A birdhouse in your backyard provides shelter to birds whenever the weather turns cold and rainy, and provides you with hours of enjoyable and relaxing birdwatching. But this peaceful avian sanctuary can be disrupted by a dog that happens to love barking at birds! Here are some tips you can use to help curb your dog's obsession with your feathered visitors and restore peace in the yard.
Tip #1 - Take your dog outside so he can clearly see the birdhouse. Keep him at a safe distance so his presence doesn't prevent birds from visiting. If he starts barking at birds, use the clicker to break his concentration. Sometimes a dog will become fixated on his "prey," so breaking his concentration is an important first step. As soon as he stops barking, reward him with a treat.
Tip #2 - Play a game of toss-and-retrieve with your dog while birds are in and around the birdhouse. This will give him something else to concentrate on rather than the birds, and because he's getting attention from you, he will be more likely to disregard them. Playing with him regularly like this will help him recognize the birds as a normal part of the scenery rather than prey.
Tip #3 - Apply a dog harness to your dog's head if he is really having a hard time ignoring the birds. The harness will allow him to drink and breathe, but it won't allow his mouth to open wide enough for him to bark. After a few moments, take the harness off him. If he barks, tell him no and put it back on again for a little while. Continue this process until he realizes that he has to keep quiet in order to keep the harness off.
Tip #4 - Install a bark-control device in your backyard near your other birdhouse. These devices emit ultrasonic waves when a dog barks, so should your dog bark at the birds, his sensitive hearing will pick up the noise and the sound will compel him to stop barking. Eventually he will realize that barking at the birdhouse hurts his ears and he will be less likely to do it.
Caution - Never yell at or scold your dog for barking. It is natural for him to bark and beyond that, he may think that you are barking back at him and this will only cause him to bark more.
By Dave Donovan
About the Author
Based in Atco, NJ, Dave Donovan has been a full-time writer for over five years. His articles are featured on hundreds of websites, and have landed him in two nationally published books "If I Had a Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects" by Andrea Ridout and "How to Cheat at Home Repair" by Jeff Brendenberg.