Dogs that bark excessively are nuisance to their family and their neighbors. Unfortunately, this is a common behavior problem in dogs. You can't expect your dog to be silent all the time, but you can use these best ways to stop dog barking to limit the amount of your time your dog spends yapping.
Your dog needs to bark to communicate. Common reasons for barking include fear, boredom, excitement and protection. If your dog barks when someone comes to your house, you can't fault him for that. He's just trying to protect his pack.
If your dog barks more than the average pooch, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Separation anxiety, depression or a compulsive need may cause a dog to bark more often. The best ways to stop dog barking will not work unless you address any possible underlying issues first.
Consult your veterinarian for advice if you believe that your dog is barking because of a mental health issue. It's not going to happen overnight, but if you stay consistent with your efforts, you'll see progress. If all else fails, you can always consult a professional dog trainer that has experience dealing with this problem.
4 Best Ways to Stop Dog Barking
1. Remove the Motivation
If there is something that always causes your dog to bark, like people walking down the street or squirrels in your yard, do what you can to remove the motivation. Of course, you can't prevent people from walking past your home or stop squirrels from entering your yard, but you may be able to prevent your dog from seeing them.
Add curtains or shades to your windows. If possible, remove the dog's ability to see out the window altogether. For example, at our house we have an elevated dog bed in front of the picture window in our living room (which you can see in my video guide above). Moving the bed would remove our dogs' ability to look out that window.
You might need to get creative. If your dog jumps up to look out the window, find some type of barricade (perhaps a pet gate) that will keep him from accessing the window. It may take a bit of ingenuity and a few dollars, but removing the motivation is one of the fastest and best ways to stop dog barking.
Plus, if you can get rid of the motivation to bark, you won't need to do any behavioral training at all!
2. Behavior Training
If you can't remove the motivation to bark, you'll need to work on behavior training. If your dog barks at other pets in your home or barks excessively when guests come to visit, you'll need to work on correcting the unwanted behavior.
In the video above, I use the example of people coming to visit your home. I'll stick with the same example for this article. We want our dogs to bark as a warning when someone comes to our house. However, sometimes the barking can be excessive and visitors may view it as threatening or aggressive.
First, you'll need to come up with a verbal cue to let your dog know when he needs to stop barking. I use the word “enough.” That gives the signal that I acknowledge that someone is here, and they don't need to bark anymore.
Once you've given the cue, you'll need to redirect your pet to a chosen area such as his dog bed or another room. Use a treat or toy that your dog really likes to distract him from the visitor and lead him to the desired area.
While leading him to the chosen spot, use a verbal command such as “go to bed” or “go lie down.” Praise him when he gets there, and be sure to continue the praise if he sits there while your guest enters the house. Then, use another verbal cue to tell him when it's okay to come greet the guest.
It won't happen overnight, but if you're consistent, your dog will eventually realize what he is supposed to do when a visitor arrives: bark to warn you, go to his designated area, and then wait until the visitor enters the home to greet them.
ALSO: 20 Most Talkative Dog Breeds That Bark Often
3. Prevent Boredom
Sometimes, dogs bark to burn off excessive energy or to get attention when they are bored. If your dog barks when left alone or left in a crate, it may be due to boredom. Make sure you let him have plenty of time to play and burn off excess energy before leaving him.
If your dog barks at you to try to get your attention to relieve boredom, spend some time with him. Provide lots of toys and chews to entertain Fido when you don't have time to play. Puzzle toys are a perfect way to provide mental stimulation to dogs, and keep your dog's interest. If your dog is busy, he won't be barking to entertain himself.
4. Ignore the Behavior
Sometimes, none of these best ways to stop dog barking will work. Some dog breeds are noisier than others. Some dogs just love to express themselves through barking.
In this situation, you'll have to ignore the behavior. This will teach your pooch that barking will not get him what he wants. If you give him attention (even negative attention like scolding), he'll realize that barking gets your attention.
Ignore the behavior until your dog stops barking. When he's quiet, reward him with a treat. If he begins to bark again, ignore it and wait until he's quiet. Gradually make him sit quietly for longer periods of time before he receives his reward.
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