Barking is a natural communication tool for canines, and a way for them to express their various feelings. A defining trait of dogs, barking is expected by any dog owner. Usually, problems will only arise when it is excessive! From sleepless nights to angry neighbors, unwarranted barking is not easy to cope with. How to stop a dog from barking excessively, then? We’ve got some tips for you!
Find the cause
To know how to stop a dog from barking, you first need to determine the reasons why they’re doing it. Dogs bark to communicate. If your buddy is doing it, it’s likely they’re trying to tell you something!
Most people are quite happy with dogs barking at thieves, intruders or as a warning against any danger they may have sensed. Problems only arise when excessive barking takes place – which can be due to several reasons:
- Boredom: dogs will repetitively bark as a way to soothe themselves or to simply get entertained.
- Territory: canines will bark at any perceived intruder (be it human, animal or object) that crosses into their territory. ⛔
- Frustration: your buddy will bark to relieve their irritation and frustration from not being able to do something (e.g. picking their favorite toy from under the couch).
- Excitement: if dogs are too excited, they may bark to express their high spirits.
- Attention seeking: canines can use barking as a trick to demand your attention or to compel you into giving them something.
- Separation distress: dogs are social beings, and they don’t like to be alone. They may express their sadness with long pitiful barks!
To learn how to stop a dog from barking, you will need to take these situations into consideration. Apply the wrong tip to the wrong cause and you may find yourself in a lot of trouble… and noise!
Remove the source of stress from the dog’s sight
This trick is valid for territorial and frustration-related barking.
To stop a dog from barking, identify the source of your pal’s distress and remove it from their sight.
For instance, close the curtains if your bud cannot stop barking at something going on outside in the yard. If they can see their toys, but not reach them, hide them better!
In the following days and weeks, open the shades a bit at a time during the day, and place the toys on their original location. Eventually, the dog will lose interest in whatever was annoying them, and life can return to normal.
Exercise your pal
Take your buddy out for long walks and some playful time to tire them up and chase boredom away! This is also good advice for excited dogs.
The more you keep them running and the more activities you do with them, the less excited they will be the next time you take them out for a car ride, for instance. Don’t get them wrong – they will still be super happy, but will be calmer knowing it’s not a one-time only fun time.
Teach your bud a cue word
Don’t bother telling your buddy to be quiet or to hush if you haven’t taught them the meaning of those words yet. This will only make them more excited, as they will be getting the attention they wanted.
First, choose your cue word and be consistent in its use. Then, get some tasty snacks and be ready to reward your bud’s silence. You may even want to go the extra mile and prepare some Homemade Dog Treats to ensure you’ll have your pal’s taste buds as an ally in the rewarding process! 🍪🐶
Start by giving them a treat while saying the cue word every time they stop barking. The dog will begin to create a positive association with silence. Once they comes to you for their reward every time they get quiet, stop giving the treat immediately and stretch the duration of silence needed for a reward.
With time, your buddy will no longer need a treat to know what you mean when you say the cue word!
Seek professional help
Barking is a tricky behavior and might have several hidden layers that trigger it in the first place. It’s a natural instinct for dogs to bark, even though some dogs are quite more talkative than others. But it can become a nuisance and an unwanted behavior for sure!
If the simplest and most basic approaches don’t solve the issue or aren’t able to reduce its intensity or frequency, it’s wise to seek for professional advice with a veterinarian behaviorist or a certified dog trainer who advocates the use of positive reinforcement exclusively. Our Maven vets are always available to help!
Dogs exhibiting excessive barking should be assessed individually and the delay in addressing the problem will make it more severe and harder to manage.
How to stop a dog from barking – conclusion
Learning how to stop a dog from barking in excess is a hard and perilous task! As much as these tricks may help you, they will be ineffective if you’re not consistent with your attitude in those moments. Also, never shout at your buddy trying to quiet them down, as they may bark even more and louder in return!
Stay strong, give your pal tons of love, make them exercise a lot and create a safe environment where they can easily distinguish friends and foes. With a lot of perseverance and discipline, you will hopefully be able to ditch your ear tampons soon! ☺
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