Ways To Stop Your Dog From Barking
Training and Behaviour
In some neighbourhoods, you can shut your eyes and swear that you’re at the kennels. The howling, barking and yapping can be almost deafening, and it’s no wonder our non dog-loving-neighbours are going insane!
Dogs bark. It’s a fact of life. This is how they communicate that they are afraid, bored, anxious, happy or excited.
Nevertheless, barking until all hours of the morning is simply not acceptable, nor is continuous barking from dawn until dusk. Although it may seem easy to just strap on a bark collar, this may not be the best solution and could even be damaging your dog. Here are a few techniques to help with eliminating your dog’s barking before investing in any quick-fix solutions.
Techniques To Stop Your Dog Barking
Ignore the barking
Many dogs bark to try to seek your attention. This kind of barking is common with puppies, especially when they are getting used to being alone in their crates or playpens. As hard as it can be for you, the best way to stop this barking is to not give your dog any attention at all while it is barking.
This means no talking, no touching and no eye contact. Any attention you give to your pup only rewards them for being noisy. When they are finally quiet, even if it is just to take a breath, reward them with a treat. It may take longer to break in older dogs that were taught this type of play as acceptable when they were puppies. However, in many cases, play barking is not a problem and can certainly be tolerated as acceptable.
Try not to give you dog attention when barking.
Remove the motivation
One of the most effective ways to reduce barking is to work out what is causing your dog to bark, followed removing their motivation. For example, dealing with a dog that barks along your fence line can be as simple as removing your dog from the area, or putting up barriers to prevent your dog from pacing the fence line. You can do this by building a dog pen, or taking it out for heavy exercise to keep your pet safely contained and relaxed when you aren’t home.
What is causing your dog to bark?
Teach your dog the quiet command
This one may sound obvious, but the 'quiet' technique comes in two parts.
First, you teach your dog to bark or “speak”’ on command. The easiest way to do this with puppies is to play with your dog and get them really excited and then woof at them. When they bark back at you say the "speak" command and reward them. For adult dogs, it can be easier to get them barking by using personal barking triggers (such as someone ringing the door bell) and then marking and rewarding their behaviour.
Once your dog can bark reliably on your command, you can start to introduce the ‘quiet’ command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to "speak." When he starts barking, say "quiet" and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat. Repeat daily for several weeks, practicing the ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ commands in a variety of circumstances, until you can reliably get your dog to stop and start barking.
Try teaching your dog commands
Keep your dog tired
If your dog is barking at anything and everything, your first step is to make sure your pup is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. All too often, a dog that is barking excessively is a bored dog crying out for help. After all, a tired dog is a good dog - and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks, as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
Bored dogs tend to bark more
Set up a dog quiet zone
If your dog barks when you leave the house, it can be helpful to set up a safe and quiet place for them away from the front door. This may be a spare bedroom, laundry room, or spare space equipped with a comfy bed, food dispensing toys and a radio to block out external sounds.
Sometimes, if you are dealing with a night-time barker in New Zealand, this can to be caused by hedgehogs or possums. If you have started to notice a problem with your dog barking at night, it can help to place them in a prey-free area such as a laundry or garage area.
Create a safe space for your dog
Get professional help
In some cases, the causes of your dog's excessive barking may be more complicated. Dogs occasionally become compulsive barkers, meaning they bark in situations that aren’t considered normal.
Or if your dog is barking at other people or dogs it could be aggression or anxiety-related. An aggressive dog is barking to warn you of what may come next so in these cases it is always best to seek help from an animal behaviourist or dog trainer to help find the cause of your dogs barking.
Dog Barking Facts
- Continuous barking puts a huge amount of strain on your dog’s throat and can lead to infections.
- Yelling at a barking dog very rarely works! As your dog may even interpret the shouting as attention so it may drive them to bark even more.
- Use quick, sharp words like ‘No!’ ‘Enough!’ or ‘Ah, Ah!’ Be firm and use a low, stern voice. Dogs hear tones, not words, so avoid using sentences, such as ‘If you don’t stop that barking I’m going to…’
- Some breeds will bark more than others. Researching your chosen breed and their associated noise levels are important before you take one home.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.