Photo by Alexandru Sofronie on Unsplash
Barking is quite normal for dogs; in fact, it is their means of communication. However, excessive or unnecessary barking can be very annoying. Constant barking can cause turmoil in the neighborhood.
So, before you determine how to stop your dog from barking, you need to understand that no training method can eliminate barking. And we believe you don’t want him to stop barking entirely either.
There are several reasons why dogs bark. Therefore, before you do anything about it, you must first determine why your dog is barking.
The most common reasons why dogs bark includes:
- Territorial barking: Dogs are territorial creatures that bark to protect their territories from other animals and people. The territory can include your compound and any other place where they spend most of their time.
- Out of frustration: Excessive barking can also be caused by frustration. Dogs bark when they are unable to find their owners or confined in a place for an extended period.
- Anxiety: Anxiety in dogs can be caused by separation from their owners.
- Just like people, dogs do bark when greeting someone they know. A greeting bark is usually non-confrontational and relaxed.
- To communicate with their owners or other dogs.
Knowing why the dog is barking can help you identify the best technique that you can use to make him stop.
7 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Barking
Remove the Motivation
Does your dog bark at animals or people passing by your window? Since preventing people from walking near your window is impossible. You should try and eliminate the visual stimulus. Close the curtains and keep him outside certain rooms that have a direct view of the road. Remember, if he can’t see people passing near your window, he won’t bark.
If the motivation is the sound of children playing or the mail truck, you can try masking the sound with music or white noise. A radio or a small desktop fan can be very soothing and help eliminate outside noise.
Use a Barking Collar
This technique is straightforward. All you have to do is purchase the most effective bark collar in the market and put it on his neck. These collars are usually activated by either his barks or through a remote. A remote-controlled bark collar can work when you are home. But, since you can’t be around your dog all the time, you should purchase a back collar that is activated by his bark. This collar can shock the dog every time he barks excessively.
Ignore the Barking
If he is barking just to get your attention, you should ignore him completely until he stops. This means no touching, no petting, no looking, and no talking until he stops. Once he quiets down, you can give him a treat.
For this technique to work, you must wait until he stops barking. If you give in, after he has barked for half an hour, then he will believe that he has to bark until you give him some attention. So, the next time he will bark for even an hour.
When putting him in a crate, you should turn your back to him and ignore him. Your dog will bark at you because you have turned your back to him. So, wait until he stops barking and then gives him a treat.
Since he is learning how to keep quiet, you can increase the amount of time he has to remain silent before offering him a reward. Repeat this until he learns to stay calm for a few hours.
Desensitize the Stimulus
Instead of removing an incentive, you can help him get accustomed to what is causing him to bark.
- You can put the stimulus in front of him, but far enough so that he doesn’t bark.
- Give him some treats.
- And then start moving the incentive close to him as you feed him. Remember, you want him to associate the appearance of the incentive results in a tasty treat.
- Repeat this until he stops barking when he sees the incentive.
If the stimulus is your neighbor’s dog, you can have a family member stand with the neighbor’s dog so that your dog doesn’t bark.
Teach Him Some Quiet Commands
Before introducing this step, you should first teach him to bark on command. Start by asking him to bark. And then allow him to bark for a few seconds, before giving him a treat. Repeat this procedure until he barks every time you tell him to speak.
Once he has learned how to speak on command, you can start teaching him a quiet command.
- Take him to a silent place and tell him to speak.
- When your dog starts to bark, give him your quiet command and put some treats near his nose.
- Once he stops barking, you can give him the treats and praise him for following your commands.
- Repeat this process until he learns how to stop barking on command.
After learning how to stop barking on command in a silent place, you can start introducing some distracting situations slowly.
Ask Him to Do Something Different
Ask your dog to do a different thing every time he starts barking. Something unrelated to barking. You can teach him to react differently every time he encounters a barking stimulus. Start by:
- Placing some treats on his mat and commanding him to go and lay down in his place.
- When he goes to the mat to earn his treat, you can open the door.
- If he stands up, close your door and tell him to go to his place.
- Repeat this until he learns to stay on his mat every time the door opens.
- You can ask someone to ring the doorbell while he is on his mat.
- If he doesn’t get up, reward him.
Keep Him Tired
It is always important to give your dog sufficient mental and physical exercise every day. Remember, a tired dog has a low probability of barking. So you can take the dog for a long walk. You can also let him play with some interactive toys or chase a ball until he gets tired. The amount and type of exercise will depend on the dog’s health, age, and breed.
About the Author:
Cynthia Garcia. Cynthia is the editor and content creator at Pet Fashion Week. She’s a passionate pet rescue supporter and in her free time, she's always looking for ways to help the community.