Many owners can identify why their dogs barking. Many others can not detect the different barks. That brings up the question on how to train a dog to stop barking?
A dogs bark sounds different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from outside. If you want to reduce your dogs barking, it is a must to determine why he’s barking. It will take some time to teach your dog to bark less. You shouldn not just expect a quick fix or to expect that your dog will stop barking altogether. Would you expect a person to suddenly stop talking altogether?
Your Goal And The Types Of Barking
Your goal should be to decrease, rather than eliminate, the amount of barking that your dog does. Bear in mind that some dogs are more prone to barking than others. Also, some breeds are known as barkers, and it can be harder to lower the amount of barking in these certain breeds.
There are many types of barking. Since that is important to know in order to accomplish our goal, here they are:
- Territorial Barking
- Alarm Barking
- Greeting Barking
- Social Barking
- Attention Seeking Barkiung
- Compulsive Barking
- Frustration Barking
Territorial behavior is often motivated by fear and anticipation. Defending territory is such a high priority to dogs, many are highly motivated to bark when they feel the approach of people or animals near places, like their home and/or yard. This high level of motivation means that when barking territorial, your dog might ignore unpleasant or punishing discipline from you such as yelling. Even if the barking itself is suppressed by punishment, your dogs motivation to guard his territory will remain strong, and he might attempt to control his territory in another way, such as biting without warning.
Dogs engage in territorial barking to alert others to the presence of visitors or to scare off intruders. They tend to do it for both reasons as well. A dog might bark when he/she sees or hears people coming to the door. The mail man or the maintenance person reading the gas meter. He may react to the sights or sounds of people and dogs passing by your house or apartment.
Some dogs get worked up when they are in the car and see people. You should be able to judge from your dogs body posture and behavior, whether he/she is barking to say “Welcome” or “You are not welcome at my place!”
For treatment of territorial barking, your dogs motivation should be reduced as well as his opportunities to defend his territory. To manage your dogs behavior, you will need to block his ability to see people and animals. Removable plastic or glass coatings can help to obscure your dogs view of areas that he observes and guards from within your house. Use secure, opaque fencing to surround outside areas your dog has access to. Do not allow your dog to greet people at the front door, or at your front yard gate. Instead, train him to go to a different location, like a crate or a mat, and remain quiet until he is invited to meet and greet in a proper manner
Alarm barking is very similar to territorial barking in that it is caused by sights and sounds. However, dogs who alarm bark might do so in response to things that startle or upset them when they are not in or around familiar ground. For example, a dog who barks territorial in response to the sight of strangers approaching will usually only do so when in his own home, yard or car. A dog who habitually alarm barks might vocalize when he sees or hears strangers approaching in other places, too. Although territorial barking and alarm barking are a little different, the recommendations below apply to both problems.
Treatment for Territorial & Alarm Barking
If your dog continues to alarm bark or bark territorial, despite your efforts to block his exposure to sights and sounds that might trigger his barking, try the following techniques:
Teach your dog that when someone comes to the door or passes by your property, he’s permitted to bark until you say “Quiet.” Allow your dog to bark three to four times. Then say “Quiet.” Avoid shouting. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle closed with your hand and repeat “Quiet.” Release your dogs muzzle, step away, and call him away from the door or window. Then ask your dog to sit and give him a treat.
If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes, until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If your dog resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence above. Do the same outside if he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard.
If you prefer not to hold your dog’s muzzle or if doing so seems to scare your dog or make him uneasy, try a different method. When your dog barks, approach him, calmly say “Quiet,” and then prompt his silence by feeding him a steady stream of tiny, pea-sized treats. After enough repetitions of this sequence, over several days or more of training, your dog will begin to understand what “Quiet” means. You will know that he is catching on if he consistently stops barking as soon as he hears you say “Quiet.”
At this point, you can gradually extend the time between the cue, “Quiet,” and your dogs reward. Say “Quiet,” wait a few seconds, and then feed your dog several small treats in a row. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the time from 2 seconds to 5, then to 10, then 20, and so on.
If the “Quiet” procedure is ineffective after 12-15 attempts, then allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times, calmly say “Quiet,” and then immediately make a noise by shaking a rattle or keys. If your dog is effectively startled by the sound, he will stop barking. The instant he does, call him away from the door or window, ask him to sit, and give him a treat.
If he stays beside you and remains quiet, continue to give him frequent treats for the next few minutes until whatever triggered his barking is gone. If he resumes barking right away, repeat the sequence. If this does not work after 12-15 attempts then you may want to consider seeking a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist.
If your dog barks at people or other dogs during walks, distract him with special treats before he begins to bark. Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he is walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to bark.
It may help to have your dog wear a head halter at times when he’s likely to bark. A halter can have a distracting or calming effect and make your dog less likely to bark. Make sure you reward him for not barking. For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.
If your dog most often barks territorial in your yard, keep him in the house during the day and supervise him when he’s in the yard so that he can not just bark his head off when no one is around. If he/she is sometimes able to engage in excessive alarm barking when you are not around, that behavior will get stronger and harder to reduce.
If your dog most often barks territorial in your car, teach him/her to ride in a crate while in the car. Riding in a crate will restrict your dogs view and reduce his motivation to bark. If crating your dog in your car is not feasible, try having your dog wear a head halter in the car instead.
If your dog barks at people coming to the door, at people or something walking by your place, at people or dogs he/she sees on walks, and/or at people or things he/she sees through the fence, and his barking is followed by whining, tail wagging and other signs of friendliness, your dog is more than likely barking to say hello. He/she most likely barks the same way when family gets home.
Keep greetings low. Teach your dog to sit and stay when meeting people at the door so that he/she has something to do instead of barking. This will lower his excitement level. First teach him/her to sit and stay when there are not any people at the door, so that they know the behavior well before you ask him to do it without the distraction and excitement of real visitors being there.
If your furry friend likes toys, keep a favorite toy near the front door and encourage him/her to pick up the toy before they greet you or company. If he/she learns to hold a toy in their mouth, they will be less inclined to bark.
On walks or runs, teach your dog that he can walk or run past people and dogs without meeting them. To do this, distract your dog with special treats, before he/she begins to bark. Show your dog the treats by holding them in front of his nose, and encourage him to nibble at them while he is walking past a person or dog who would normally cause him to bark. Some dogs do best if you ask them to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Make sure you praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he chooses not to bark.
Dogs are social animals, so it is natural for them to bark when they hear others barking. You can discourage this tendency by keeping your dog indoors when other dogs are barking, by playing music to drown out the sound of other dogs, and by distracting your dog with treats or play when other dogs barking.
Attention Seeking Barking
One reason that it’s so easy to live with dogs is that they are very expressive. They find a way to let us know their needs. They often do this by barking. We find it desirable when they bark to ask to go outside or to request that their water bowl be filled. It is less attractive, when your dog barks to demand everything, need it or not. This form of barking does not happen by accident.
A demanding, noisy dog has been taught to be this way, usually not on purpose by any means, usually by accident. To get your dog to stop, you will need to consistently and constantly not reward him for barking. Don’t try to figure out exactly why he is barking. Ignore him instead. Treatment for this kind of barking can be tough because most of the time pet parents unknowingly back up the behavior. Sometimes just with eye contact, touching, or talking to their dogs.
To your pal, all of these human behaviors can count as rewarding attention. Try to use clear body language to tell your dog that his attention seeking barking is going to NOT WORK. When your dog starts to bark for attention, you can stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog. Walk out of the room. The instant your dog stops barking, ask him to sit and then give him what he wants, whether that is attention, playing, Something good to eat or treats, to go outside or to come in.
To be successful, try your best to NOT reward your dog for barking at you again. In some cases, it’s easiest to teach your dog an alternative behavior. For instance, if you don’t want your dog to bark when he needs to go out or come in, get a doggy door installed or teach him to ring a bell hanging on a door by touching it with his nose or paw.
If your dog barks to get you to play with him/her, teach them to bring a toy and sit in front of you. Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid problems by eliminating the things that cause your dog to bark. If your dog barks to ask you to retrieve his toys from under the sofa, block the space so that the toys will not get stuck beyond his reach. If your dog barks at you when you are talking on the telephone or working on the computer, give him a tasty chew bone to occupy him before he starts to bark.
You can also teach your dog to be silent on command. This will help strengthen the association between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Your dog should always be quiet before receiving attention, play or treats. By giving your dog a guaranteed method of getting attention, he/she is no longer forced to bark for attention.
Dogs occasionally become compulsive barkers, meaning they bark in situations that aren’t considered normal or they bark in a repetitive way. If your dog barks repeatedly for long periods of time, apparently at nothing or at things that would not bother other dogs, such as shadows, light flashes, mirrors, open doors, or so on, you may have a compulsive barker. If your dog also does other repetitive behaviors like spinning, circling or jumping while barking, he may be a compulsive barker as well.
To help reduce compulsive barking, you can try changing how you pin your dog. If your dog is tied, you can switch to keeping him loose in a safe fenced area, or if he/she is left alone for long periods of time, you should increase exercise, mental stimulation and social contact.
Dogs often bark when they find themselves frustrated from getting to something they want. A frustrated dog might bark in his yard because he/she wants to get out and play with someone or something. An aggravated dog might bark and run the fence line with the dog next door, bark by door or window while watching a cat or squirrel messing around in the yard.
Some dogs bark at other dogs on walks because they want to play, or they bark at you to get them to move faster when getting ready to go for walks. The most effective way for discouraging frustrated barking is to teach a frustrated dog to control his impulses through technical training. You can teach your dog to wait, sit, and stay before getting access to fun activities like walks, playing with other dogs or chasing squirrels.
You know there are many reasons for your pal to get an attitude or raise his voice at you. You need to be able to identify that before you can act towards treating it. We hope this article helped with that, if it does not and you are still having trouble, you may want to seek a professional animal behaviorist.
Please if you have ANY questions or comments, leave them below. Happy Tails, Happy Trails!