Barking is one of the most common forms of communication used by dogs, but let’s be honest, it can be annoying, especially when you’re trying to watch your favorite show or have a conversation with someone. But fear not! There are a ton of techniques you can use to redirect or end your dog’s unwanted barking. So, grab your furry friend, and let’s get started!
Positive reinforcement requires patience and time and may not solve the problem completely. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that barking is a natural behavior for dogs. So, we don’t want to punish them for it, but rather, redirect their attention to something else. One way to do this is through positive reinforcement. When your dog is quiet, reward them with something they like, especially your kind eye contact and verbal praise. This will help your dog understand that being quiet is a good thing. Treats can be a good motivator, but be careful with this as a smart dog can bark and then stop in order to get a treat.
Ignore the barking
It is not recommended to ignore the barking if you have neighbors who will be annoyed. These techniques are recommended for young puppies who cannot be challenged with negative reinforcement. Another way to redirect barking is to simply ignore it. Dogs often bark for attention, so if you don’t give them any, they’ll eventually stop. When your dog starts barking, turn your back and pretend like you don’t hear them. Once they stop barking, turn around and reward them with kind eye contact and verbal praise.
Train a “quiet” command
Teaching your dog a “quiet” command can also be effective. Start by saying “quiet” in a calm but firm tone. When your dog stops barking, reward them with praise or a treat. With consistent practice, your dog will learn to associate the command with the action of stopping barking. You can also teach a “talk” or “bark” command. This is fun and may not really help teach the dog to be quiet.
Exercise and mental stimulation
Dogs often bark out of boredom or excess energy, so providing enough exercise and mental stimulation is crucial. Take your dog for walks, play fetch, or enroll them in a dog training class. A tired dog is a happy, quiet dog. Obedience training like long-distance down-stays will really help your dog focus and watch you for commands. I recommend that you warn your dog for barking by saying SHHH in a warning tone, and if the barking does not stop, then command your dog to sit, down, down-stay, and come. Being consistent with this will teach your dog that you are in charge and that SHHH is a command. This technique is the best because it solves attention-seeking behavior or excitement and replaces it with obedience. The key to this is that your dog is wearing a leash when it is barking and is not too overly excited (i.e., UPS driver at the front door), where obedience commands will be ignored. If your dog does not respond to obedience commands, you need to invest the time in training daily and slowly increasing the distractions, duration, and distance your dog can tolerate on the down-stay.
Identify the trigger
Finally, it’s essential to identify what triggers your dog’s barking. Do they bark when the doorbell rings? Or when someone walks by the window? Once you identify the trigger, you can work on desensitizing your dog to it. For example, if your dog barks at the doorbell, try ringing it multiple times a day until they get used to the sound. Also, consider not letting your dog perform any unwanted barking when you are not home. This way, triggers do not increase. It is easy for a dog who barks at dogs passing by the house to become unruly on walks when it sees other dogs. You may need to block your dog’s view of passing dogs and humans.
Indoors is best saved to use a no-bark collar instead of a firm correction from the owner. We recommend this Dogtra no-shocking vibration-only anti-bark collar. If barking when you are not home poses a problem, and the dog walker or doggie daycare does offer a solution, Dogtra makes a reliable anti-bark collar suitable for small and large dogs alike. Do not let your dog play with other dogs or be walked on a leash while wearing these collars. Use the SHHH tone as you put the collar on and say Good SHHH as you remove it so your dog knows you are putting it on as a punishment for barking. These collars are much more effective and reliable than collars made in China, ultrasonic or citronella alternatives. The dog will not associate you with a correction (like a remote e-collar) and will know the collar itself is correcting the barking. Use the lowest possible setting and consider having an interactive camera to observe your dog. It is always best not to choose this route, but both of these collars have excellent reviews on Amazon.com.
In conclusion, barking is a natural behavior for dogs, but it doesn’t have to be a constant annoyance. With these simple techniques, you can redirect or end your dog’s unwanted barking and enjoy a quieter, happier home with your furry friend. So, start practicing today, and remember, a well-trained dog is a happy dog! Did you enjoy these tips? If so, please feel free to share them and we look forward to helping you have the best dog possible.