The harsh reality is – dogs bark! As a dog owner, you do not want to stop your dog barking at everything. However, you do want to stop him from excessively barking.
There’s a lot of different reasons your dog could bark. He may be barking during playtime, or when excited. He could be alerting another animal they’re in his territory. And, canines often bark for no reason whatsoever.
Whatever the cause, a dog that barks all of the time may cause you to quickly fall out with your neighbors. It might also lead to local authorities making an unwelcome visit.
How do you stop a dog from excessively barking?
Don’t Encourage Them
Surprisingly, the most common reason why dogs bark, is the fact that their owners encourage them to do so. “But, I would never do that..”, chances are, you do, and you don’t even know it.
When your dog is barking, do you ever yell at them to stop?
DONT. Yelling at them will only make them think that you are joining in with them. By doing this, your dog will get the attention they crave and possibly make them bark even more.
Always use a calm voice when talking to your dog.
Another way you may be encouraging them when you let them outside in the garden for some exercise. Do they bark at the door when they want you to open the door for them?
Do they bark when they want to be let out of their crate?. When they bark do you let them out of it? How about when you are preparing their food?.
In all of these examples, you are rewarding them for barking. This is teaching them that if they want something from you, all the have to do is bark and they will get what they want.
If you want them to stop barking all of the time, then you must teach them what behavior is allow and what is not allowed. Once you have decided on the rules, be sure to let the other members of your household know that they need to stick to those rules.
Remove The Incentive
Your dog would not be barking if they didn’t think that they would be getting a reward for doing so. To make the barking stop, you must try and try to work out what incentive they have to bark.
For example, I really love animals and I am one of those people that like to put out some food for the birds. The food, however, also attracts a local squirrel. I always see him trying to raid the bird feeder.
Daisy, my dog, always barks at them from my living room window when she sees the squirrel going for the food. To stop her from barking in this instance, I decided to move the bird feeder from the front garden to the back garden where it is out of Daisys’ sight.
Ignore The Barking
Since your dog more than likely adores you, if you confine them to a crate or have some other sort of barrier between you, they will sometime bark because they want to be with you. Just ignore them and the barking will eventually stop.
Don’t let the out of the crate. Instead of letting them out, simply turn around and don’t give them the attention they want. Don’t talk to them, don’t reward them, don’t do anything until they decide to stop barking.
This could take some time. But don’t give in. If you do give in, then this will teach the dog that if they bark for long enough, then they will get what they want. So next time, they may even bark for longer.
Once they have stopped barking, even if it just for a few seconds, give them a reward such as a tasty treat. The next time that they stop, extend the time it takes to reward them and keep on increasing the time they have to be quiet before they are rewarded.
You could turn this into a fun little game for you both. Vary the time they have to be quite. Reward them after 3 seconds of quiet time, 13 seconds, then 6 seconds, etc.
Is Your Dog Bored?
Most dogs will behave properly when their owner is around them. Once they are left on their own, however, they will start barking endlessly. This usually happens when they are bored, feeling lonely or even when they are scared.
Try taking them on a nice long walk before you leave them alone. when you tire them out, they will usually be more relaxed and will want to sleep when you are not there.
Also, make sure that they have some toys handy in case they are bored again when they wake up. If you often leave your dog alone, like when you go to work, for example, it may be a good idea to have a huge box of toys available for them. Doing this, they will always have sometime fresh to play with in case they get bored of playing with the same toy all of the time.
You could even give them a toy that has some tasty treats inside. They will be more than happy to spend all of their alone time trying to get the treats out of it.
If possible, it could be a good idea to crate train your dog. Keeping them in a crate can offer them some extra safety and security and help stop them from becoming frightened when alone.
Teach Them The “Quiet” Command
The “quiet” command can be very useful. For example, if someone knocks on your door, most untrained dogs will start to bark. They do this to try and warn you that there is an intruder.
By teaching your dog the “quiet” command, you will be able to calm your dog down and take control of them so you can answer the door.
To teach them the “quiet” command, you must first teach them to bark on command.
Command them to “speak” and give them permission to bark. At the same time, have someone make some noise that will get them barking, such as the doorbell ringing.
Once they have barked two or three times, hold out a treat for them. When they stop barking and start to sniff the treat, give them the treat as well as a little praise. Repeat this until they start to bark when you tell them to “speak” and don’t need someone else making noise to start them off.
Once your dog has learned how to bark on command, it will be time to teach them to be quiet.
Start by giving them the “speak” command. Once they have barked a few times, say “quiet” and hold out a treat. Praise them for being quiet and give them the treat. Keep on doing this until they will be quiet on command, without the need of treats.
Stop Your Dog Barking – Summary
- Make sure they know what behavior is acceptable and what is not.
- Work out what the incentive to barking is and remove it if possible.
- Ignore them until they are quiet.
- Take them on a long walk before leaving them alone. Teach them the “quiet” command so that you can take back control when you need to.