Before we get into the meat and potatoes of how to make dogs stop barking, let us be clear: Dogs communicate by barking. The key to controlling their barking is (1) first understand why they’re barking, (2) acknowledging you understand their message, and (3) letting them know you’ve got it from here.
In other words … you and your dog need to learn to speak the same language, so you can understand what your dog is saying, and they can understand what you expect of them.
Training won’t fix unwanted behaviors overnight. But, with lots of patience, time, consistency, and of course, praise and treats, you can reduce or eliminate your dog’s nuisance barking.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Remember what we said about dogs and communication? Most of the time, when your dog barks, it’s because he’s doing his job. Before you can even begin to train your dog to stop barking, you need to understand why dogs bark. Dogs bark for several reasons, such as:
- Defensive or territorial barking
- Play and exercise
- Excitement or happiness when seeing someone special, especially you
- Attention seeking
- Social, responding to other dogs
- Frightened or lonely
- Injured, not feeling well
As one of their primary forms of communication, dogs bark. It’s their way of letting you know something’s up like danger is ahead, they’re happy you’re home or they are in pain. Learning how your dog’s barking differs will help you train your dog to stop barking. Dogs can vary the pitch and space between barks depending on the circumstances. The higher the rise, the happier; the more barks in a row, the more excited he is. Once you’ve de-coded your dog’s bark, you can address the source or underlying issue.
How to Make Dogs Stop Barking
When a dog’s barking becomes a nuisance or problem, your instinct might be to yell at your dog. Don’t do this. Yelling back is like rewarding a bad habit; your dog might think you’re joining her frenzy.
Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise
Getting an adequate amount of physical exercise is necessary for dogs. A tired dog is less likely to bark like a fool.
Socialize your dog
Introduce your pet to a variety of people and other dogs. When your dog has positive experiences with people of all types and ages, such as those in wheelchairs, riding bikes, children, the elderly, even the mail carrier and delivery drivers, the less likely he is to bark at them.
Provide mental stimulation with dog toys and puzzles
Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Challenging dog toys or puzzles that allow you to hide treats can keep your dog occupied.
Reduce triggers in your pet’s surroundings
Reduce the chances of a bark fest by closing the curtains or blinds to prevent your dog from seeing cars, people, or the much-dreaded squirrels as they pass in front of your windows. If your dog barks while left home alone, turn on the TV or radio to something you might watch or listen to when you’re home.
Don’t respond to your barking dog
When your dog is barking to get your attention for whatever reason, don’t respond. Instead, wait until your pet quiets down and then reward the sit/stay behavior (rather than the barking or other bad behavior).
How to Train a Dog Not to Bark
As you train your dog not to bark, remember that you’ll never get your dog to stop barking completely; it’s innate — it’s just what they do. You want your dog to let you know when they’re in pain, when they’re scared, when someone is at the door, or when they need to go outside, right? So, the key here is not to silence your dog, but to teach them and your family “how to speak dog.”
Many dog owners turn to bark-deterrent or anti-bark devices like vibration, spray, or static correction collars to curb their dog’s barking. These devices all detect a dog’s bark and deliver an unpleasant stimulus; a vibration collar emits a vibration to your dog’s neck, spray collars release a spritz of citronella or water to a dog’s face; while the static correction or shock collar results in an electrical shock.
Unfortunately, anti-bark collars have several shortcomings. They can cause skin irritation if left on too long or the collar is ill-fitting, and they can require frequent charges and refills, as is the case with spray collars. A dog can learn not to bark with the collar on and revert to nuisance barking when they are off. No anti-bark collar is designed to wear 24/7.
For these reasons, we created a handheld ultrasonic anti-bark device that never comes in contact with your pet. Used with our train, treat, repeat dog training method, the Barxbuddy can be a safe and effective training tool.
Here’s how it works:
When your dog begins nuisance barking, you press the button on the ultrasonic training device. It will emit a high-frequency sound that you can’t hear, but dogs can, and it will catch his attention. Using a firm tone, give the command “quiet.” Once your pet quiets down, offer plenty of praise and treats. That’s it! Repeat the process whenever your dog engages in nuisance barking.
Are you wondering how to stop an old dog from barking or how to stop a puppy barking? Older dogs can be taught new “tricks,” contrary to the old adage. First, implement the practices above. Next, train, treat, repeat with The BarxBuddy.
Puppies, however, are a different story. We recommend waiting until your puppy is at least 6 to 8 months old before beginning formal training. We know — that’s easier said than done. Introducing training techniques too early can scare puppies; plus, they (like babies and toddlers) have very, very short attention spans.
Patience, time, and consistency are key. Never yell at your dog or punish him for barking as this can cause him to become fearful and increase his barking.