There are a number of products on market that promise to stop barking quickly. Collars that go on your dog can deliver audible or ultrasonic corrections to your dog, but they aren’t effective on all dogs. Citronella-spraying collars often work, but some dogs learn they can run them out of spray and then bark at will.
Before we dive into the “how” of stopping dog barking, we need to look at the “why” of why they’re barking in the first place. There are lots of reasons dogs might bark from play to defense, but in the case of excessive barking at home it’s most often separation anxiety. If you listen carefully, you can start telling the difference between the various sounds:
Before you begin any training session with a high energy dog, it’s crucial to exercise him. If your dog has too much energy during a training session he won’t be able to pay attention and listen. In order for new concepts to sink in, like learning to be quiet when asked, you first must get their overflowing energy out. High energy dogs often get bored so it’s important to know your dog’s favorite reward. A reward can be anything from a favorite toy to a delicious treat. As long as the reward gets your dog’s attention, you’ll be able to stop your dog barking with time.
Dogs often bark when they find themselves excited but thwarted, or frustrated, from getting to something they want. For example, a frustrated dog might bark in his yard because he wants to get out and play with children he hears in the street. A frustrated dog might bark and run the fence line with the dog next door, or bark by the patio door while watching a cat or squirrel frolicking in his yard. Some dogs bark at other dogs on walks because they want to greet and play, or they bark at their caretakers to get them to move faster when preparing to go for walks. The most effective means for discouraging excitement or frustration barking is to teach a frustrated dog to control his impulses through obedience training. You can teach your dog to wait, sit and stay before gaining access to fun activities like walks, playing with other dogs or chasing squirrels. This can be a daunting task, so you may need the assistance of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer to help you. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a CPDT in your area. You can also discourage the presence of cats and other animals in your yard by using motion-activated devices to startle intruders.
There are all sorts of devices that claim to stop barking. Most of them are some sort of collar that offer a negative response when a dog barks, such as an electric shock, a spray of citronella or a burst of static electricity. Talk with a trainer or behaviorist before considering one of these devices. If used incorrectly, they can cause more problems. For example, if your dog gets shocked every time he barks at a neighbor, he could associate the pain with the neighbor instead of the barking.
Many owners can identify why their dog is barking just by hearing the specific bark. For instance, a dog’s bark sounds different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from the yard. If you want to reduce your dog’s barking, it’s crucial to determine why he’s barking. It will take some time to teach your dog to bark less. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect a quick fix or to expect that your dog will stop barking altogether. (Would you expect a person to suddenly stop talking altogether?) Your goal should be to decrease, rather than eliminate, the amount of barking. Bear in mind that some dogs are more prone to barking than others. In addition, some breeds are known as “barkers,” and it can be harder to decrease barking in individuals of these breeds.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 10 to 20 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a startling noise by shaking a set of keys or an empty soda can filled with pennies. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he’ll stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him to sit, and give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this procedure doesn’t work after 10 to 20 attempts, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for guidance.
Dogs do more than just bark. They whine, they whimper, they grumble and growl, they scream, they howl…and each communication can contain messages that help you understand your dog. When your dog is communicating out loud, take a moment to ﬁgure out what he’s trying to say, and why, and what, if anything, you should do about it.
Be assertive in your physical posture. Focus your body and calm energy on blocking the dog from the stimulus that seems to be causing the barking. Concentrate and remain calm to let your dog know that you are in charge and that the dog doesn’t need to worry about the stimulus.
Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.
A dog barking is completely natural and it is unreasonable for us as owners to expect our dogs to never bark. We as humans don’t always appreciate it but barking is the way our dogs communicate with each other and the world. That, however, does not mean excessive barking is acceptable behavior.
My honest question: What is the point of forcing your dog to not bark at all? Do you really want a silent dog? If so, there are plenty of dogs out there who are born mute (and perhaps deaf) and cannot bark at all, and they need good homes to go to. But for any other dog, playful barking is cute and a fun part of being a dog owner, and dogs also want to be able to get your attention sometimes and there is nothing wrong with that, nor should there ever be.
Of course you’d rush out and get them. But…what if the doors were locked and you couldn’t get out? Would you sit down, relax and have a cup of tea? Of course not. You’d shout for help and call your baby back, or try and break free so you could get back to them.
Matthijs B.H. Schilder and Joanne A.M. van der Borg studied behavioral effects of electric shock collars and came to the conclusion that shocked dogs showed more stress-related behavior than the control dogs — dogs controlled via human discipline instead of no-bark collars — the shocked dogs connected their handlers with getting shocks, and may even connect orders given by their handlers with getting shocked. What does this mean? Schilder and Borg conclude that, while they have not proven that the long-term welfare of the shocked dogs is affected, it is clearly under serious threat.
Remember, to a dog barking is often an escalation of other forms of communication. Therefore, just like you don’t want to reward a puppy for barking to get your attention, you also don’t want to reward them for lesser forms of negative noises like whining or growling.
First, get your dog excited by ringing the doorbell, knocking on a wall or whatever you know will start him barking. Say your command word, such as ‘speak’ and pair it with a treat. When your dog is consistently barking when you say ‘speak’, you can then say ‘quiet’ and give a treat. Your dog will have to stop barking to get the treat.
Also, remember to socialize your puppy. Most dogs bark at unfamiliar things that they don’t understand or feel may be a threat. If your pup has grown comfortable with a wide range of scenery and sounds, they will feel less of a need to bark as they will be more confident.
I know this isn’t exactly on topic tonight, but I have been having issues with my young male rottweiler following my commands to go to bed at night. He is normally so well behaved and a great listener. I don’t know if it is because Ares is getting to the age where his hormones or kicking in and he doesn’t want to listen, or what. I understand that sometimes he gets bored in his crate when I have been at work, and I have let him take his favorite toy to bed with him, but tonight was a struggle to get him to bed. I was actually home all day today with him, and we had fun playing out doors and relaxing inside, but for some reason, he absolutely would not go up the stairs tonight. I had to carry him up the stairs, and mind you he is a 50-60 pound pup who is 5 months, but to do that seemed a bit extreme. Am I not being firm enough? I just don’t understand. I could have him outside going potty and he gets a whiff of something, and all I have to do is call him and he comes running. What could be so different about tonight?
To avoid this situation you need to leave a short or long line (as in the video above with the barking dog) on them so you can take control quickly and calmly when you need it. At the same time your dog still gets to run around.
Before starting her full-time writing business, Sarah worked with a top pet food company as a consultant to veterinarians conducting weekly classes on canine and feline nutrition for the doctors and staff.
Consider building a fence around your yard to keep your dog safe–or letting your dog out in your backyard instead. You can also approach your neighbor to discuss the two dogs’ behavior and relationship. Your neighbor might be willing to come up with a solution with you, as this also considers his dog’s safety.
Keep in mind that not all the dog daycare centers out there are really good. You want to meet with the people that will take care of him and fully understand what happens there. After all, you are leaving the dog with strangers. You want to be sure that the dog feels great and is treated as he should be treated. If you notice that the dog is not happy and does not enjoy his time at the center, do not force him to keep going!
Some dogs bark a lot when they want to tell you about something specific they have seen or heard, for example a visitor at the door, a car pulling onto a driveway, or the phone or doorbell ringing. This is called ‘alarm barking’.
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is Whole Dog Journal’s Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. She is also the author of, The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train Your Dog.
Try to agree on a concrete solution. Rather than expecting your neighbor to put a stop to all barking, it might be more feasible to agree on a practical solution that works for both of you. Here are a few solutions that might apply; you can adapt them to your situation as necessary:
Similarly, she says, if your dog barks when you pick up the leash to go for a walk, don’t reward him by heading out the door and giving him what he wants. Instead, drop the leash until he settles and stops barking. If he barks as soon as you clip on the leash, drop it and ignore him until he quiets down. It takes patience, but eventually he’ll learn that barking won’t get him what he wants.
Pheromone-based treatment: Diffusers mimic the “calming pheromones” given off by female dogs and will help soothe dogs that bark due to the stress. You might not see a dramatic shift in behaviour but keep in mind that the chemicals are milder than medication, but is an easy and affordable way to take the edge off.
Territorial behavior is often motivated by both fear and anticipation of a perceived threat. Because defending territory is such a high priority to them, many dogs are highly motivated to bark when they detect the approach of unknown people or animals near familiar places, like their homes and yards. This high level of motivation means that when barking territorially, your dog might ignore unpleasant or punishing responses from you, such as scolding or yelling. Even if the barking itself is suppressed by punishment, your dog’s motivation to guard his territory will remain strong, and he might attempt to control his territory in another way, such as biting without warning.