First things first, dogs communicate through barking and you should not expect that your dog won’t bark at all. In other words, a dog’s barking is not a problem but excessive barking is. Dogs, over time, build the habit of barking and there is no way your dog will stop excessive barking suddenly. The more time he has spent under the influence of the habit the more time it will take to curb the habit.
In this article, I am going to discuss some methods to stop excessive barking in dogs. These methods can be super effective, but, again, you can’t expect overnight changes.
Here are some quick tips on how to stop a dog from barking.
- Do Not Yell At Them. Your furry friend doesn’t understand the human language and your yelling seems to him a reply or a response to his barking, i.e. barking back at him.
- Try to keep your dog’s exercising and training sessions tiring and upbeat.
- Be consistent at whatever you do for your dogs. Dogs develop a sense of how you communicate with him. And when your dog gets confused he might seem to be barking unreasonably. So, always apply training methods that can help your dog distract away from inappropriate barking.
Anna from Doglovesbest says, “Excessive barking is unnatural and the motivation behind it can be the extra attention they get when they bark.” That said, your primary job should be identifying the motivation and then try to not motivate your dog by any means.
Let us understand by example.
- If your dog barks at strangers passing by from the drawing-room window, take him to another room or just draw curtains. Taking him out on barking is a positive reinforcement for them and will increase your problem.
- If he barks at the strangers in the yard, just take him inside and never put him out of the house unsupervised. These positive methods will ultimately help them lose the motivation for excessive barking.
Ignore Their Barking
Listening and responding to your dog’s bark means a lot for your pooch. He can’t really understand your language and when you scold him he feels he is getting your attention. Here, your attention works as a reward for his barking.
In this case, you should not speak to, touch to, or even look at your furry ball. And even when he stops barking and quiets a bit to breathe in between, you should offer him a happy treat. This will encourage their calm and quiet behavior.
Example: When your dog is in confinement and barking.
- If your dog starts barking when he’s in his crate or a playing pan, just turn your back, don’t talk to, look at, and touch him. Just ignore them.
- Once he becomes calm, give him a treat.
- As soon as your dog understands that remaining quiet brings him treats, you should increase the time he can remain silent without making any sound until he gets a treat.
- Keep it fun by changing the amount of time your dog has to remain silent before he gets treats.
Desensitize Your Dog
Desensitizing is the method to make your dog accustomed to the stimulus and thereby curbing the behavior. That said, gradually get your dog used to whatever is causing him to bark. This method generally goes from low intensity to high intensity.
Grab a stimulus and start getting it closer to your dog the way he can see it until he starts barking. Offer him a lot of treats when the dog feels comfortable in the presence of the stimulus. Now, start reducing the distance maybe by a centimeter or an inch everyday and feed treats. And when the stimulus is not present, stop giving him treats. In short, you want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to happiness (tasty treats!)
Example: Barking at other dogs.
- Have a friend with a dog standing far enough that your dog can see him and doesn’t bark.
- Now feed him a lot of treats.
- Tell your friend to go away from your dog’s sight and when he disappears, stop offering treats.
- Repeat this process multiple times. And wait till you observe that your dog is catching the idea of getting treats on the appearance of another dog.
- Most importantly, please keep in mind that this process can take time, so please be patient and try to be consistent.
Teach Your Dog The ‘Quiet’ Command
Teaching your dog ‘quiet’ command can be a game-changer for a dog with excessive barking. This method has two stages of execution: 1. Teach them ‘speak’ command and 2. Teach them ‘quiet’ command.
Get yourself and your furry friend in a quiet place and say speak to your dog. Now, wait until he barks two-three times and offers him treats. On repeating this procedure, your dog will associate ‘speak’ command with barking and treats.
Now that your dog has learned the speak command, it’s time to teach him how to be quiet. Take him to a calm place and tell him to speak. When he starts barking and continues for a while, stick a treat to his nose and tell him to be quiet. When he stops barking, let him eat that treat.
Repeat this procedure and your dog now knows when to stop barking and when to speak.
So whenever a stranger comes at your door, your dog might get anxious, excited, and curious enough to bark a lot, you can command him to be ‘quiet’. This way, your dog won’t bark even if he wants to.
Keep Your Dog Happy And Tired
This is the key point to check before you start out on any methods to prevent excessive barking. A tired dog is a happy dog and is likely to not bark out of boredom and pent up energy. However, it is important to take note that not every dog has the same physical activity requirements. And the amount of physical as well as mental stimulation required depends upon the breed.
In a nutshell, you have to research your dog’s breed thoroughly and make sure that your dog is getting enough physical activity and mental stimulation.
An inappropriately barking dog isn’t only a source of frustration and irritation but also is a deeply unhappy and confused dog. If you ever feel your dog is barking inappropriately, then feel free to use one of the methods to curb their unwanted behavior. I hope all the points I have mentioned will help you with the problem. Let me know your views on this in the comment section below.