It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and it can leave you feeling helpless. No matter how much you plead, beg, or yell, your dog won’t stop barking!
But whether we like it or not, dogs bark to communicate. This natural behavior is their way of greeting you, showing emotions, and even expressing what they want. It only gets worse if your dog barks excessively.
So, what can we do to put an end do it without resulting in painful, cruel collars and other methods? What are some ways to stop dog barking for good without ruining your relationship with your four-legged friend?
Read on for 9 surefire tips to stop dog barking now!
1. Remove the Cause of the Barking
Before you can stop dogs from barking you have to identify what the cause is.
- Why is your dog barking?
- Do they see something out the window?
- Are they afraid of something out of the ordinary like a trashcan that’s been moved?
- Or do they want something?
Your dog usually gets something when they bark, or they wouldn’t even do it. It’s important to figure out why they are barking and stop it as soon as possible.
If your dog is barking at something they see that’s grabbing their attention you can simply remove it from their sight. Close the blinds, make them leave the room, or remove the object completely.
If your dog is barking at traffic on the other side of your fence, bring them inside. If your dog is barking for attention ignore them until they quiet down.
Sight barriers are a great way to manage the environment and eliminate all causes of barking. Try using privacy fencing or screening, as well as privacy hedges to also beautify the bark-proof yard.
Why Dogs Bark
Now that you know how necessary it is to remove the cause of their barking, here are the main reasons why our furry friends love to make some noise:
- Being Territorial. Excessive barking is usually triggered by a person or an animal who comes into an area which your dog considers as theirs. As the threat gets closer, the barking becomes louder.
- Fear. They may also be barking because they feel alarmed or intimidated by a noise, an object, or anything that catches their attention. This can happen not just at home, but anywhere else.
- Boredom or Separation Anxiety. This might just be the worst. Because they are pack animals, dogs can become bored and unhappy when they lack socialization. It can be because they are left for long periods or because they lack exercise.
- Attention seeking. Dogs often bark when they want something, whether it’s going outside or playing with you. It’s usually a happy bark accompanied by tail wags and jumping, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop them from doing so.
- Medical problem. Some sicknesses and pain can cause excessive barking, from bee stings to brain disease. It’s always a good idea to have a pet checked by a veterinarian to be sure there’s no medical reason for a problem
2. Teach Your Dog the “Quiet” Command.
This will sound odd, but when your dog barks, praise him and use a verbal command such as “speak” or “bark” so that he’ll associate barking with the command you give. When your dog understands the cue, ask them to bark on command and give them a treat when they comply.
Then when your dog stops barking, you can give him a different cue such as “quiet.” Once they quit barking, give them a different type of dog training treat. Continue the training until both cues are strong and reinforced.
Another training method you can do is to put your dog in their crate when they are being noisy. Turn your back and ignore them. When they stop barking, turn around and give them a treat.
As soon as they realize that being quiet will get them a treat, lengthen the time they must be silent before being rewarded. Start small by rewarding them for being quiet for just a few seconds, then working up to longer periods of quiet.
Keep it fun by varying the amount of time. Sometimes reward him after 5 seconds, then 12 seconds, then 3 seconds, then 20 seconds, and so on.
Watch this video for a guide on teaching the “quiet” command.
3. Desensitize Your Dog.
Desensitizing your dog is what you’re doing when you’re getting your dog used to whatever it is that’s causing them to bark.
For example, if your dog barks at the mailman, take your dog for walks when the mailman is making his rounds through your neighborhood. This lets your dog get to see the mailman from a different point of view. Instead of seeing him as an intruder, they will view him as a part of the neighborhood’s norms.
Another example is if your dog barks at people outside. In this case, you can sit with your dog and when someone passes by, use your quiet command, then when he’s quiet, give him a treat. Gradually increase the time he must be quiet before giving a treat.
Exercise is the single best thing you can do to stop dogs from barking. Dogs act out when they get bored, whereas a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
The average dog needs about 45 minutes of exercise daily and working breed dogs need more. The amount of time spent on mental and physical stimulation also depends on their breed, age, and health.
To eliminate barking from boredom or frustration, make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise every day.
Doggy daycare is a good alternative if you’re unable to give your dog the daily exercise they need. Another good alternative is hiring a dog walker. Either of these options will help keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated, which will decrease or eliminate their need to bark.
5. Toys and Other Stimulating Games.
Like exercise, bones and toys help stimulate your dog and tire them out. Keeping dogs mentally and physically stimulated as often as possible will help stop dogs from barking.
When choosing toys be sure to pick toys that your dog can’t destroy. The last thing you want is your dog eating little bits of their toys while you’re gone. Safe choices are KONGs or Busy Buddy toys. Fill them with treats to keep your dog too busy to bark!
These toys are a great way to keep them occupied while you’re gone for them to stop getting bored and bark eventually. As a dog guardian, you have to provide more activities and companionship to keep them happy.
What About Bark Collars?
There are products on the market that promise to stop the barking problem. A bark collar can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they are not effective on all dogs.
Citronella-spraying collars sometimes work, but dogs are smart enough to learn to run out of the spray and just bark at will.
Never use muzzles or other means of constraint to keep your dog quiet for long periods because they can be dangerous for your pet.
Diffusers with safe essential oils for dogs can mimic “calming chemicals” given off by female dogs and help soothe their stress. Aromatherapy, even for humans, can reduce anxiety, aggression, as well as overthinking.
Still, you have to keep in mind that pheromones are different from prescribed medications, so don’t fully rely on these cheap alternatives in correcting your dog’s bad behavior.
6. Stay Calm
Think about it. When your dog barks, if your reaction up to this point has always been to get excited and angry while yelling “STOP,” “NO,” “QUIT THAT RIGHT NOW,” and so on, what do you think is going through your dog’s head?
I’ll tell you what, they’re thinking “great, now we’re both barking!” At this point, you’ve lost a handle on your dog and given them control of the situation. Your dog wants to look for you for cues on how to behave, oblige them by remaining calm when they get to barking.
You can then calmly apply the other methods we’ve gone over such as distracting them with a toy or using your quiet command. Of course, these are more immediate solutions but do not address the ultimate issue of your dog not always respecting your leadership.
Yelling at your dog to be quiet only sounds like you’re barking and making noise along with them. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of training them on how to stop barking.
Another thing you can do to stay calm is to simply ignore the barking. That means don’t give them any attention at all.
This method will require you a lot of patience. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough, you’ll give him attention.
Yelling at your dog only gives them the attention they want. They will think that you’re tolerating their actions. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When they finally get the message to stop, give them a treat.
7. Be the Pack Leader
It’s really very simple. When your dog feels like they must protect you, you will have a difficult time stopping their barking. Dogs that bark constantly no matter what you try to have a control issue. Simply put, they see themselves as leader of your pack, rather than you.
Establish yourself as the pack leader, and both you and your dog will be happier. Your dog will no longer feel that is necessary for them to protect you at all times, and will listen to and obey your commands.
This video series from a trainer named Dan covers how to firmly establish yourself as head of the pack, and finally put an end to behavioral issues such as incessant barking, biting potty accidents, and more. You can start watching now by clicking here.
8. Ask Your Dog for an Incompatible Behavior
To stop the annoying barking, you can also try to ask your dog to do something completely unrelated or incompatible with the bark. Teach your dog to react to a stimulus with something that prevents barking, such as lying down or letting go to their bed.
9. Go to the Vet
Be sure there are no physical or psychological issues causing the behavior. If your puppy is frightened, in pain, or feeling ill, they may well whine or bark.
Immediately go to the veterinarian in case you notice something unusual with their behavior or body. Also, be sure you’ve taken care of any environmental or health issues that could stand between your pup and good behavior.
A Quick Rundown on Ways to Stop Dog Barking!
Barking is a normal behavior in dogs as it is one of their limited ways to communicate with people and other animals. However, it becomes a bad habit when the noise gets excessive and unnecessary.
From removing the cause of their noise to asserting yourself as the pack leader, these nine tips will help prevent and stop the frustrating barks. The techniques require an investment of time and consistency.
However, because each pup is different, not all nine tips will work for each one. Make sure to experiment with what makes them obey you more. And if you haven’t seen improvement in weeks, try a different approach like working with a professional dog trainer!
Or you can sign up for an online dog training course right now.