Barking can be an annoying habit for any dog owner, or foster, to deal with. Not only does it quickly get on your nerves, it’s also probably getting on the nerves of your lucky neighbors. We know that you can’t always control what your dog does 100% of the day, but there are definitely ways to try and limit the amount of barking that occurs. Here are few ideas to try out...and remember, not all of them will work for you but keep trying!
Where to Start to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
- Be Consistent: Just like any habit you might have, barking is a habit that your dog is used to. Give them time to get used to their new and improved way of life. Be patient and stay consistent with your training methods.
- Stay Upbeat: Getting annoyed or angry at your dog is only going to confuse or scare him/her. Dogs naturally like to please their owners, so keep that in mind. Have treats on hand, and just like with a puppy, constantly reward them for good behavior.
- Don’t Yell: Yelling doesn’t do much for your dog when they are barking, despite releasing your frustration. It can either appear to them like you are barking along or just work them up further and cause more barking. Both not what you’re trying to accomplish.
Techniques to Teach Your Dog to Not Bark
- Keep Your Dog Tired
- Much like a puppy, a bored dog is going to have more energy to spend on everything around him/her. Keeping your dog active in the morning before leaving for the day and at night lets him/her burn off that stress or energy him/her might have. It’s also more likely that if your dog does have a nice workout before you leave for work, he/she will be quiet while you are gone. You can also bring your pup to doggy daycare during the day to play with friends while you’re working.
- Stop Rewarding “Bad” Behavior
- You might not even realize that you are doing this, but don’t reward your dog for barking. Whether your pup is looking for attention or gets a treat to distract him/her when he/she starts acting up, your dog learns what works pretty quickly. Remove any opportunities your dog might have to bark, like closing blinds to limit exposure to outside elements. Also, don’t give him/her a treat to quiet down or stop the poor behavior. Even talking to your dog or acknowledging the behavior can be seen as a reward to them. It might be incredibly hard, but just ignore the barking until it stops...then you can give a treat!
- Desensitize Your Dog
- If you notice that there are very specific triggers, work with your dog to eliminate the reaction. This one might take a while, but hopefully your dog will learn to be calm instead of reacting. This is especially helpful for dogs that bark at other people or dogs when out on a walk. Giving small treats while on a walk as dogs/people approach can teach your dog that everything is okay. The more they learn that they get rewarded for not reacting, the less issues you should have. It’s all about them paying attention to you, rather than what’s around them.
- Create a Peaceful Environment
- Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, a quiet and relaxing environment can help keep your dog quiet during the day. This won’t work alone, but can definitely assist some of the other techniques. Leaving a fan or TV on during the day to create white noise is a great way to make your dog feel more comfortable. This can also be accomplished by giving your pup a cage or bed of his/her own where he/she feels safe and comfortable. If you want to go the extra mile, make it a spa-like experience for your dog. Adding a few drops of lavender to a nearby blanket can have a calming effect, just like it does for humans!
These are just a few dog training tips that we have found to work for our pups. If you are having trouble, give them a try. You can also reach out to a professional and get help that way. Eliminating barking entirely might take some time, but you and your dog will be happier in the end of it all. Just remember that!