My service dog in training will occasionally bark

So I've been training my dog to be my service dog for psychiatric needs. She is certified as an ESA and I have a doctors note - however she sometimes barks. Not excessively, but she will hear something and almost like she's startled or trying to protect me she will bark. She is hyper alert and sensitive which helps me in my needs, but when it comes to a small knock or hearing another dog or even noises I can't hear she'll do small "ruffs" its hard to describe. But not barks, but blowing air through her nose loudly. If I can't calm her down she might let out one loud bark. Sometimes she immediately barks which startles me more than I can handle. Its hard to teach her to bark on command and then quiet because its not excessive (except at home when we have visitors or when we leave her in the car alone) she does it randomly and I have anxiety and this increases my anxiety a lot. If she's with me in public I'm crossing my fingers that she won't bark, and I shouldn't have to worry about that. Please - I really want her to be able to accompany me to places because when she is calm and paying attention to me she helps me - its literally the barking that I am just at the end of my rope with and why I don't take her with me to places. Should I teach her to speak and then quiet? Should she wear a bark collar (except that gives her a few barks and I can't have that) - I need her to realize that when she's wearing her vest - there is no barking or even "ruffing." She needs to be 100% quiet. I don't know if this is even possible, but she is a very smart dog and Id be willing to work with her, I just want to make sure Im doing the right thing. My goal is to bring her with me to college in a couple years, so I'd like to get this under control - but Ive tried the bark collar. I've tried teacher her to speak - but if thats your suggestion I can try to teach her to speak for me more than I have put time in. (I feel contradictory teaching her to speak because it seems Im rewarding her for behavior I don't want.) She's smart and she knows she's not supposed to bark, it almost seems like she startles herself when she barks. Even with being strict with her and telling her "quiet" its really frustrating and Ive started giving up hope that she will be able to be accompany me as my service dog. Any suggestions?

What I’ve Tried…

Bark collar but she got freaked by it and my mom refuses to put it back on her, sort of tried to get her to "speak" (could work on that more) trying to just tell her quiet and praising her for quiet behavior.
Tags barking
posted on April 19, 2017

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