Demand Barks and Barking for Attention — How to Control Your Dog’s Bossy Behavior
Do you have a bossy dog that rules the roost? You know the kind of dog we’re talking about: She manipulates you and the situation, to her favor. She paws, whines, stares, nips, growls, and barks you into submission, giving her whatever she’s seeking, which often is attention. We call this “demand barking” and as long as you let her, she’ll keep doing it.
Yep, sadly, your dog has picked up these negative behaviors from you. Any time you give her attention when she’s misbehaving, you reinforce the action to continue. The good news is there are a few things you can do to change this situation into one where you’re in control and your dog’s okay being second-fiddle. Here’s what you need to know.
The advice on these pages is intended for adult dogs and younger dogs at least six months and older. Puppies take a special kind of patience, and using some of the training techniques here can backfire on them by scaring them.
What is Demand Barking?
Demand barking is just that, your dog barks until you give in to what she wants. The moment you cave to your dog’s initial round of demand barking is the minute she’ll begin using it to ensure she gets her way with everything. Next thing you know, your dog is barking as a means of meeting all of her needs, with your help, of course.
How Can I Stop My Dog Barking for Attention?
Because you’ve reinforced your dog’s behavior, she’s now barking all the time for attention and probably driving you crazy. While it’s easiest to stop demand barking early on before it becomes obnoxious, there are a few tips you can try to curb this behavior if it has already gotten out of control.
You can ignore your dog’s demand barking
Many dog owners and dog care professionals would agree, ignoring your dog’s barking is very difficult. Don’t be fooled; your dog can bark a long time. Her barking may even get louder (similar to a child throwing a tantrum, they go all out to make sure they get their point across before giving up the battle).
To be effective, you will have to ignore your dog until she calms down and is quiet for at least a few seconds. At that point, you can give her praise, attention, treat, or a toy. Repeat this process every time she starts barking for attention. At any point you give her attention before she calms down you’re back to square one.
Take note, you may want to warn your neighbors (if they live relatively close to your house) that you are training your dog, so hopefully, they don’t call authorities on you when your dog starts another round of demand barking.
Train your dog the first time she demand barks
If your dog is a puppy and new to the family, she may not have started her demand barking quite yet, but it will happen sooner than later, usually during playtime. Here’s your chance to prepare.
The first time your puppy demand barks at you during play, the activity stops, and you walk away. After she has quit barking and is quiet for a few seconds, play can resume. The same holds if she directs her demand barking (asking the other dog to play) at a fellow canine, take your pet away from her friend. Once she has calmed down, you can reintroduce her to the other dog.
Nipping this type of behavior in the bud EARLY is the key to a blissful doggie household.
How to Stop Your Dog’s Frustration Barking
Frustration barking is an excited bark that indicates your dog is stressed-out, confused about what you want her to do, can’t access playmates, or is confined in some manner, and her movement is restricted.
If you’re not sure why your dog is barking all the time, check out our post on the seven reasons dogs bark.
Increase the amount of your dog’s exercise
If your dog gets exercise every day and still barks out of frustration, up the amount and change the type of activity she gets. For example: if you routinely take your pet for a walk once a day, add in some tug-of-war or fetch in the afternoon. A tired dog won’t have the energy to bark endlessly.
Never yell at your dog in reaction to her barking
It’s tough listening to a dog bark for what seems like forever and not react. However, regardless of why she’s barking, your response should never be to yell at your dog. She might think you’re barking along with her, which can cause her to bark more.
Find a companion for your dog
If your dog is continuously barking in the hope of playing with the neighbor’s dog, you might want to entertain the idea of bringing another animal into your family. With a companion in the home, your first dog may be content and curb her frustration barking.
Use an ultrasonic bark training tool
An alternative to the ignore-reward method of training a dog to stop barking is using an ultrasonic training device, like our signature product, The BarxBuddy. The device is designed to interrupt a barking dog, so you can issue a correcting command.
The device is simple to use. Briefly press the button when your dog starts barking and the device will emit a high-frequency sound that your dog can hear but you can’t. The sound does not hurt dogs, but they do find it annoying so much so, it will stop her in the middle of her barking episode. This moment of silence offers you the chance to redirect her with a command. Once your dog is calm, provide praise and a treat. Use this train-treat-repeat process whenever she starts her frustration barking until your dog no longer engages in this type of behavior.
For More Advice on Dog Training
Learn more about the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool, which is designed to help you stop unwanted behaviors from your dog using a humane, safe and effective training device.