Dogs use a variety of vocal expressions to communicate, including barking. How to train a puppy to stop barking is not always easy. People are often happy when their dog barks since it informs them when visitors are approaching their house or when the dog needs or wants anything. However, a dog may sometimes bark excessively. Before you can remedy a barking issue with your dog, you must determine the reason for the barking and why your dog is doing it in the first place. Barking serves a multitude of roles.
A dog may learn to utilize barking to his advantage if it is regularly praised or if it results in him getting what he wants. Each sort of dog barking has a specific purpose for a dog. For instance, dogs who are successful in getting people’s attention often start barking for good things like food, separation anxiety, play, and walks. So that you can stop your dog’s attention-related barking and teach him to do an unwanted behavior—like sit or down—to receive what he wants, it’s crucial to educate your dog to stay silent on command.
Many dog owners can tell why their dog is barking by listening to the bark. For instance, a dog’s bark changes depending on whether he wants to play or enter the house from the yard. It’s essential to figure out why your dog is barking if you want to stop him from doing it. Your dog will need some practice before it becomes less vocal. Unfortunately, expecting a speedy resolution or that your dog completely cease barking is not practical. (Would you anticipate someone to halt all conversation abruptly?) Instead of completely stopping the dog’s barking, your objective should be to reduce it. You should be aware that certain dogs are more likely to bark than others. Additionally, certain breeds have a reputation for barking, and it may be more difficult to reduce barking in family members of these kinds.
How to Deal with Your Dog’s Constant Barking
Finding out what kind of sound your dog emits is the first thing in minimizing its barking. To precisely determine the barking your dog is producing and how to approach the issue, ask yourself the questions below. As you read the following information about the many forms of excessive barking and its treatments, consider your responses to these questions.
- What time and place does the barking happen?
- The barking is directed towards whoever or what?
- What causes the barking—objects, loud noises, animals, or people?
- Your dog is barking. Why?
If the barking is Territorial or Alarm-like
Fear and anticipation of a perceived danger are two common drivers of territorial behavior. Because protecting their territory is so important, many dogs are greatly motivated to bark when they see unfamiliar people or animals approaching close to familiar locations, such as their homes and yards. Due to their high drive, dogs that bark in a territorial manner may disregard unpleasant or punitive reactions from their owners, such as reprimands or screaming. Even if punishment stops your dog from barking, his need to protect his area will remain strong, and he may try to take control of it in other best ways, such as biting without provocation.
Territorial barking is a behavior used by dogs to warn neighbors of guests, frighten off intruders, or both. The mailman carrying the mail, the maintenance worker checking the gas meter, or any individuals approaching the front door may cause a dog to yelp. He could also get agitated by the sights and loud noises of neighbors’ pets and humans. When dogs or humans pass by while in a vehicle, certain dogs get agitated. Your dog’s body language and behavior should allow you to determine if he is barking to welcome people inside. “or “Hey, you best get moving. You’re not permitted in my home! If you’re dealing with a dog in the first group, adhere to the advice for treating greeting barking in this article (below). Limiting your dog’s capacity to see or hear pedestrians and teaching him to link their presence with positive reinforcement, like food and dog attention, can help you cope with a dog in the latter group who isn’t friendly to people.
Your dog’s motivation and possibilities to protect his area should be diminished to treat territorial barking. You must prevent your dog from seeing humans and other animals if you want to control his behavior. Your dog may be able to see locations he monitors and protects from inside your home, but removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings may assist in blocking that view. Use opaque, secure fencing to protect any outside spaces your dog may reach. Don’t let your dog stand at the front entrance, the gate leading into the front yard, or the property border to welcome guests. Train him to a different spot, such as a box or a mat, and wait silently until he is welcomed to meet properly.
Territorial and alarm barking are similar in that they are both sparked by sights and loud noises. However, when they are on unfamiliar ground, dogs that alarm bark may do so in reaction to items that surprise or frighten them. For instance, a dog who barks aggressively when it sees people coming will often only do so while in his own house, yard, or vehicle. On the other hand, a puppy barks regularly in fright may also vocalize when he hears or sees people coming from other locations. Despite the little differences between territorial barking and alarm barking, the following simple solutions work for both issues.
Try the following methods if your dog still barks alarms or marks his territory despite your attempts to keep him from being exposed to sights and loud noises that could make him do so:
- Teach your dog that when someone knocks on the door or drives by, he is welcome to bark until you quiet command him to be quiet. Embrace three to four barks from your dog. Finally, say, “Quiet.” Stop screaming. Just calmly and clearly state the order. Then return to your dog and say “Quiet” while gently holding his snout closed with your palm. Call your dog away from the door or window, let go of his muzzle, and then move away. Next, tell your dog to sit and reward him with a goodie. If he stays by your side and doesn’t start barking, give him often treats for the following several minutes or until the cause of the barking has passed. If your dog starts barking again, immediately away, repeat the previous steps. Repeat the action outdoors if he barks at onlookers while in the yard.
- You may attempt an alternative approach if you’d prefer not to grasp your dog’s muzzle or if doing so appears to frighten him or cause him to resist. When your dog barks, approach him and politely command him to be quiet before rewarding him with a constant stream of little goodies about the size of peas, including pieces of chicken, hot dogs, or cheese, to get him to stop. Your dog will learn what “Quiet” implies after many days or more of crate training sessions and enough repetitions of this sequence. If he regularly stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet,” he’s caught on. Now you may progressively lengthen the interval between the command “Quiet” and the reward for your dog. Say “Quiet,” for instance, wait two seconds, and give your dog a string of little rewards. Increase the duration from 2 seconds to 5, 10, 20, and so forth throughout several repetitions.
- After 10 to 20 tries, if the “Quiet” method doesn’t work, let your dog bark three to four times, then calmly say “Quiet,” and then create a startling noise by shaking a pair of keys or an empty soda have filled with can of pennies. Your dog will cease barking if he is shocked by the noise. When he does, yell at him to come away from the door or window, order him to sit, and then reward him with a treat. If he stays by your side and is silent for the next few minutes, keep rewarding him often with treats until whatever caused him to bark has passed. Repeat the process if he starts barking again, immediately away. Please refer to our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information on how to locate a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorist (Dip ACVB), or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for assistance if this procedure fails after 10 to 20 tries.
- Keep your dog inside during the day and keep an eye on him while he’s outside if he tends to bark territorially in your yard. This will prevent him from barking uncontrollably when no one is around. If he’s sometimes able to indulge in excessive alarm barking (for example, while you’re not present), that habit will intensify and become more difficult to stop.
Your dog is likely barking to say hello if it does so when people or dogs approach the door when they pass by your property when he sees them on walks, or when he sees them over the fence, and if this behavior is followed by whimpering, tail wagging, or other quiet behavior. He probably makes a similar barking noise when family members of the household get home.
- Low-key greetings. Teach your dog to sit and remain when visitors arrive so he won’t bark. His enthusiasm will decrease. First, train him to sit and remain while no one is at the door so he learns the behavior well before guests arrive.
- Keep favorite interactive toys by the front entrance for your dog to pick up before greeting you or visitors. If he can handle chew toys, he’ll bark less. (He’ll complain anyhow.)
- Teach your dog to stroll past people and dogs on walks. Before he barks, distract him with chicken, cheese, or hot dogs. The best is soft, delectable sweets. Hold snacks in front of your dog’s nose and encourage him to munch as he passes a person or dog who would ordinarily make him bark. Some dogs fare better sitting when humans or pets pass. Other dogs move about when your dog doesn’t bark; praise and treat him.
- When your dog barks, a head halter may assist (for example, on walks or in your house). A halter may distract or quiet your dog, reducing barking. Reward his quietness. Only let your dog wear the halter while you can supervise him.
Socially Facilitating Barking
Social dogs bark when they hear others barking dogs. Keep your dog inside while other dogs are barking, play music to block out the sound, and distract your dog with goodies or play when other dogs bark (or on TV).
Frustration or Excitement Barking
Dogs bark when they’re enthusiastic yet can’t obtain what they want. A disappointed dog may bark because he wants to play with street children. A disgruntled dog may bark and chase the dog next door or bark by the patio door while watching a cat or squirrel in his yard. Some excited dogs bark at other dogs on walks to meet and play or at their caregivers to go quicker. Obedience training is the best way to discourage enthusiasm or displeasure in barking. Before hikes, playing with other dogs, or chasing squirrels, educate your dog to wait, sit, and remain. You may require a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for this. Find a CPDT in your region by reading Finding Professional Behavior Help. Motion-activated gadgets may frighten cats and other wildlife out of your yard.
Various technologies help dogs stop barking. When your dog barks, these collars offer an unpleasant stimulus. The stimulus might be a loud noise, ultrasonic sound, citronella mist, or electric shock. Dogs seldom respond to noise-making collars. The citronella collar proved as least as successful as the electronic collar in reducing barking, and owners preferred it. Almost all dogs become “collar-wise,” meaning they stop barking while wearing anti-bark collars but resume when not. Citronella collars that employ a microphone to pick up a dog’s bark should not be used in a multi-dog family.
Anti-bark collars are punishment devices and aren’t suggested for noisy dogs. This is true for fearful, anxious, or compelled barking. Before utilizing an anti-bark collar, consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, board-certified veterinary behaviorist, or Certified Professional Dog Trainer.