How To Stop A Dog From Barking
Dogs are going to bark – it’s what they’re programed to do. There’s no way to teach a dog to stop barking, but there are way to curb this habit, especially if it’s excessive. We’ve got some tips that will teach you how to stop a dog from barking.
Constant or excessive barking can be linked to several factors. If a dog is locked up all day without any stimulation or company, this can cause a dog to release its pent-up energy through barking. Maybe she’s just an attentive guard dog. No one is getting to your door without her knowing about it and letting everyone in the house know what’s going on. Or perhaps she was taught to bark whenever she wanted something – if she needed out for a pee, if she was hungry or she wanted a belly rub. Whatever the reason, it’s led to some pretty annoying behavior. Let’s get to some ways on how to stop a dog from barking.
- Get out and exercise. Most barking issues can be linked back to a dog being lonely, bored, frustrated or frightened. You know what helps with that? Plenty of exercise! If you take your dog out for a long walk or run before you leave for work, chances are that tired pooch will sleep most of the day away. And when we say exercise, we don’t mean that you should stick your dog in the backyard by herself for an hour. That kind of exercise isn’t social enough. She needs to get out in the neighborhood, meet new people and dogs, and see the environment around her. Even a trip to the dog park will help – she’ll be able to play and get some of the barks out of her system.
- Mental stimulation. Obedience training isn’t just to teach your dog good manners; it’s also to provide much-needed mental stimulation. Thinking is a tiring exercise for dogs (just like it is for us!). Teaching and reinforcing commands, followed by praise and rewards, will keep your dog’s mind occupied and tire her out, which means less barking and less boredom. When you’re away at work, leave puzzles or challenging toys to get her mind busy – these will turn her off from barking and onto thinking.
- The “Stop Barking” command. For the most part, dog have no clue that they can be annoying. They bark when they’re happy, when they’re anxious, when they want to warn us, or when they want something. It’s up to us to teach them when barking is good or bad. Here’s something to keep in mind: barking is fine, until you tell them it’s enough with the “Stop Barking” command. Let’s just say someone comes to your door. Three or four barks is fine – after this amount, praise your dog for letting you know, then use the Stop Barking command and present her with a treat under her nose. She can’t bark and sniff at the same time, so the barking should stop. After 3 to 4 seconds of no barks, she gets the treat. Continue with praise while she’s eating her treat. The next time you practice this command, lengthen the amount of time to 5 seconds, and so on. If she barks – even once – during the time you give the Stop Barking command, correct with a firm reprimand immediately. This can include clapping your hands in front of her face or squirting her with water to get her attention.
- Bark collars. These gadgets emit a noise, an electric stimulation, or a spurt of air or citronella every time a dog barks. But with the collar, it can be activated when another dog barks. They should be used as a last resort, but you should continue your Stop Barking command as well.
All these tips are going to take time a practice for you and your dog to master. But as long as you stick with it, your efforts will pay off. Do you have any tips on how to stop a dog from barking? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
More by Amy Tokic