Excessive barking is one of the most common complaints of dog owners. Of course, you can't expect your dog to never bark. Barking is how canines communicate and it's going to happen whether you like it or not. You can learn how to stop a dog from barking if your pet barks more than normal.
…are more prone to excessive barking. Every dog is different, so you can't just assume that because a dog makes the list of the noisiest breeds that he will bark all the time. As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule.
Dogs bark for many reasons including:
- Out of fear
- To protect their pack or territory
- Out of boredom or loneliness
- As a greeting
Some dogs bark because of an underlying issue like separation anxiety, depression or a compulsion. In order to learn how to stop a dog from barking, you first need to figure out why he is barking in the first place.
If there is an underlying condition causing the barking, you'll need to treat that before working on any type of behavior training to curb the noise.
As with all types of canine training, learning how to stop a dog from barking will take time and patience. It's not going to happen overnight, but if you stay consistent your efforts will begin to see progress.
How To Stop A Dog From Barking: A Video Guide
Remove the motivation
If there is something that always causes your dog to bark, like people walking down the street, do what you can to remove the motivation to bark. Of course, you can't prevent people from walking past your home, 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. For example, I mention in my video guide that we have an elevated dog bed in front of the picture window in our living room. 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.
If your dog is like our boxer, he may be able to find the opening in the curtains and stick his head through. In this case, you'll need to stitch the curtains together to make one large curtain instead. You may need to switch your curtains out for sturdy blinds.
It may take a bit of ingenuity and a few dollars, but removing the motivation to bark is the fastest choice when learning how to stop a dog from barking. If you can get rid of the motivation to bark, you won't need to do any behavioral training.
Redirect your dog with 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, these are things that you cannot prevent.
In the video guide 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 home. However, sometimes the barking can be excessive and visitors may view it as threatening or aggressive.
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First, you'll need to come up with a verbal cue to let your pooch know when he needs to start barking. I tell my dogs “It's okay.” 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 a dog bed or another room. Use a treat that your dog really likes to distract him from the visitor and lead him to the desired area.
While leading him to 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. 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 wait until the visitor enters the home to greet them.
Ignore the behavior
Sometimes, neither of the previous solutions will work when learning how to stop a dog from barking. One common situation that comes to mind is crate training. It is typical that a dog who is in the beginning stages of crate training will bark when he is closed in his kennel.
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 let your dog out of the crate when he barks, he'll begin to think that barking will 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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Eventually, your dog will realize that the behavior you are looking for is sitting quietly. One other tip that I share in my video guide of how to stop a dog from barking is to place a blanket over the crate if your barks at night.
Dogs are denning animals by nature, and the blanket provides a sense of enclosure and security. It also blocks all light, which will help Fido realize that it is time to go to sleep.
Another thing that you'll want to keep in mind when learning how to stop a dog from barking is that they be barking to burn off excessive energy. If your dog barks when left a lone 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.
Using a head halter
If your dog barks at people, a head halter may be a beneficial training too. Head halters, like the one pictured above, offer a humane way to show your dog that it isn't acceptable to bark at people while in public.
You can easily attach a leash to the halter, just like you would to a traditional harness or collar. With a slight pull, the halter will close around your dog's muzzle. This applies pressure to his muzzle and closes his mouth.
A head halter is an easy and safe way to learn how to stop a dog from barking at other people or other animals when you're in public. Your pup will quickly learn that when he barks the halter will tighten around his muzzle, and he'll lose the desire to be noisy while out for a walk.