How to Stop Excessive Dog Barking
When your dog starts barking unnecessarily and excessively, should you begin shouting at him/her to be quiet? If they hear your irritation, will they understand that you want them to stop? Probably not! Your dog may interpret your loudness as you joining in his “fun”, and you most likely will stimulate him with your shouting. So that won’t help. So, what should you do?
Let’s just start by saying…your dog is going to bark! That’s what dog’s do, it’s how they communicate with you.
They bark to:
- To warn you or to tell you something isn’t quite right
- To protect their territory
- To greet you
- Because they’re excited
- Because they’ve been startled or surprised
Barking for these reasons is totally acceptable and they rarely last too long.
Why dogs bark excessively…
- They could be looking for attention
- They could be feeling bored or lonely – dogs are social animals, so when they are bored or lonely they are unhappy – they need stimulation
- They could be experiencing separation anxiety
- They could be reacting to other dogs in the neighborhood or area who are barking
Tips to help the barking stop…
The key to helping your dog develop better habits is understanding what his motivation is, and then you can help him correct his noisy behavior.
- You should be the one in control, a benevolent, but confident leader. By remaining calm and keeping your voice lowered, you are not following your dog’s lead, but will expect him to follow yours.
- Follow through with your efforts. Don’t get your dog calmed down and then walk away before you’re sure he is permanently calm. The barking could resume in a minute or so, and if you have walked away, it’s easier to try to ignore the noise rather than go back and calm him down again. Be consistent so your dog knows what to expect and how you expect him to respond to you.
- Be sure your dog has plenty of exercise both physical and mental. Keep your dog challenged and he will be more satisfied and much quieter.
- Recognize if there is a pattern to your dog’s excessive barking, maybe it’s people or animals outside the living room window. Remove the motivation by moving the dog to another part of the house or closing the curtains. Do this consistently to give your dog the message that this is unnecessary and unacceptable.
- If this doesn’t work, you may need to kennel your dog until he calms down. While he is in the kennel, don’t give him any attention that he may interpret as your approval.
- If your dog has a tendency to bark at other dogs, it might be helpful to arrange controlled meetings with other dogs until he is more comfortable around them.
- Teach your dog the commands “speak” and “quiet”. By doing this, you can help your dog understand when barking is appropriate.
My best advice: Cheese and Hot dogs!
Often times when dogs are barking excessively, it’s because they are afraid. Watch for whatever triggers their barking, such as other dogs, and keep a farther distance from them. What if your dog feels fearful when the doorbell rings? Feed them cheese and/or hot dogs. It may sound funny, but it really works. Be proactive and creative, once you have identified the trigger, begin the process. If it’s the doorbell, don’t wait for it to ring, ring it yourself, then drop the cheese for your dog and walk away as if nothing happened. Repeat the exercise a few times. This kind of training is very effective. For example, Chubb, an English Bulldog now only barks twice and is happy when people ring the doorbell. The power of association is huge!
One of the smartest things you can do is enroll your dog in some training classes where trained professionals will be able to help you socialize your dog.
At Pawsitive Steps Dog Training, our training techniques are based around one simple question:
What do you want and expect from your dog?
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are under given circumstances and situations. Check out our Family Friendly Training Classes.