...if you accidently get it in their eyes or mouth, it stings) is initially effective, you have to use it on a regular basis to maintain the correction. It's best to teach your dog a "quiet" command. When your dog barks, get their attention and say "quiet" using a "safe at home" type of baseball sign. When your dog stops barking, wait just a second and reward. By waiting just a moment, your dog will associate the treat with being quiet, not being noisy.
You can use a "shhh!" sound when you give the command, as well. That can get their attention. By using "quiet" you can teach your dog when to bark and when to hush.
My Callie has a bit of an attitude and we have tried the use of quiet and shh but she likes to sass back and well she barks more and more. She is trying to challenge dominance too. We have to put her into a sort of headlock that our vet taught us. It causes no harm to them you just put your hand on the back of their neck and put your other had around their mouth and keep it there until they settle some, it did wonders for my previous dog who was a beagle. (You don't even need to apply much pressure, just enough to hold them still.) It has worked some with Callie, my challenge is that I had surgery on my foot and can't get up to do that. It also asserts dominance which helps. I am still working with Callie on this and she barks more than my beagle did. I hope this made sense, I am a little loopy from surgery still!
Haha, Lily and Izzie both sass back at us. My dad got in a growling match with Lily one night where Lily would bark and my dad would gruff back and it went on and one as each got a little quieter until it was just a little "brruff" from both of them. LOL
Water bottle.....spray bottles dont do anything! Lance just thinks when you squirt a spray bottle it is for him to take a drink, lol. Water bottles do work. Gets their attention. I just used that water bottle on him when I took him for a walk, two dogs were across the street, and he goes crazy cause he wants to play so bad, but not at the expense of losing my hand, so without thinking I grabbed the water bottle and gave him a squirt...out of a 25 oz. bottle, it got his attention and distracted him, Yeah!
From that day on I never leave the house without it! Water bottles unfortunately are too messy for inside the house, darn!
bunni likes to sit perched on a little foot couch my mom placed for her so she can look outside the window and bark at things. We've taught her to do a quiet bark. We say "whisper" or "how" (that's what it sounds like) and she'll do her little "how" whisper bark.
it's worked so far when she's too loud...if all else fails, we yell "muzzle!" and she gets real quiet.
Whenever my pup would bark at another dog (he only barks at dogs), I would turn him around (away from the "cause" of the barking) and put him between my legs and hold him there for 30 seconds. I kept doing that and would do that the instant he barked. I think he got the message and it has really cut his barking down a lot.