Barking. It’s a normal—and noisy—part of pet parenthood. But what do you do when your dog’s barking becomes excessive? Here are some positive tactics to discourage your pup from barking in several common situations.
Before we get started, let’s address the million dollar question. Is a bark collar a good idea? Generally, dog behavior experts recommend against them, especially because they’re not a good replacement for training. With that in mind, here are some handy tips for working on your dog’s barking…without using a bark collar.
Here are a few basic tips to get you on the path to peace and quiet. If your dog barks excessively:
- Keep them exercised. Ensure that your dog burns off energy during the day through long walks, jogs or playtime. This will help limit the energy they have for barking. A tired dog is a quiet dog.
- Stimulate their brain. Getting mental exercise with puzzle toys, or by learning new tricks or practicing old ones, can help keep your dog quiet.
- Don’t yell at your furry friend. We know it’s hard not to be frustrated, but making more noise makes your dog think you’re joining in!
Perch barking, when a dog barks at a stimulus from a window or “perch,” can be hard to stop. From your dog’s perspective, he barks, and passersby are “chased away.” That unfortunately reinforces the barking. To change this behavior:
- Block their view. If a dog can’t see a stimulus, they can’t bark at it. You can close the curtains, or even purchase a window cover that lets light in, but dog’s can’t see through it.
- Make seeing passersby awesome. For a quick training session, sit with your dog at the window. When a passing dog or person appears, reward your dog with high value treats. Only give your dog these treats when the stimulus is in sight. Soon they’ll associate seeing “intruders” with great things!
Barking When Confined
If your dog barks when confined, whether in a crate or to a specific room in the house, getting them to stop takes some willpower! To teach them to be quiet:
- Keep them confined. If you let your dog out when they are making noise, they will learn that barking means they won’t have to stay in their crate.
- Ignore them completely. Even looking at your dog is a reward in itself. Pretend your dog isn’t there until the barking stops.
- Reward them for being quiet. As soon as your dog stops barking, give them lots of praise and treats.
Barking on Walks
Reactive dogs are tricky to walk, whether they’re reactive to people, bicycles or other dogs, but they too can be conditioned to have positive responses to stimuli. The reactive dog owner can handle on-leash barking by treating it the same way as perch barking. When you see a stimulus:
- Assess the distance. If you are too close, a quick U-turn in the other direction will help create more space so your dog feels comfortable.
- Give them treats. If you’re far enough from the stimulus, reward your dog with high value treats and praise so that they begin to associate the stimulus with something wonderful.
- Keep calm. Your dog can feel when you begin to tense up and can react based on your reaction.
Barking for Food
No one wants to deal with a dog barking for food. If your dog barks when they want you to feed them—or when they see you eating—there are a few ways to curb this habit:
- Ignore your dog. Rewarding your dog by giving them any kind of attention, even punishment, will reinforce their behavior.
- Don’t feed them until they stop barking. Feeding your dog to get them to be quiet teaches them that barking equals getting fed. By asking for an alternative behavior like sit, down or quiet, your dog will learn that barking is not what gets them food. Instead, being quiet does.
THE FIRST INSTANCE THAT I HEARD HER BARKING INCESSANTLY OCCURRED ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO WHEN SHEWAS 4 YRS OLD. I SUDDENLY HEARD HER BARK AT THE NEIGHBOR’S YARD. SINCE SHE HAS BEEN IN MYHOUSE, A RETIRED COUPLE LIVED NEXT DOOR. 2 YEARS GO THE HOUSE WAS SOLD AND THERE ARE NOW 3 CHILDREIN THE HOME. IF THE CHILDREN ARE OUTDOORS, BELLA WILL BARK. SHE EVEN BARKED AT A TENT THAT THEY PUT UP IN THEIR BACK YARD. SHE IS IN OUR FENCED N BACK YARD. THE ONLY TIME I SHE WILLSTOP AND DO HER “BUSINESS” IS WHEN I GO OUTSIDE TO STOP HER BARKING. UNLESS I AM READY TO STAY OUTDOORS WITH HER, I BRING HER BACK IN WITH ME. (BARKING WHEN CONFINED)
THE SECOND INSTANCE THAT OCCURS, IS WHEN THE FRONT DOOR IS OPEN. SHE WILL LAY DOWN IN THE HALLWAY AND WATCH THE FRONT YARD. ANY MOVEMENT AT ALL IN THE FRONT WILL ELICIT A BARKING SESSION. EVEN THE WIND MOVING TREE BRANCHES WOULD DO THE TRICK. (PERCH BARKNG) THE ONLY THING THAT WORKS IS CLOSING THE DOOR SO BELLA CAN’T SEE OUT THE FRONT YARD. OTHERWISE. SHE IS GOOD AT NOT BARKING.
THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW TIMES THAT IF BELLA WANTS HER DINNER OR HER VITAMINS, SHE WILL START TO BARK. ONE BARK AND SHE GETS TO WATCH MY BACK UNTIL SHE IS QUIET. NO EYE OR FACIAL CONTACT UNTIL SHE STOPS BARKING. THEN I GET UP AND GIVE HER HER DINNER OR VITAMINS. THAT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY. THE FUNNY THING IS THAT BELLA HAS AN INTERNAL ALARM CLOCK. IF I DO FORGET ABOUT THE VITAMINS OR ITS PAST 4 PM WHEN SHE EATS, THAT IS WHEN THE BARK OCCURS. LOL THIS IS THE ONLY DOG I HAVE EVER SEEN WITH A TIME CLOCK EMBEDDED WITH THE CHIP!
MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT THE LINKS TO MANY PET SUPPLY STORES THAT ARE HAVING SPECIALS IN HONOR OF CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH. IF YOU HAVE PET ENTHUSIASTS ON YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT LISTS YOU WILL FIND UNUSUAL GIFTS THAT ANY PET PARENT WOULD ADORE!
KEEP COMING BACK. MORE TO COME ! AND MAKE SURE YOU SHARE YOUR LOVE WITH YOUR PET TONIGHT. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM!