How to Stop a Dog Barking?
Well, at least how to stop a dog barking excessively.
We all know dogs are our best friends. They have inherent qualities that allow us to form a life-long bond.
Several studies and researches have shown that when humans are around dogs, the positive energy in our body increases manifold.
Some dogs even go to the extent of protecting us without caring about their own life. If you have a dog, you might have noticed all these characteristics.
Not all dogs behave in the same manner. Some are naturally friendly and some take time to adjust to you and the environment you put them in.
You might have also seen dogs that bark excessively without much provocation.
There are dog breeds that bark without any reason and there are others, which suddenly start showing barking tendency.
Have you seen such behavior in your dog?
Wondering how to stop a dog barking?
You have come to the right place. Let us see what makes a dog bark first.
Fun fact - in Pittsburgh, an ordinance passed over 'excessive dog barking' could potentially fine owners $600!
Reasons for a dog barking
So. How do we stop our beloved pooches from barking too much?
First, we need to understand WHY they bark. They bark to warn to other animals (out of fear or otherwise), alert owners to anything suspicious, or are simply excited and want to play.
We don’t always want to stop dog barking though, especially when the barking is to alarm or alert us to danger, or warding off an intruder.
Leaving a few dog breeds, most of the dogs bark for a reason.
Finding the exact reason would solve half of the problem if not completely remove the barking behavior of a dog. Yet, some reasons make you wonder how to stop excessive dog barking.
These reasons vary from dog to dog and some times it becomes difficult to pinpoint the exact reason.
A few reasons are common to all the dog breeds. Knowing these reasons would help you in assessing your dog before seeking expert help.
Below are a few reasons for excessive dog barking.
· Boredom – Boredom is one of the main reasons for an animal to behave weirdly.
Even humans also start behaving weirdly when you keep them away from any activity.
Dogs are highly active animals so when you leave them alone for a long duration they might resort to barking.
Keeping a dog inactive for long hours also encourages a dog to bark.
· Anxiety – You might have wondered how to stop the puppy barking when you bring it home.
Well, if you scratch the past of the puppy or dog you would know it has suffered long bouts of anxiety due to loneliness.
A dog shouldn’t be left alone especially when it is still young.
The anxiety caused due to living alone in a dog is very severe and may lead to excessive barking.
· Territorial Behavior - All animals are territorial.
Whenever they sense that their territory is being trespassed, they start barking to show authority.
This is the reason your dog growls or barks whenever it sees other dogs and strangers.
If not treated in time, the dog may become aggressive.
· Attention Seeking – We all know dogs are attention-seeking animals.
If you don’t pay attention to them when they ask for it, they show their displeasure by barking.
A dog may also start barking when you start showing love or affection to another person or animal in front of it.
Dogs may also bark when they are not rewarded for their good behavior.
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking
Tricks, treats, and disciplinary actions are some ways to stop a dog barking.
Before you decide upon which way to employ, you should try to find the reason for dog barking.
Keeping the dog engaged most of the time would allow you to divert the attention of the dog from barking behavior.
If you are looking for a long-term solution, you should make your dog follow a routine.
Once a dog gets the hang of the routine, it starts following it and forgets unnecessary barking.
Here are a few ways to stop dogs barking.
· Exercise – Providing an adequate amount of physical and mental exercise for a dog is essential.
It not only keeps your dog in good health but also calms the nerves.
If you go to work leaving your dog alone at home, exercise is a must since it tires the dog making it take rest for most of the day.
· Discipline – A dog may bark for several reasons or no reason.
Teaching a dog disciplinary commands will keep it in check. Practice your dog with ‘quiet’ command whenever it starts barking.
Showing stern displeasure will make the dog learn the command fast.
You could also give treats to the dog a couple of times for obeying your command.
Make sure you don’t splurge the treats on your dog lest it starts barking to get it.
· Ignorance – Your dog may bark to get food, toys, or to get anything.
If you relent to its behavior, the barking may increase.
The best way to show that you are least bothered about your dog’s barking is to ignore it.
Every time you ignore your dog’s bark, it will understand that the barks are not working.
Eventually, it will learn to adjust its behavior according to your response and stop barking.
· Socialization – Dogs bark when they see things for the first time. It’s an instinctive behavior.
A stranger, another dog, car, bike, or any unknown entity may trigger barking in a dog.
Familiarizing your dog with surroundings including people would allow the dog to understand things better.
Take your dog for a walk, allow it to meet people, make it play with other dogs, and familiarize it with your surroundings.
This would keep your dog calm whenever it is around new things.
· Puzzles and Toys – Dog toys and puzzles are the best ways to keep your dog engaged.
Keeping a treat inside a puzzle and asking your dog to find it would engage your dog for a long duration.
The exercise and playtime the dog gets out of the toys and puzzles will help calm the nerves of the dog.
Have your dog bring you a present.
Another way to keep your dog’s mouth closed is to encourage it to bring a “present” to you, a guest, or someone in your home, or to simply to encourage him to enjoy carrying objects.
Dogs that enjoy retrieving (i.e Golden Retriever) will often pick up a toy and carry it around just to show their pleasure. Naturally dogs cannot bark when they are holding a toy.
However, be careful not to give the toy when dog barking is in progress or the dog could mistake the toy as a reward for barking.
Distracting the dog.
Some dogs require an interrupter or distraction to take their mind off of the stimulus to bark.
In some cases, verbal commands are not strong enough to cut through the behavior.
The interrupter in that case can be another noise, such as tools emitting a high frequency sound when the dog barks (i.e dog whistle).
Its not a pleasant sound to the dog and this interrupts its barking.
However, just about anything can work too; a beanbag, a piece of chain and even a can with pebbles or coins in it, can provide the interruption.
Even slamming the cupboard works!
Here's how it works: when the dog barks and a loud object lands on the floor in front of him, seemingly mysteriously (i.e not from you).
Now the dog thinks every time it barks for no reason, something falls from the sky.
Carry on as normal, as if nothing happened. This can work especially well when a dog barks simply to be let out of a crate.
You don’t want to scare the dog; its just to alter his state of mind and change the focus.
Don't let the dog discover you making the noise! It has to think that the unwanted barking creates the occurrence.
You can practice this while doing something else; the dog should not relate it to you but to the nuisance barking.
This method works well for dogs barking at night. But, please don't hit the dog with the object, lest it grows to fear the object.
You could always just ignore the dog and hope it stops eventually.
In a crate or enclosed area this may work but if the dog is outside or in a large area then the barking itself can be self-rewarding.
In many instances there are multiple stimuli occurring which will encourage the dog barking (i.e. people walking, random sounds the dog picks up).
Go out with your dog and do not allow him to run the fence, race down the hedgerow chasing the cars, or barking at the person walking by.
One shouldn't let a dog outside unsupervised (that's my opinion anyway. I'd rather play it safe when it concerns my dog's well-being and safety)
A puppy barking in his crate may stop if covered with a cloth so its not stimulated to bark by what he sees.
With a cover over it, the crate also feels more like a den and hence more secure.
Some puppies will stop barking if allowed to sleep in their crate next to the owners’ bed, or with a belonging that smells of the owner or their siblings.
Crate training a young puppy is one of the best ways to train a puppy as well!
The methods listed above are considered dog barking deterrents, and not necessarily solutions though.
A dog is no less than a family member. Like any family member, a dog also goes through several phases.
You should always keep an eye on your dog and observe any departure from its normal behavior.
Identifying, treating, and training your dog will keep him in good condition.
One more thing, never forget to show love to your dog. Love can treat most of the problems without needing any external help.