While most dogs vocalize for a good reason, some seem to bark nonstop 24/7. As pet parents ourselves, we here at BarxBuddy get it: A dog that constantly barks can be a frustrating situation to deal with.
Can you train a dog not to bark? We suppose you could, but why would you want to silence your best friend? Imagine never being able to speak your mind when you want or need to!
For that reason, rather than training a dog not to bark, this post focuses on how to train a dog not to bark excessively, rather than how to train a dog never to bark.
Why Dogs Need to Bark
Barking is one of the primary ways dogs communicate with other dogs, animals, objects, and humans. If you think about it, dogs have plenty of reasons to bark — they have a lot of responsibilities on their paws. Dogs have to protect themselves, their resources, fellow canine friends, family, and home. Plus, dogs have to relay their fear, anxiety, and boredom, and barking is the usual mode. Of course, some dogs also whine and howl, which can add to an already noisy situation.
The best way to train a dog not to bark is to train them to interpret situations and understand when it is OK to bark versus when you need them to be quiet on command. In other words, focus on reducing the amount of unnecessary barking that goes on and on without reason.
There’s little doubt dogs have plenty to say, some breeds more than others. Although no training works overnight, addressing out-of-control barking sooner rather than later can make a huge difference in how long it takes to correct.
How to Train a Dog to Stop Barking so Much
Each time your dog barks and gets what he wants — you respond or another dog barks back — it reinforces the behavior (therefore makes it more likely to recur). Yep, you’ve helped create a barking monster. This is why patience and your total commitment to changing the behavior are key to training your dog not to bark so much. The longer your dog has had a nuisance barking habit, the more difficult it can be to change. However, keeping a level head, using positive reinforcement like encouragement and treats can help you train your pet to stop barking on command.
By first paying attention to the who, what, when, and where can help you determine WHY your dog is barking and what you need to do to reduce the behavior:
- When and where does your dog bark?
- Who or what does your dog bark at?
- What triggers (people, animals, sounds, and objects) your dog’s barking?
Maybe every noise or any animal or person that passes by your home or approaches your door triggers your pet. Warning you of an impending threat is one thing, but when your dog continues to bark well after the stimulus has gone, it’s time to remove his motivation (sights and sounds) and opportunity to react. Obscure windows your pet uses to observe the comings and kings of the neighborhood with a spray-based glass coating or removable plastic film. If your dog partakes in this type of barking when out in the yard, ensure any fencing blocks his view of streets, sidewalks, and other yards. Drown out audible triggers, like fireworks, with noise your pet enjoys, like familiar music on the radio or television.
In addition to utilizing these techniques, you need to teach your dog the “quiet” command, which can help quell other types of barking, including demand or attention-seeking. We recommend using the BarxBuddy, a handheld ultrasonic training tool. It’s easy to use and doesn’t cause pain like some bark collars. How does it work? When your dog begins to bark, quickly press the button and release to emit a high-frequency sound your dog will hear, but you won’t. The noise will interrupt your dog’s barking long enough to offer the “quiet” command. Once he complies, provide praise and a tasty treat. If he resumes barking immediately, repeat the process. You must perform these steps every time your pet displays this behavior.
Tips for Reducing Your Dog’s Barking
There are a few do’s and don’ts you can do that can help eliminate some of your dog’s relentless barking.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. We can’t say it enough; a tired dog is a quiet dog.
- Keep training positive and upbeat.
- Practice consistency. Address all nuisance barking episodes.
- Ensure all members of your household are on board and you all follow the same training steps.
- Socialize your pet starting at a young age.
Dog training don’ts
- Avoid yelling, scolding or punishing your pet for barking as this can cause him to become fearful and bark more.
- Don’t assume the behavior will change without your commitment to training.
- Don’t give up. Changing your pet’s behavior can take time, but it is so worth it.
Listening to a barking dog can become quite a frustrating situation. With our training tips and tools, you can get your pet to stop barking so much and regain some peace in your home.