Dogs bark. Everyone knows this is one of the things that dogs do, and it is entirely natural. Not all dogs are going to be problematic barkers, but when they are, you know you need to deal with it early. Fortunately, there are some simple techniques that you can use to help stop a dog from barking and becoming too much of a problem for you and your neighbors. Depending on your dog, some of these techniques are going to work better than others.
Remove the Motivation for Barking
In some cases, the reason the dog keeps barking is because they have been rewarded in the past for barking. If you always give the dog a treat when it stops barking, she’s not going to realize that it was for stopping barking. She will think that, well, she was barking, and she got a treat. So, she barks again when she wants a treat, thinking that she’s alerting you to it being treat time. The same would be true of any type of reward that you give the dog for stopping barking. Figure out what it is that is motivating the barking behavior, and then remove it.
Ignore the Behavior
If you give the dog any sort of attention for barking, it is reinforcing that behavior. Instead, you will want to completely ignore the dog when they are barking. Don’t speak to the dog, don’t hold or pet the dog, and don’t look at the dog. Once they have quieted down for a while, then, you can reward the dog and pay attention to them again.
Distract the Dog
When the dog starts to bark, you can distract them by requesting a behavior that is very different from barking. For example, if they start to bark, you can tell them to go and lay down, which will stop them from barking. Keep in mind that distractions are not going to work for all dogs. You will want to try other techniques in this list, as well, to see what works for your pet.
More Exercise for the Dog
One of the reasons that many dogs bark a lot, and even why some dogs destroy things in the home, is because they have too much built-up energy. They need to have some better ways to release all of that energy. This means getting out and walking more with the dog, and potentially playing more fetch or other running games. Find ways that you can challenge the dog physically, while still ensuring their safety, to help them burn off that extra energy. Then, they won’t have the energy to bark unless it is a real emergency.
Important Tips to Keep in Mind When Training
Before closing out the article, it’s important to remember some basic tips that you are going to want to employ when you are stopping the dog from barking, and when you are doing any training techniques.
- First, you need to be sure that you stay calm and that you don’t yell at the dog to get them to stop. If you are yelling, they are going to believe that they were right and that you are now barking alongside them. You need to make sure that you keep any type of training, even to stop barking, positive.
- It is also important that you are consistent. Otherwise, you are simply going to confuse the dog, which is the last thing that you want. Once you correct the behavior, you need to follow through. Everyone who is in the family needs to use the proper training methods whenever the dog is barking inappropriately. You can’t have exceptions to the rule because it will be very confusing to the dog.
Have you had (or do you have) a dog who won’t stop barking? What did you do to change the behaviour? Let us know in the comments below!