Some people say dogs bark, and that’s that. There’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t believe that’s entirely true. If your dog barks excessively, it’s not only annoying to you, but it can cause problems with neighbors as well.
As pet parents, it’s our job to do something about barking dogs to figure out why they’re barking incessantly so we can eliminate this problem. Keep in mind your dog is barking for a reason, and ignoring it isn’t always going to work.
In this guide, I want to help you solve your dog barking problem so you can live a peaceful life with your pup.
Reasons Behind Dog Barking
It all starts with understanding the reasons why dogs bark. There are only a handful of causes, so it’s likely that your dog fits into one of these situations.
The most common cause of excessive barking behavior is protection. Your dog is barking because they are descendants of wolves, and they have a pack mentality. When a dog barks at someone or something, it’s because they perceive it as a threat.
They’re trying to protect you, and they’re either trying to get that thing to go away, or they’re alerting you that it’s there.
A good way to avoid this type of barking is with a quiet command and positive reinforcement. This is where obedience training comes into play. You’ll either need to have them well-trained to respond when you tell them to stop, or you’ll need to have a distraction.
Fear or Unease
Dogs communicate by barking just like we can communicate fear in a certain way too. If your dog is barking a lot during certain situations, you’ll want to pay attention to what these triggers are.
Many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, or certain people. It’s completely normal for them to bark at a delivery person or mail person, but this mental stimulation can be managed to prevent your dog’s excessive barking.
You need to desensitize your dog to whatever it is that bothers them by exposing them to it and showing them that it’s okay. Now, of course, I don’t exactly recommend taking your dog for a walk in a thunderstorm.
But you can reassure them that it’s okay and provide them with a safe place to go when they’re scared so they can feel peaceful instead of barking.
Maybe your dog’s barking is because they’re bored and seeking some sort of mental exercise. It’s important to understand that most dogs don’t only require their pet owners to play with them physically, but they seek mental attention as well.
Dogs are curious, and they thrive on engagement and challenges. Sometimes dogs bark to simply get rid of their energy when they have no other outlet.
Make sure you’re providing some form of mental exercise for your dog when you’re not around or if you’re busy. This will help them remain quiet, and they’ll be happier overall.
Boredom-induced barking also functions as a way for dogs to gain attention. If barking leads to their owner’s interaction, even if it’s a reprimand, it can be perceived by the dog as a reward. This cycle can inadvertently reinforce the barking behavior, making it more challenging to curb.
It’s best not to engage in your dog’s barking but to instead wait for them to stop before you provide them with something. Show them that the barking behavior will not get their attention and family members will only engage with them when they are well-behaved.
Playing or Greeting
If you want to avoid barking, simply never get your dog excited about anything. That’s… good one, right?
It’s normal for your dog to get overwhelmed with energy when someone visits or they see other dogs. Playtime is such a pivotal part of your pup’s life, but for some dogs, this can spill over to your dog barking excessively, which you don’t want.
Most dogs will bark a little as a way of introducing themselves, but if it becomes out of control, they may scare the person or other dogs that are around.
Use a firm voice to teach your dog self-control and balance. Make eye contact with them and encourage them to remain quiet during training sessions. Use vocal cues like “wait” or “slow” before allowing them to engage with someone.
In many situations, your dog barks because they miss you and they’re worried. Separation anxiety is a real thing and not something you should expect to go away. Not all dogs deal with this, but many dog owners will tell you it can be heart-wrenching to see your dog’s reaction when they know you’re about to leave.
My Border Collie would go nuts when he knew we were leaving, and he had become quite destructive to furniture and other things when we were not home.
This behavior can be hard to change without professional help or some form of medication. I’ve experimented with CBD for dog anxiety and have found it to have positive results.
How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking
Now let’s talk about some of the actionable things you can do to get your dog to stop barking. It’s easier said than done, but these tips will help you as long as you’re consistent and patient.
Don’t Give Them a Reason to Bark
If your dog wants to bark excessively, it’s likely because they have a reason. Refer back to some of the previous sections. They’re trying to protect you, they’re scared of something, they’re bored, or they want you to come back.
These are the reasons why your dog barks. Find ways to eliminate these issues, and you’ll eliminate the barking.
- Pay more attention to them when you’re around
- Provide alternatives to distract them
- Make sure they’re well-fed and water is available
- Try closing curtains or blinds to limit the number of barking triggers they see
Limit Dog Barks When Confined
If you’re trying to crate-train a puppy, they may bark because they want to be let out. The best way to handle this is by being patient and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend in their crate.
Put the crate in a common area of the house where there are other people around. It’s best to do this after you get your dog tired at a dog park or outside.
Acclimate Your Dog to Their Trigger
Does your dog’s barking have a particular trigger? My Lhasa Apso hated loud music, so the best strategy was to play music whenever I was around her. I didn’t blast it right away, but I gradually increased the volume until she was able to literally sleep right through it.
If your dog doesn’t like loud noise, you can try to get them used to the sounds by starting low and getting louder. If they hate the pizza delivery guy, put them on a leash and let them wait at the door when he delivers each time.
Get your dog a little closer to him each time until you know it’s safe, and they’ll realize it’s safe too.
Encourage and Reward Alternative Behavior
If your dog constantly barks at other dogs through a fence, your first instinct is to go out there and start yelling at them to be quiet, but that only rewards the negative behavior. Instead, try to use your quiet command to tell your furry friend to stop barking and then encourage them to do something else in the yard.
Spend Plenty of Time With Them
Sometimes your dog’s barking is due to boredom, so the more stimulation you can provide them, the better off you’ll be. A tired dog is a quiet dog, so try to tire them out whenever possible.
By giving your pup plenty of attention when you’re around, they won’t feel as upset when you leave or aren’t able to play with them. Puzzle games are a great solution for your dog when you can’t be with them.
Ignore Your Dogs Bark
I am not a big fan of this strategy, but sometimes it works. If nothing seems to work with training your dog and they’re still barking a lot. Try ignoring them. I think this method will work best if they’re barking at you and not other people or things.
Chances are, if they look right at you and bark, it’s because they want your attention, and you need to show them that this is not the proper way to get it.
Consult a Professional Dog Trainer
When all else fails, contact a certified professional dog trainer. Most importantly, don’t think of yourself as a failure if this happens. Not all training techniques work, and sometimes you need the personal expertise of someone who deals with varying behavioral issues every day.
Tips to Follow to Stop Your Dog From Barking
Here are some tips to help guide you through many of the methods outlined in this article:
- Avoid Shouting and Violence – You can’t fight fire with fire when it comes to a dog. Your dogs barking shouldn’t be matched with more loudness.
- Use Positive Reinforcement – Always reward your dog for good behavior. If you go outside and your dog doesn’t bark at other dogs, reward them right away and make sure they know why. You’re the pet parent; you’re in control.
- Be Patient and Consistent – The key to every training program is consistency and patience. You may lose your cool at some point but try your best to stay calm, instruct your dog frequently, and use the same verbal commands over and over.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about barking.
How to Stop Nuisance Dog Barking?
Follow all of the tips outlined in this guide if you don’t want your dog to keep barking. Don’t expect results to happen right away, but it’s important that you get to the root cause of the problem by understanding why they bark.
I don’t recommendusing shock collars to get your dog to be quiet. The most important thing is still that you love your dog, and punishing them in this way isn’t the solution.
When Should I Start Training My Dog Not to Bark?
You should start as soon as the barking becomes a problem. Keep in mind that this won’t apply to everyone. Some dogs don’t bark that much, while others will bark at everything.
Should I Give Medications to My Dog for Excessive Barking?
I don’t recommend it unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you live in an apartment complex and you’re being threatened with eviction, then you might have to come up with a solution. As I said, I recommend trying CBD and other natural methods before resorting to prescription medication.
How to Handle Excessive Whining?
If your dog whines a lot, it could mean you have a tired dog, or this is an attention-seeking habit. They want you to look at them, and they whine because they know you will. Try to ignore them as much as possible.
Now, you know how to train a dog to stop barking! There’s always an underlying reason why our dogs bark, and it’s our job as pet owners to figure it out. Once you’ve determined some of the causes behind the crazy barking, it’s time to tackle it before the problem gets out of control and the neighborhood starts holding meetings about you (seriously, I’ve seen it happen).
Best of luck, and remember to always stay cool, calm, and collected!