How to train a dog not to bark
If you're tired of your dog barking both day and night at seemingly random things, we've got some tips on how to train a dog not to bark. Through both simple training and management solutions, you too can train your pet and make progress towards a less barky future.
Why do dogs bark?
Dogs bark when they feel threatened, when they want to play, they need attention, to communicate or to signal danger. Genetics may also play a part of your dog's likelihood to bark.
Dogs bark all the time, but if your dog is barking a little too much, there may be certain triggers that are continually causing this. Lets delve deeper into problem barking.
What causes problem barking?
Problem barking can range from dogs trying to warn owners of something they think is dangerous, or to self soothe in times of stress. Alarmed barking can often be territorial, from excitement, or frustration. Here is a list of some of the common reasons for barking:
- Excitement: Triggered by mealtimes, play or going for a ride in the car.
- Attention seeking: Barking to get your attention, food, toys, or access to outside.
- Territorial: A response to someone or something entering a dog’s turf.
- Play barking: The excitement of having fun with you or canine friends can tip over into barking.
- Alarm: A response to a startle, like a sudden unexpected noise.
- Frustration: Barking to indicate powerlessness or irritation, like if your dog’s ball rolls under the couch and he can’t reach it.
- Boredom: Dogs that don't get enough exercise or feel under-stimulated will bark to self-soothe or to stay “busy.”
- Fear: Fear barks sound scary but are an attempt to maintain or increase distance from something frightening.
- Separation: Frustration barking at being left alone.
How to Train a Dog Not to Bark
Unfortunately there is no one single approach that works in all cases. However, through simple management and training techniques listed below, training a dog not to bark or bark less can easily be achieved.
Block Your Dog’s View
If your dog constantly barks at what they see out the window, block their view. First, close the blinds. Then, gradually raise the blinds over the course of two weeks.
Provide Busy Toys
If your dog is barking because of boredom or separation distress, they can benefit from hard rubber toys that keep them distracted. Or, treat dispensing toys are another great tool to keep their attention.
White Noise Machines
A steady, unchanging sound can mask sounds that a dog may find alarming like cars outside or people walking by.
Place a treat inside your fist and hold it in front of your dogs nose so he can smell it but can't get to it. Once your dog stops barking to sniff the treat, say "hush" and toss the treat a few steps away from them. Repeat the process until you can say "hush" without needing the hand prompt and then give them the treat. Gradually ask your dog to do more in order to get the treat, like coming to you and waiting quietly.
Ignore the Barking
The simplest reason a dog may be barking at you is just for your attention. They may be trying to get a reaction from you. Whether its "hurry up karen throw the damn ball" or "give me my food" ; they may just want some acknowledgement from you when they bark. The easiest way to avoid this is to ignore them completely. Walk out of the rum, turn away, drop the ball - do something opposite so they know barking won't get what they want.
Add More Exercise
All dogs can benefit from more exercise. Exercise is good for both mental and physical well being. A dog who has had a good workout will be less likely to bug you or want your attention. A tired dog, is a quiet dog.
Reward the Absence of Barking
Make sure to start rewarding your dog when they are being quiet. If something peaks their interest outside and instead of barking, they look at you; reward them with a treat! Instead of barking, they should start looking at you instead. This is a great sign that not barking is a good thing for both you and them. If they wait patiently while you prepare their dinner, give them a treat. Simple rewards like this can have an everlasting affect on bark control.