We all know that it is common nature for dogs to bark as it is pretty much their only way to communicate. While some dogs are naturally quieter than others, there are many dogs that bark a lot or even excessively to the point of being a problem.
Since there isn't a sole reason for dog barking there isn't a one quick fix to make it stop. However, there are some training methods that can help your dog to stop barking and before getting into the solutions it is best to figure why your dog is barking, here are the more common reasons your dog may bark.
- Territorial barking
- Separation Anxiety
Since there are many reasons why your dog may bark a lot, here are some training tips to stop your dog barking.
Toys to keep dogs busy
"Busy Toys" are great for barkers that have separation anxiety, are bored, or attention seekers. The type of busy toy really depends on your dog and it can be pretty much anything your dog really loves.
The best thing to keep your dog busy is usually some sort of dog treat. In fact, in my experience giving your dog dental chews is ideal. The reason I say dental chews is because they are tough and take longer for your dog to eat. This way it will keep him busy and occupied for much longer than if he was just eating a regular dog snack for example.
You can give your dog the toy when you are leaving the house, or right before an important phone call to keep your dog engaged and quiet.
Teach your dog the "Shh" or "Hush" command
This technique is great for many types of barkers, such as territorial/alarm and play/excitement barkers.
Most people want their dog to let them know if someone is at the door, or to alarm them if needed but if you want the barking to stop after they have done their job, teaching the shh/hush command will teach them to stop when you are ready. Using a treat as a reward, present the treat to your dog and as they smell it they will temporarily stop barking.
When they are quiet, say the word "hush" and give them the treat. Do this further from the door each time and only give them the treat when they have stopped barking and after the hush command. Eventually, after you say hush/shh your dog will stop barking and go look for their treat.
Block the view
Another great tip for alarm/territorial barkers or dogs who tend to stare out of windows all day waiting to see something and tell you about it is to block their view of outside.
Close your blinds/curtains to not allow your dog the visual cues of anything outside they may be interested in barking at. Instead of closing everything off at once, slightly lower blinds little by little over a period of time to help your dog become uninterested in the window. Once your dog isn't obsessing over what is outside, you can do the opposite and slowly raise the blinds again.
Repeat the closing if your dog becomes interested again and combine it with the "hush" command mentioned above.
Ignore the barking
This technique is helpful for attention, play, and frustration barkers. Although it can sometimes be hard, ignoring your dog while they are barking can quickly show them that barking will not give them what they want.
When your dog is constantly barking for attention, avoid eye contact, turn your back to them and walk out of the room. When your dog is quiet, you can return to the room and reward them with a treat or with petting if attention is what they are after.
Provide more exercise for your dog
More exercise is helpful for all types of barkers. Dogs that are more mentally and physically stimulated tend to bark less as they are more tired from playing or exercise. They will become less interested in their barking triggers which leads to a quieter dog. Wear your dog out with walks or games to ensure they are expending enough energy that they become tired, plus more exercise is always good for our pets.
Remember to always reward your dog when they aren't barking. If you notice they didn't bark on their own for something they typically would have, make sure to praise and reward them. This helps to reinforce the training and could help speed up the process.
Make sure to stay consistent to stop your dog barking as training will take time and patience but can be achieved for a quieter pet.