Barking for dogs is a totally natural behavior. It is their form of communication and it is not reasonable for us to expect them to never bark. However, inappropriate barking can be controlled to a certain degree. Your goal is to try to teach your dog when it is appropriate to bark, and reward him for being quiet.
So, how to stop your dog from barking inappropriately?
8 Tips to Stop Your Dog from Barking
- All dogs bark. It is just a fact of life that all dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Some dogs bark to get attention, some because they are bored, some out of anxiety, and some because they are excited. Before you begin your “stop your dog from barking” training, it is important to figure out why he is barking in the first place and identify his triggers.
- You can modify or correct your dog’s barking behavior. Just because you can’t (and shouldn’t) teach your dog to never bark, you can modify his excessive and inappropriate barking behavior or teach him to stop barking on command.
To do this, you are first going to teach him a “bark” command. Tell him to “Speak” and when he barks, reward him with a tasty morsel. Once he gets the idea that when he barks when you say “Speak” he gets a tasty treat, he will be ready to learn the “Quiet” command.
Be sure and teach the “Quiet” command in a distraction free environment. Give him the command to “Speak”. When he starts to bark, say, “Quiet” and as soon as he quits barking, give him praise and a treat.
Once your dog can stop barking using the “Quiet” command in a distraction free environment, it’s time to start slowly introducing distractions into his world. Find a mild trigger that causes your dog to bark. Give the “Quiet” command and as soon as he quiets, reward with praise and treats. Practice this until he’s good at it. Continue to increase the distraction level and challenge him further. Be sure he can “pass” each level before moving on to the next harder task.
Example: Your dog barks wildly at someone coming onto his property.
After you have taught your dog the “Quiet” command with ever increasing stimulating events, you will be able to say “Quiet” when the postman, UPS, or the neighbor children are coming by.
- Understand why your dog is barking. A lot of barking is in response to a perceived threat. When another animal or person enters the dog’s perceived territory, he may bark as a warning.
If your dog barks excitedly whenever he sees you, you must understand that this is because his dog needs are not being met. He has probably been lonely and bored and this is his way of letting you know. His energy has built up all day and barking in this manner is a way of burning off the excess energy.
- Remove temptations and triggers. If your dog’s excessive barking is triggered by him being able to see other dogs walk past the house or into the yard, close the blinds so your dog can’t see out the front window. Put barriers in his way that he can’t see around or get on top of.
- Distract your dog to get him to stop. Making a loud noise or throwing a toy for him to retrieve to get your dog’s attention may be effective as a temporary means of getting him to stop barking.
You can also ask him to do something he doesn’t associate with barking such as laying down on his bed.
You can also designate a specific area for him to be when people come to the door. After he has done his job by letting you know someone has arrived, give him a command such as, “Go to your place.” There, he must sit and remain quiet until you release him.
Practice this technique incorporating the “Quiet” command mentioned above.
First teach him where his designated spot is. Teach him to “sit” and “quiet” in this spot (be consistent with this). When he can do this on command without any distractions, have a helper be a visitor and knock on the door. After your dog has appropriately alerted you to the visitor, give him the command to “Go to your place.” He should go and sit. Hopefully he will also be quiet, but if not, give the “Quiet” command. Answer the door. If he gets up, have the person close the door immediately and repeat the process. Stay calm and be patient.
- Do not keep your dog confined for too long. Many people who have trouble with dogs that bark excessively are those who keep their dogs outside all day long. Dogs require human interaction, and if they don’t get it, they may develop problem behaviors.
Provide your dog with human interaction at unscheduled times. By doing this, he will not anticipate your arrival and, thereby, giving him another reason to bark.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise. Dogs that do not receive enough exercise throughout the day may become bored or hyperactive, which could also lead to excessive barking or other problem behaviors.
If you have a working dog such as a Border Collie or Jack Russell terrier, they will need a lot of exercise to stave off boredom. They are smart dogs and will find ways, inappropriate ways to entertain themselves. Excessive barking is just one of those ways.
However, every breed of dog needs a certain amount of exercise on a daily basis. Not only is it good for their mental and physical state, it’s good for ours as well. Just letting them run around in the yard by themselves is not good enough. They need to be on a leash and walked by you, preferably 30 to 40 minutes a day (twice a day if you can). The goal here is to give them a way to expend their energy so they aren’t as likely to want to bark at everything under the sun. They will be too tired.
- Do not yell at your dog for barking. Not only is this an ineffective method to getting your dog to be quiet, but also it doesn’t do anything to solve the problem itself. Your dog will simply start barking again later. He also may think you’re joining in with him
The Bottom Line
By providing you dog with the attention and exercise his needs, you will be fulfilling his needs. This will help to decrease annoying barking greatly.
And by teaching him the “Speak” and “Quiet” command, you will be teaching him when it is appropriate and not to bark.
Discover the 10 most common dog obedience problems owners create by themselves, and the exact methods you should use instead.