How to Stop a Dog From Barking
As a pet parent, you've probably wondered at one time or another how to stop a dog from barking.
Luckily, there are several ways to successfully train your dog not to bark. Before we get started, it's important to note that, while each of the techniques detailed here can help to control a dog's barking, it will take time and dedication to effectively reverse the behavior. And as with any dog training session, be sure to stay positive and encouraging when working with them.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
To start, you'll want to establish what is causing your pup to bark in the first place. There are a variety of reasons your dog may be barking:
- As an alert – they see or sense something that is new to them
- As a way to show excitement – they see a friend or are happily playing with another pup
- As a defense mechanism – something is making them feel anxious or fearful
- As a way to get your attention
- As a way to amuse themselves – usually to alleviate boredom
As you can see, barking is one of your dog's most important (and effective) communication tools, and not all barking habits are bad. It's easy to understand appropriate barking in certain situations, but there are also times when that behavior isn't desired. And it's important for your dog to understand that habitual, incessant barking is not allowed.
How to Train a Dog Not to Bark Through Positive Training
In order to successfully stop dog barking, you will need to define and train an alternate, positive behavior. This should include techniques that work to make dog training an enjoyable and rewarding activity for them.
Much like their human parents, dogs thrive on positive reinforcement, and will repeat behaviors that bring them desirable outcomes -- and that includes barking. Remember, there's always a reason your dog is barking. Determining the cause is vital to managing their behavior.
For example, your dog might start to bark whenever they hear your doorbell ring. When this happens, start by thanking them for alerting you of the new visitor, then redirect them to another behavior, such as the "sit" command, or telling them to "go to your spot" – their crate or a mat.
Give them plenty of praise and positive reinforcement, such as treats, when choosing the appropriate behavior. This aids in guiding your pup to desirable behaviors, because they are rewarded each time which will reinforce that behavior to happen again.
Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation; a dog with pent-up energy may be more likely to excessively bark. The breed of your dog will also play a factor in the amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation that is required.
For example, a Border Collie or similar working breed will demand far more exercise and stimulation than a more laid-back breed such as a Basset Hound. Taking walks, playing ball and just being active with you will help your dog to regulate barking during quieter times.
Some dogs benefit from being taught a "speak" cue. Your ultimate goal is to introduce both a "speak" and a "quiet" cue. Once the dog understands the difference, the "quiet" cue can possibly be used to silence unwanted barking .
Dog Training Collars and Resources
If your dog's bad barking habits have gone untreated for a long period of time, they might require more work to change. Dogs learn best when presented with long-term, consistent guidance from their parents— one-time "quick fixes" usually aren't effective.
Working with a professional trainer can be beneficial for both you and your pup to redirect their ingrained barking habits. Professional Dog Trainers work with many types of dogs and can help you in determining the cause of your pet's behavior and provide positive solutions for changing it.
Additionally, your pet might benefit from a special training collar. There are many types of dog training collars and devices available that can help to reverse unwanted barking behaviors. An ultrasonic collar features a sensor that detects when your dog is barking and emits a frequency only they can hear to correct the problem. Likewise, spray collars discharge a burst of mist that discourages barking. If your pup's problem barking mainly occurs in your home, they may benefit from a table or wall-mounted ultrasonic training system.
When you're ready to curb your pup's barking enthusiasm, you can learn more about Petco's positive dog training and find a class at your nearest store. For special collars to help with at-home training, check out Petco's selection of dog training collars.