We all know how it goes.
You leave your dog at home for a couple hours and come back to complaints from your neighbors about excessive barking.
Or, the delivery guy rings the doorbell and your dog goes ballistic and almost scares him away.
Embarrassing, right? Nobody wants to look like they can’t control their dog!
So today we’ve got some surefire strategies for you to try out next time your dog barks because let’s be real, it’ll probably be in the next 2 minutes.
It’s unrealistic to expect that your dog will never bark – it’s their language after all! Barking is natural, it’s only when it becomes excessive that it can be problematic.
The first step to stopping your dog from barking excessively is to understand why he/she is barking.
Some common barking triggers are:
- Feeling afraid or startled
- Wanting attention
- Feeling bored or restless
- Experiencing separation anxiety
- Feeling territorial
Deal with it right off the bat
The longer a dog is allowed to do something, the harder it will be for him/her to break the habit. So address barking as soon as you notice it’s becoming a bad habit for your pup.
Have you ever noticed that when one dog barks, another answers? If you answer your dog’s barking by raising your voice, he/she will think you’re trying to join in on the fun! Instead, take a deep breath, and speak with an even-keeled, firm voice.
Use a “quiet” command word
Help your dog associate silence with reward and he/she will be less likely to bark! When your dog is barking, firmly use a command word such as “quiet” or “stop” and then wait until he/she stops barking and immediately reward with a treat. Keep this up consistently and your pup will eventually learn to stop barking when you use your command word.
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A lot of the time dogs bark because they’re trying to get our attention. If you want to discourage excessive barking, avoid giving your dog any attention (i.e. petting, talking, looking) when he/she is barking. The second the barking stops, however, you should be rewarding him/her with tons of praise and treats. Similar to the command word strategy, your pup will eventually learn that staying quiet keeps the attention on him/her.
Some dogs need to have their barking interrupted because it requires a lot of their attention. When your pup starts to bark, firmly call out his/her name and give a command that he/she can’t do easily while barking, such as ‘lie down’ or ‘paw’. Immediately reward him/her for this trick. This will break the chain of barking and distract your dog long enough that he/she won’t remember what he/she was barking at!
Mask the stimulus
Something is setting your dog off, whether that’s exciting noises or seeing neighbors walking around outside. Limit your dog’s exposure to these stimuli by masking them with louder sounds (i.e. the radio or a fan nearby) or by simply closing your blinds. Out of sight (or hearing), out of mind!
Tire him/her out
Your dog can’t bark if he’s too busy napping! Some dogs bark out of boredom or excessive energy, so keeping your dog active can be a helpful strategy. Tire him/her out with a run in the park or walk around the blog before you head out the door. Better yet, fill his/her kong with some peanut butter so that he/she is keeping busy even when you’re gone. Keeping your dog mentally and physically challenged is key in having a pooched pup!
And there you have it! Simple strategies for eliminating excessive barking.
Did we miss any of your go-to strategies? Leave ’em in the comments below!
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