Dogs bark for a number of reasons, so it is important to sit back and try to determine why your dog is barking. Some dogs bark for attention, out of boredom, at people or birds and some bark because they are stressed or anxious. A dog barking due to anxiety needs a different approach to a dog who is bored.
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.
If your dog typically barks when someone comes to the door, ask him to do something else at the same time like a place command. Tell him to “go to your mat” and toss a treat on his bed at the same time the doorbell rings, suggests the Humane Society. He should forget about the barking if the treat is tempting enough.
What do I mean by this? Don’t pick the time to start your training where your dog’s archenemy saunters by the fence, causing a 10-minute vocal tirade. Find an occasion where the dog may just bark a few times, but won’t get overly excited. You want them to still be able to focus on you.
Because every pup is different, not all the techniques listed above work for every pup — most require an investment of time. If you haven’t seen improvement in three to five days using one of the anti-bark techniques, try a different approach.
Provide door drills. Ringing the bell, knocking on the door, and arrivals or departures excite puppies or sometimes scare shy pups, so associate the location and sounds with good things for the puppy. Stage arrivals at the front door with an accomplice “visitor” loaded up with treats to toss the pup to help her stop seeing visitors as threats.
If things like other dogs or people are your pet’s trigger, you need to expose them to these stressors. Again, reward them with treats when they are behaving, and let them know that barking means no attention or tasty food.
Barking in the morning for the purpose of waking up the owners and eliciting them to start their day early is a form of nuisance barking. What increases this form of barking is obviously the act of getting up and attending to the dog by giving it food or attention. To better understand though why a dog continues to bark in the morning despite not getting up and attending to the dog, it helps to understand all the mechanisms that come into play when a behavior is about to extinguish.
If your dog isn’t house-safe, use crates, exercise pens, a professional dog walker (or volunteer one – you’d be amazed at how many people would like to walk a dog, but not own one!), lots of exercise, even doggie daycare to keep him out of trouble, until he earns house privileges. You can also enrich the dog’s environment, by giving him interactive toys such as food-stuffed Kong toys that keep his brain engaged and his mouth busy.
Curb barks with scent. Researchers at Cornell University in New York found citronella collars to be much more effective in bark training. Citronella collars give a warning tone first; additional barking prompts a squirt of scent that stops the barking. Some of these collars have remote control activators.
Leave distractions for your dog. In addition to exercise, leaving distractions around the house is a great way to inhibit problem behaviors like boredom barking. You can use a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter, or simply toss a handful of treats in various places around the room. You can also leave a radio or television on for the dog so the sound will distract her.
ThunderShirt Anxiety Jacket – These vests are proven anxiety soothers. The wrap helps dogs prone to anxiety, over-stimulation, or those prone to compulsive barking, to calm down. It works by applying a gentle, constant pressure that soothes your pet.
Have you become desperate to figure out how to get a dog to stop barking? It’s in a dog’s nature to bark. They enjoy barking, and they bark for many reasons. They will bark when they want something, when they are playing, when they are establishing their territory, when they are frightened, when they are annoyed, and when they are just saying “Hi!” Too much barking, however, can drive a dog’s family–and their neighbors–crazy!
I just got the Petsafe static collar yesterday. It’s amazing the difference. We have a beagle/terror mix and she was just not tolerable. I can actually sit outside with her now. I don’t hear the neighbors telling us off behind the shrubs.
Outside: Dogs that bark only outside are usually displaying territory barking, anxiety, frustration, or guarding behavior. They will often bark at the edge of the fence if anyone comes near or because they are bored.
You can use the positive interrupt to redirect a frenzy of frustration barking. If you consistently offer high value treats in the presence of frustration-causing stimuli, you can counter-condition your dog to look to you for treats when the cat strolls by (cat = yummy treats) rather than erupt into a barking fit.
To extinguish the behavior you must completely ignore it. Walk away, or look away and do not speak or give eye contact. Bear in mind that the behavior will temporarily increase before it improves, and you must be persistent and consistent. Try never to enter the house or yard or let your dog inside while your dog is barking, as this can easily reinforce the behavior too.
Nancy lives in Portland Maine with her 3 kids, 2 dogs and a revolving door of foster dogs. She owns Gooddogz Training and believes in force free training and having fun with your dogs. Her Mom tells us “Dog” and “horse” were her first words.
In 2009, a 62-year-old Manhattan woman filed a $500,000 lawsuit for excessive dog barking, claiming excessive emotional and physical distress, after she complained for a year about the barking of her neighbor’s 2 Chihuahuas.
Discontinue reinforcement. Also called “attention-seeking barking,” request barking is a common problem for dog owners. The first step to breaking a dog’s request barking is to stop giving dog what she wants whenever she barks. This will, of course, take some time to train out of your dog, especially if she has been “rewarded” for her barking over many years.
Punishing your pet might temporarily suppress the behaviour but does nothing to change the motivation behind it. So your bored barker might stop woofing when told off, but they might find a different thing to occupy themselves with instead – very likely something you won’t approve of, either!
During walks, a dog may let out an excited bark if they see another pup along the way, Spaulding says. “You’ll also see excitable barking when dogs are doing something they enjoy, like chasing a small animal or for agility dogs when they run a course.”
Unlike their human companions, dogs aren’t able to shut out noise and distraction as easily before bed. According to Dr. Barrack, this is because dogs have such acute hearing. “Although your home or apartment might be very quiet to you, a dog can be extremely sensitive to outside noises and bark in response. Putting on a TV, radio or white noise machine might help block out some of that external noise and hopefully eliminate this cause of bedtime barking.”
Dogs that are not bored will rarely bark without a serious reason. The next time you see the dog barking in the living room and running around agitated, it may be because he is really bored. Take him out for a walk. Then, try to find more entertainment options for him for other days so that the situation does not repeat itself.
Genetics play a role in your dog’s predisposition to barking. If she’s a hound or hound mix, you’re likely to be treated to a certain amount of baying; Chihuahua owners should accept the likelihood of yapping, and so on.
If you need help teaching your dog these skills, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist in your area. A professional trainer can meet with you one-on-one to guide you through the process of teaching your dog to sit, stay and go to a spot on command. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts near you.
To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough you’ll give him attention.
Talk to your neighbors and explain to them about your condition and see if they can come up with a solution first. If this doesn’t help, you may have to call law enforcement. If it is affecting your quality of life, this should be taken seriously.
I have had my 7 year old rescue dog for 4 years, and all of a sudden, she has started barking almost all night long. How can I get her stop barking, since the only thing that works now is for me to use earplugs at night.
Attention seeking: Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. If he barks to go outside, it’s the same. So teach him to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe he’ll start pushing it with his nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.
It may be time to get some earplugs for these first few sessions, especially if you’ve let them train you to come when they bark. Completely ignore them and let them bark until they take a break. Then, when they are quiet, treat and reward them or let them out for quiet behavior.
Your dog will bark when he wants something, be it food, water, or your attention. When learning how to get a dog to stop barking, it’s important to ensure that you’ve met all of his needs before moving forward with treatment.
Finally, it’s worth it to note that we love our dog, but his barking makes him completely miserable to be around. So now we get to enjoy our dog, and not be in a constant state of apprehension over his truly awful barking.