5 Tips to Help Your Dog Stop Barking
17 February, 2014

If your dog barks incessantly, it can drive you and your neighbors crazy!  While this a hard habit to break, it can be done.  And, of course, the longer your dog has been barking, the longer it will take your pup to change this behavior.  However, to even get started on your mission, you need to find out the when and the why of the barking.

Below are 5 tips to help:

1. Try to remove the cause or motivation

Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks even if it is just your reaction to your dog’s barking. Otherwise, your pup wouldn’t do it. Figure out what your dog gets out of barking and remove it. There has to be a reason he is barking and it is important that you don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue this behavior.

2. Teach your dog the “quiet” command

The first step of this technique is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then place his favorite treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.”

Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

3. Ignore the barking

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop; don’t give him any attention when he’s barking. Your reaction only rewards your dog for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When your dog finally quiets down, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.

For this to work, you need to wait as long as it takes for your dog to stop barking. If your dog barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. You reward your pup when the barking is done.

4. Try to teach a command that automatically stops your dog from barking

When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Try to teach your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed is a great way to stop the behavior.

5. Make sure to exercise your dog to keep him tired

Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on your dog’s age, it might take a lot of daily walks as well as playing with some interactive toys to keep him or her quiet.

With time and patience, your dog will stop barking if you can find the cause and/or teach him not to with rewards and discipline.  Remember that you should never yell at your dog to be quiet as it is counterproductive.  Always keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.  Be consistent in using the same training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately.

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