We've all been there. From 12 noon till 3 in the morning, we hear dog barking at night.
Worse - its YOUR dog barking at night. And you don't know how to stop your dog from barking.
EVEN WORSE - its your neighbor's dog barking.
While most of us would dismiss this as a normal thing that dogs do, we can sometimes get pretty frustrated when dogs start barking at night. Sometimes, our neighbors aren't as understanding and might complain.
Now, in Pittsburgh, an ordinance passed over 'excessive dog barking' could potentially fine owners $600!
So. How do we stop our beloved pooches from barking too much?
First, we need to understand WHY they bark.Most of the time, 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.
Sometimes they just bark for the sake of barking. Sometimes, it can be a combination of any of these. Puppies barking can also indicate its insecurity after leaving the pack.
We don’t necessarily want to stop dog barking though, especially when the barking is to alarm or alert us to danger, or warding off an intruder.
Let's be honest - sometimes, we want to stop dog barking simply because its late, and we want to sleep.
But we do want to stop dog barking when we tell them to, and especially so if there is no reason. Some dogs will bark at the slightest noise. Often,the owner has unknowingly reinforced the behavior.
If we shout at the dog that is barking,it MIGHT think we are joining in. If we tell him gently to be quiet or give him affection,they may also mistakenly think its and sees this calm voice as praise for barking.
So. Here's how to stop your dog from barking.
Closing your dog’s mouth using a halter,GENTLY.
If you have a dog that will bark at people or other animals, possibly introduce the halter so your dog accepts it willingly and, when an unwanted bark happens, lift the leash so the dog’s mouth closes and he is guided into a sit.
Move again and change your direction creating attention to you as you move elsewhere. This stops dog barking, we gain attention and we redirect to an acceptable behavior in one simple step.
This is quite a simple way to quiet a barking dog, but it does take some time for your dog to 'get it'.
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!. 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.
Hopefully. Or not.
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.
If you're still somewhat unsure about what to do, you can have a look The Online Dog Trainer, where we'll teach you everything that you need to know about dogs, how to handle them, and then some!