It’s in a dog’s nature to bark, and some breeds may bark more than others. Please note that a dog will never stop barking completely, but luckily there are techniques and tips you can use to help reduce the amount of barking coming from your four-legged friend if you’re struggling to reduce barking.
Since dogs can’t talk to tell us how they are feeling, they use barks instead. Other forms of vocality from dogs include woofs, growls, pants, sighs, whines and whimpers. Their communication, in this instance, barking, can mean many different things. The first part of being able to stop your dog from barking too much is to understand what they are trying to communicate with their bark.
Find Out Why Your Dog Is Barking
Dogs bark for many reasons and once you begin to understand why your dog is barking, you start to work on and remove the barking motivator.
Does your dog bark when…
- When someone visits your door or comes into your house?
- At animals that come into your garden, like birds and cats?
- When they spot someone walking past your house?
- When they are left on their own?
- They want attention?
- When they are bored?
- Or towards other dogs and people when you are out e.g. on a walk?
Your dog is trying to communicate something they’re experiencing. This could be any of the following: fear, boredom, separation anxiety, playfulness or perhaps they are feeling territorial over something.
Top Tips to Stop Your Dog from Barking
Use the following tips and with time, work, practice and consistency you will be able to help stop your dog from barking.
- Teach ‘Recall’ to your dog.
This should be a word that you use in training that gets your dog’s attention and they come to you instead of the thing they are barking at e.g. a bird or cat. You should reward your dog when they are successful with recall - this will enforce this behaviour and your dog will learn that something positive happens when they come to you when they are called.
2. Change their view.
If your dog barks out the window or at passerby’s, block their vantage point and offer an alternative space for your dog. This could mean moving them away from the window, physically blocking their view by standing in the way or closing window blinds.
If you’re out for a walk and this type of barking occurs, try using positive recall to distract and calm your dog. You can change their view by crossing the road or standing still in front of your dog and waiting for the passerby to walk on, perhaps up the kerb a bit and out of the way.
3. Don’t leave your dog home alone for too long.
Dogs are social creatures and like to be around their family and pack. Leaving your dog alone for short periods is fine, but you shouldn’t really aim to leave your dog alone for an extended period of time if you can help it.
If you think your dog might have severe separation anxiety or over-protective tendencies that are causing both of you stress, a qualified dog-behavioral therapist will be able to consult with you and help you all work through this.
4. Keep Them Entertained
If you find your dog is barking out of boredom, chances are they aren’t being stimulated in their free time. This is the perfect opportunity to encourage playtime into their routine and up their exercise. Try using these scented toys for dogs of all sizes from Willy & Dilly.
5. Monitor Your Reaction
Keep an eye on how you react when your dog barks. Often when dog owners shout back at their dog, the dog understands this as though their owner is also barking. Which makes it pointless.
6. Train with Positive Reinforcement
Training your dog should be positive and upbeat, try to encourage this with positive reinforcement e.g using treats or giving extra pats.
7. Keep Training Consistent
Consistency is key, if you live in a house with other people make sure that you are all using the same training e.g. saying “quiet” instead of “shut-up” to your dog.
8. Limit Confusion
Don’t confuse your dog when training by letting them off with excessive barking sometimes and not others. Again, this all will take time, work, practice and consistency.
If your dog is excessively barking at other dogs, people, and you feel out of your depth with training, you should seek advice from a qualified dog behaviorist who can give their professional opinion and work with you and your dog.
We hope that these 8 Top Tips when used in training can help stop your dog from barking excessively. And don’t forget to shop Willy & Dilly toys for your dogs - they will love them!