How To Stop Dogs Barking!Stacey Wilson
Barking is a natural way for dogs to vocally communicate and get across their emotions. But sometimes, when it happens too often or too much. It can become a problem. A lot of dog owners that struggle with barking end up having issues with unhappy neighbours. Especially if your dog barks often enough. This is our complete guide on how to stop dogs barking.
To be able to tackle problem barking, you must first figure out what is causing your dog to bark in the first place. Once you answer that, it will be much easier to come up with a solution to the problem.
Why Does My Dog Bark So Much!?
Dogs may bark in any number of situations, including…
- Somebody is at the door
- Cats or birds in the garden
- People walk past the house
- They’re left on their own
- They want your attention
- At other dogs or people when out and about
- When visitors enter your home
Now lets go a bit deeper into why this might be and why your dog is barking either day or night, or even both! This is how to stop dogs from barking.
Protective & Territorial
When people or animals come into an area your dog considers their territory, that will often trigger excessive and aggressive barking. As the threat gets closer, the barking gets louder and more frequent. Your dog will be alert and even aggressive during this type of barking.
This can be good and bad. Knowing when someone is at the door can be handy, but annoying if someone is just walking by. Especially if you live on a busy street. Try limiting access to any windows or glass door where they can clearly see animals, people or cars driving by.
Alarm & Fear
Some dogs bark at any noise or object that catches their attention or startles them. This can happen anywhere, not just in their home territory.
Because this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees.
Bored & Lonely
Dogs are pack animals. That’s a fact. Dogs left alone for long periods, whether in the house or in the garden, can become very bored or sad and often will bark because they are not happy.
If your dog barks excessively while you’re gone, you need to provide more activities to keep your dog from being lonely or bored.
Bringing an outdoor dog inside will lessen the noise impact on your neighbours. It’s also safer, because dogs left alone outside can face theft, escapes, poisoning, harassment, and many other dangers.
But dogs can still bark inside if they’re bored. If your dog barks while you’re at work all day, get someone to walk your dog or play with them for at least an hour.
Providing something for your dog to do during the day also can help. Try leaving out a couple of food dispensing toys. These can keep them busy for several hours, then they’ll probably take a nap.
Dogs will normally bark when they greet people or other animals. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with tail wags and sometimes jumping.
To stop a dog from going into a barking frenzy every time you come home, you’ll need to teach them other behaviours. One way is to train your dog to go to a spot and stay there when the door opens. It’s best if they can see the door, but not be too close to it. Pick a spot and practice getting your dog to go there and stay, but don’t touch the door yet. Use lots of treats and praise, making it a game.
Once your pet is doing this reliably, start opening the door while they are in their spot.
Once you can open the door and your dog will stay in their spot, have someone actually come in the door. Of course your dog will break from the spot at first, but with time and practice, they’ll learn to stay in their spot when the door opens and guests come in.
Dogs often bark when they want something, such as going outside, needing to pee, playing, or wanting to get treat. This particular issue could be resolved by picking yourself up your very own Waggle Mail monthly dog subscription box.
Never reward barking. Want to know how to stop dogs barking… that is important. If your dog barks when they want water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught them to bark to get what they want. If they bark to go outside, it’s the same. So teach them to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe they’ll start pushing it with their nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.
If they bark and you see their dish is empty. Wait a few minutes, go do something else, then fill it. So they won’t know their barking was effective.
Anxiety & Constant Barking
Dogs with anxiety often bark excessively when left alone for long or even sort periods of time. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
Anxiety and compulsive barking are both very difficult to treat. So should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviourist or a certified applied animal behaviourist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviours.
Common mistakes owners make dealing with excessive dog barking
The go-to response for many owners of barking dogs is to shout a bit louder. Or even telling them to be quiet. This can make your dog feel threatened, or they might think that you’re barking along with them in a playful way.
There are loads of products on the market today designed specifically for excessive dog barking that aim to calm and quieten your dog. In the quest to find out how to stop dogs barking some people use things such as anti-bark collars that administer a slight electric shock or a nasty spray. We DO NOT recommend these at all as they’re unnecessarily aggressive and unpleasant. They also suppress your dog’s natural behaviour and need to communicate. Plus, smell spray collars continue to punish your dog long after they stop barking as the smell will linger in their very sensitive nose.
These punishing types of collars do not deal with the underlying cause of the barking. So your dog will take their frustrations out in other ways, such as chewing the furniture, or even themselves. Instead, try to find out why your dog is barking. Is it to warn you about something? Are they barking out of frustration/boredom or in order to get your attention? Are they barking because they’ve been left alone and they’re trying to call you back? Once you’ve identified the cause, you can get to work on training techniques that will help tackle the problem in the long term.
How to Treat Excessive Barking
Getting your dog to bark less will take time, work, practice, and consistency. It won’t happen overnight, but with proper techniques and time, you can see progress.
Here are a few tips to remember as you start your efforts to control your dog’s barking.
Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because they think you’re joining in. So the first rule is to speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell. Here are some top tips on how to stop dogs barking.
Most dogs don’t know what you want when you’re yelling at them to “shut up.” So train your dog to understand the word “Quiet!”
- Enlist the help of a training partner(this can be anyone who doesn’t live in your house.), and ask them to stand outside the front door, while you and your dog are inside the house.
- Ask your dog to ‘speak’, while your training partner rings and or knocks at the door.
- This will prompt your dog to bark, and when they do, give them lots of praise and a little treat.
- Practice this in various locations, and soon your dog should bark when you say ‘speak’, whether there’s someone at the door or not.
Now you’ve taught your fluffy friend to speak, it’s time to teach them to hush!
- First ask your dog to speak, and reward them verbally praise them when they do.
- Then, tell them to ‘hush’ and distract them from barking with some waggle mail treats or a favourite waggle mail squeaky toy. Your dog can’t bark and sniff/eat the treat at the same time, so they’ll stop barking. When they do, give them lots of praise and some treats!
- Repeat the technique little and often and you’ll soon be able to put the brakes on their barking with a simple command.