Dogs bark for lots of reasons but there are times when it can get tiring if your dog barks a lot.
It can also be concerning if you have neighbours who may complain about barking dogs.
There are many different reasons for a dog barking and it is important to try and understand why your dog barks before you try to work out how to stop him.
When we look at how to get a dog to quit barking we have to figure out why he barks, what causes it and how we can help him to understand that we don’t need or want him to bark. There are various things that you can do to stop your dog barking.
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Why do dogs bark?
Barking is perfectly normal behaviour for dogs and, if he is barking then he is normal and is being a dog.
If your dog is barking then there is a reason for it and working out the reason will help you to deal with his barking if it is becoming a nuisance.
When a dog barks he is communicating with us and with others that may be around. A dog will bark when:
- He hears a noise and is disturbed
- When he is reaching out to other dogs or in response to other dogs reaching out
- Barking occurs when your dog expresses emotions – excitement for example
- Dogs love their own territory and if it is ‘invaded’ by strangers, then its likely that he will bark
- They will also bark to get their owners attention
Any type of noise can trigger barking in a dog, a car door slamming, thunder, something falling off a shelf or someone knocking at the door.
Some dogs will bark when they are upset, anxious, perhaps left on their own, they can also bark when they are bored or scared of something.
Barking is normal behaviour for a dog and is their way of communicating with us. However if your dog is barking a lot or at certain times of the day or in certain situations, then there may be a problem that you need to help him with.
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How to stop your dog from barking
Work out what is causing him to bark
The first thing to get a dog to quit barking is to work out what the cause is.
- Is he barking in certain situations because he is frightened of something?
- Does your dog bark to get your attention?
- Are there things disturbing him and he is protecting his territory?
- When he is alone is he barking because he is bored or anxious?
It is important to remember that dogs do not see the world the same way that we do and, as an example, the vacuum cleaner which to us is a cleaner may look like a long nosed monster to your dog that makes fierce noises and smells funny.
Some dogs bark at cars, others at lawnmowers and so on, the list is endless and your dog may do similar things.
What we need to try and do as owners is figure out the cause of the barking before we try to stop it.
Help your dog to change his response
When you have worked out the reasons for your dog barking you need to begin to help him to change his behaviour.
The best way for a dog to ‘learn’ is through reward based training. This is simply a way to show your dog that when he does what we want ( which is good ) then he gets a reward.
To do this properly you have to expose your dog to the thing that makes him bark and, whenever he does not bark, he gets a reward.
So, for example, if he barks when someone knocks on the door, we re-create the situation and have someone knock on the door. Encourage your dog to stay quiet by re-assuring him ( don’t shout, because if you do he will think you are joining in with the barking), when he is quiet, give him one of his favourite treats.
Every time your dog is quiet reward him. If he barks, as hard as it may be, you need to ignore him.
If your dog is barking to get your attention, you should ignore him and maybe turn away and not give him any attention until he is quiet.
You may have read about anti barking collars or whistles or sprays but these are really cruel and bad ways to try and stop a dog barking and can often lead to other, more serious problems.
Deal with your dog's home
Working with your dog to help him to stop barking is a great start but there are other things that you might need to do to help him around the house.
If you think that your dog barks because he is bored when you are not in then a good place to start would be to take him for a good walk before you leave. This will tire him out and he will goto sleep.
Get some toys for him to play with while you are out and make sure that he has a clean, comfortable bed and plenty of water.
KONG DOG TOYS are great for keeping a dog entertained, you fill them with treats and the dog will spend ages working out how to get the treats out of the toy.
Some dogs will bark due to the anxiety of being left on their own. If you think that this is the reason for your dog barking then you could find a local dog walking service or sitter that could look after your dog.
Or you could explore local dog day care centers where your dog could spend a few hours.
Dogs like company and if your dog is left alone for long periods of time he could get worried.
Sometimes a simple thing such as leaving a TV or radio on can provide your dog with the company and stimulation that he needs.
If you live near to the street then your dog could be barking at people walking past, try covering the window or drawing the curtains so that he doesn’t see them.
Speak to your vet
In some cases it may be that you need to see your vet, this may be for help with training or to make sure that your dog is not suffering from a medical condition.
Sometimes medication can be required for some dogs that are compulsive barkers and you may also need help from a professional canine behaviourist.
If you are in any doubt or you are struggling to identify why your dog is barking then you should always consult your vet.
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Your dog is important to you and is a valued member of your family. If he is barking a lot then you need to try and help him before it becomes a serious problem.
We have looked at a number of things on how to get a dog to quit barking such as training, prevention and if necessary speaking with the vet.
Keep your dog busy, give him plenty of exercise and get him some good dog toys, and work on his training too.
Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API