Fox Terriers can be barkers. They are very alert and if they see something in the yard or in the street they often feel they have to tell you about it. You most likely will not teach them not to bark, but you can make changes in their environment that will help keep things quieter. If you feel that your dog is barking too much or at inappropriate times, then first you must figure out what he is barking at and why.
Fox Terriers left alone, especially young ones, are going to get bored very quickly. If you work full time and no one is at home, you need to find ways to keep a Fox Terrier happy. If you are leaving him outdoors all day, he will hear all the sounds of the neighborhood. In a quiet neighborhood this is fine, and he may be quiet all day. But if there are people coming and going, other dogs barking, kids playing, your dog is going to bark!
The more bored he is, the worse he is going to be. To have a quiet dog and happy neighbors, you must find a way to keep him busy and contented. Toys can help, especially toys that he has to work with to get what he wants. Big beef leg bones that are filled with peanut butter will usually do fine. You can buy them already filled or do it yourself. When your dog has to work to get the peanut butter out he can be kept busy – and happy – for hours. Raw beef bones with the marrow in them are also great for keeping your dog busy.
If you have a dependable neighbor that can come over during the day and spend some time playing with him, that can make a big difference. Be careful about the teenager who doesn’t understand the seriousness of not letting him get loose. Coming through a gate, your dog can get loose and be hit by a car. Make sure that the person is reliable!
You can also contact a local boarding kennel and see if they have day-care. Just like for children, day-care is available for dogs. You would drop your dog off on the way to work and pick them up after work. It can be great for the bored Fox Terrier, but again be sure that the kennel owner and staff understand the nature of the Fox Terrier. If your dog is dog aggressive, this will not work.
If you can’t do any of these things, then you need to be sure that you personally give your dog lots of attention when you get home. They have an inner time clock and know EXACTLY when you are due home. They will look forward to this special time with you. You will also have to get up a bit earlier in the morning and be sure that you have been able to run/play with your dog before leaving. If he is tired out, he’s not as likely to run and bark in the yard or cause havoc in the house.
You can also keep him in the house, especially if the weather is hot or cold. If he is fairly dependable, leave him loose in a secured part of the house. The family room or kitchen work well. Be sure that you have put away things that he might play with. An exercise pen works well if you cannot keep him confined to a section of your home. Many people use dog crates/cages and these do work. But if you leave a Fox Terrier in a crate for 8 to 10 hours a day, he will only be worse. And he will be miserable! That’s just no life for any dog, but especially an active Fox Terrier.
Another time that your Fox Terrier may be barking a lot is when he is playing, with you or with another dog. Fox Terriers usually love toys, balls, and garden hoses! Water! – the true joy of many Fox Terriers. Some dogs will get so excited playing with their ball that they just start barking and will not stop. They are just like many children. Few groups of 3-year-olds play quietly! So if you are playing with your dog then show some respect for your neighbors and don’t let him bark non-stop for hours. Fox Terriers have such a strong prey drive that they often just can’t keep quiet when they are going after the ball or the hose. So only play this way for a short time, and then stop. Fox Terriers in general are going to be mouthy. They have things to say.
Some can be trained to an extent, when they are young, to not bark as much. But simply – barking just goes with the breed. If you are playing with your dog and he is barking, you can stop the play until he quiets down. This lets him know that you don’t want him barking. Show him other things to do to get your attention. Much of the barking is attention-getting behavior, so show him other ways to get your attention.
If you have tried everything else and your dog is barking all the time and you can’t get him to stop, then you can consider surgical debarking. You must find a vet that specializes in this procedure. It is not harmful to the dog, but it is permanent. You don’t want a total debarking, so that the dog can’t make any sound, you want a partial debark, so that he can still make noise, but just much softer. As scar tissue can build up from this procedure, you want to be sure that you only use a vet with experience in doing debarking. Your dog will feel fine immediately, but you’ll have to keep him quiet for a couple of days. We don’t suggest this as a first line method, but if you have tried everything else and nothing works, then this is far better than the dog losing his home or dying.
Remember that barking is your dog’s way of communicating with you and others. It can be from boredom, or just the sheer joy of having fun. He will always bark some, it’s just that you must try and keep him from barking too much.
Keep in mind what your dog is thinking about when he is barking and work from that point of view. Be patient! Nothing happens quickly. Praise him when he is quiet and give him tons of attention and love.