How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
Updated: Mar 28, 2018
If your dog's barking habit is beyond your control? Before you consider any irrational options, you need to think about training methods.
Why is your dog barking?
Your dog is likely barking for one of several reasons. Dogs bark as a response to a variety of different types of stimuli, such as when a strange person approaches, or when a foreign animal is in the dog's territory. Dogs can also be urged to bark when other dogs are barking, which unfortunately reinforces the territorial response of the dog. This is the most useful type of barking for any human owner who is looking to keep a dog as a form of protection.
Dogs also tend to bark as a learned response to a number of stimuli. If a dog barks, and then as a result he or she receives attention from you, then he or she will learn that barking is an excellent way to get what he wants. If a dog brings his toy to you and then he barks to you, and you engage in playtime with the dog as a result, then the dog will learn that an excellent way to initiate playtime is through barking.
If this behaviour causes you to yell or to scold the dog, he still may continue this behaviour because all reinforcement is reinforcement, even negative reinforcement because all attention beats absolutely no attention. Barking is also a completely normal play behaviour for a dog, and the dog may bark both to human and animal during play.
When barking for the purpose of seeking attention, dogs also tend to bark in response to the anxiety that they feel when they are not in the presence of their owner. This can occur just after the owner leaves, or it can persist for as many as several hours later until the owner does finally return.
Dogs who suffer from brain diseases, deafness or cognitive problems may also bark excessively. It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian's office before you begin any new behaviour modification program, including a bark collar, to rule out situations such as these.
It would be ideal for you to learn how to recognize any and all triggers that will cause your dog to lash out through barking, because you may be able to eliminate or at least limit these stressors to a degree.
Here are some ways that you can deal with a dog that is constantly creating havoc:
- Remove the motivation. Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn't do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don't give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
(Example: If he barks at people or animals passing by the living room window, manage his behavior by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.)
- Exercise and discipline. Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration.
Physical and psychological stimulation is really good for your dog. As well as discipline. Give him jobs to do and commands to learn. But, most importantly, do not reward unwanted behavior, particularly excitement, with affection.
- Use a clicker (or whistle) which are common methods of positive reinforcement. A clicker is a mechanical noise maker. The click is much faster and more distinct way of saying “good dog” and a treat should always be given immediately after clicking so the dog associates his action with the click and, subsequently, the reward.
Not only does he better understand what he is doing, this also makes him more likely to repeat the action when asked in the future.
While all of these techniques can help stop your dog from barking, don't expect results overnight.
- Bark collars. And finally there are bark collars that automatically set off an interrupter when the dog wearing the bark collar barks. You can find different types of bark collars on the market. They can all work but in our opinion the electronic bark collars are very fast and effective way at delivering the desired results in only a few days in most cases. Also Cesar Millan, the famous Dog Whisperer, confirms on his website "The citronella spray bark collar and the noise bark collar can be triggered if other dogs close by are barking. My experience has been that the electronic one is the most successful and most important only the dog wearing it feels the interrupter".
'No bark' collars are a solution that is well worth exploring, at least to determine whether or not it is ideal for your situation. 'No bark' electronic shock collars are designed specifically to be quick, easy and humane in reducing a dog's barking habit. When electronic shock collars are used the right way, it can take only a handful of days to drastically reduce a dog's barking habit.
Electronic bark collars are very fast and effective at delivering the desired results in only a few days in most cases.
Your goal here should be discouraging barking that is unnecessary rather than discouraging all barking, because barking within reason is a natural dog behaviour and should never be discouraged.
Keep in mind
Remember that most importantly of all that there is no magic cure for such unsavoury behaviour, you simply have to show patience, and when possible, understanding. You are responsible for the well being and health of your dog, but you should be aware of the needs and wants of your family and your neighbours as well.
Always remember to keep these tips in mind while training:
Don't yell at your dog to be quiet—it just sounds like you're barking along with him.
Keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.
Be consistent so you don't confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately.