Barking is an essential part of any dog’s life. It’s how they communicate, let out energy, and warn that very suspicious-looking delivery man that they better not try anything funny. A dog’s bark can serve a good purpose as they warn off intruders, keep watch over you and your home, and let you know “your bomb—err…I mean package, from Amazon has arrived!”
Dogs rely on their barking and, in many ways, so do their owners. But what do you do when your dog’s sensitivity level to every sight, sound, and movement seems permanently set on “Attack” mode?
When your dog is constantly alerting you of every major (and minor) event, barking can become a nuisance. Hearing your dog bark incessantly and then ignore every request to stop is enough to drive any dog owner bananas.
If you have a bone to pick with your dog over their barking, we get how frustrating and even infuriating it can be. But, if you’re wondering “how do I get my dog to stop barking?” don’t worry, there are options! With these tips, you can learn how to curb your dog’s enthusiasm and trade the noise in for some nice peace and quiet.
Why Does My Dog Bark?
Dogs bark for many reasons. They may be expressing emotion, calling out to other dogs, being territorial or trying to get your attention. Any sound or movement that they detect as a potential threat is likely to stimulate the barking response such as a knock the the door, thunder, a voice outside, etc.
There are also a number of behavioral reasons your dog may bark:
Anxiety – If your dog is feeling especially anxious or unsure, this could cause them to bark more than necessary at things that trigger them. This is likely to happen if there has been a change in their environment or if they have separation anxiety.
Lack Of Confidence – Confidence is one behavior skill many dog owners overlook. Without the right level of healthy exposure to different situations and social settings, your dog may be overly sensitive and lack confidence in these situations. This could cause them to express themselves through excessive barking.
Boredom – This is a very likely cause of excessive barking. If your dog has not received adequate attention or exercise for the day they may simply be bored. Barking can be a way of letting out energy or calling out to other dogs in the neighborhood to strike up a conversation and keep themselves entertained.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Barking?
1. Control The Environment
If you are noticing a pattern in your dog’s barking habits but can’t control your dog, think about what you can do to control the environment. For example, if you know your friend is supposed to come over at a specific time, try putting your dog in their kennel or another room so that your dog isn’t there when they arrive. Then, you can either have your dog wait there or calmly introduce themselves to your guest after they arrive. Try using kennels, gates, or other barriers to keep your dog from accessing areas they are most likely to bark.
One of the biggest struggles with barking is that it often happens unexpectedly. You’re having a nice quiet afternoon when a neighborhood kid randomly comes to ring the bell and your dog goes insane. Since it’s impossible to plan for every potential trigger, a good solution is to simulate the same situation and help your dog practice. In order for your dog to develop the habit of controlling their barking, they need to be exposed to the trigger and taught how to manage their response.
Recruit some friends, family, the Amazon deliveryman, kids from down the street, or even strangers walking by to help you make it a normal part of life. Then, help your dog practice. Use a consistent command such as “quiet” and work with your dog to control their barking. When they can demonstrate that they are calm and quiet, reward them with praise or a treat to confirm that they did it right. Try working at this as many times as it takes to help your dog understand what you are asking them to do when you use the “quiet” command.
3. The “Go To Bed/Kennel” Command
Telling your dog to “Bed” or “Kennel” is a form of the “place” command and can be a great way to redirect your dog’s attention. At Dog Gone Amazing the “place” command means “sit here AND stay here until I release you.” You can work with your dog to learn to go to “bed” or “kennel” which means you are asking them to remove themselves from the situation and go lay in their bed and stay there until you release them.
This command takes a lot of practice but is a great tool in general for helping your dog control behavior and access a calm state of mind. You can work with your dog to learn “bed” or “kennel” by giving the command and then pointing them to their designated place. This can be a dog bed, a spot on the couch, their kennel, etc. You will practice this command by asking your dog to “bed” or “kennel” then showing them their bed/kennel and rewarding them once they are laying down. Practice this several times until your dog is able to walk over to bed from any place in the house when you give the command and stay there. They are not allowed to get up from that spot until you release them with the “break” command.
When they are barking, you can use this command and ask them to remove themselves from the situation and go to their bed/kennel. Telling your dog what to do instead of what NOT to do is much easier for them to process when they are excited. It can also be a great way to prevent barking by asking them to kennel up before guests arrive.
Can you help Get my dog To stop barking?
The examples above are some tools you can use yourself at home; however, it’s important to note that D.I.Y. dog training methods often require a lot of time and consistency on your part. Many dog owners struggle to control their dog’s barking simply because they don’t have the time or energy to invest in training their dogs to stop.
If this is the case, a dog training program with Dog Gone Amazing could be the best option for your dog. We offer in-home training and on-campus training programs where we work with your dog on the foundational skills they need to control their behavior and learn the skills necessary to not just obey commands but learn how to access a calm state of mind on their own.
If your dog’s barking is driving you berserk, it may just be best to nip it in the bud and help them learn the tools you both need to improve their behavior.