If you’re wondering how to get a dog to stop barking, you’re not alone. The good news is… You CAN learn here how to eliminate unwanted behaviors. Dr. Dog teaches dog lovers how to train their dogs at home!
Some owners seem to want their dogs to stop barking, period; a good dog is a quiet dog, and the only time that barking’s permitted is when there’s a man in a black suit and striped prison outfit, clutching a haversack marked ‘Swag’, clambering in through your bedroom window.
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Dr. Fetko has the answers to your most difficult dog behavior issues, including excessive barking.
“Dr. Fetko, You have a keen insight into the finer points of canine behavior. It is not often that training methods are analyzed from the dog’s viewpoint. Your special knowledge is greatly appreciated.”
The following article was contributed:
While this is how “we” see the need for barking, dogs don’t see barking in quite the same light.
Your dog has a voice, just like you do, and she uses it just how you do too: to communicate something to the people she cares about. I don’t think that barking is necessarily a bad thing – in fact, I think it’s encouraging that my dog wants to “talk” to me, enough so that I can overlook the stentorian qualities of his voice (which, in enclosed spaces, is positively overpowering) in favor of his desire to communicate with me. It’s the thought that counts (even though I feel better-equipped to stand by this sanctimonious belief when my ears are sheltered safely behind industrial-quality ear-plugs).
Unfortunately, the language barrier between dogs and humans is pretty well impermeable, which means it’s up to us to use the context, the body language of our dogs, and the circumstances of the vocalization to parse meaning from a volley of barks. Sometimes we need help in dealing with resistant or difficult dogs. Really, it’s more about understanding the WHY, more than the dog being a bad dog.
It’s not easy to say (it’s like trying to answer the question, “Why do humans talk?” in so many words). Let’s start off by saying that dogs bark for many different reasons. A lot of it depends on the breed: some dogs were bred to bark only when a threat is perceived (this is true of guarding breeds in particular, like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds); some were bred to use their voices as a tool of sorts, to assist their owners in pursuit of a common goal (sporting breeds such as Beagles and Bloodhounds, trained to ‘bay’ when they scent the quarry), and some dogs just like to hear themselves talk (take just about any of the toy breeds as an example of a readily-articulate dog!).
However, all breed specificities cast aside, there are some circumstances where just about any dog will give voice:
- She’s bored
- She’s lonely
- She’s hungry, or knows it’s time for a meal
- Something is wrong/someone is near the house
- She’s inviting you to play
- She sees another animal
- She needs the toilet
If your dog is barking for any of these reasons, it’s not really realistic for you to try to stop her: after all, she’s a dog, and it’s the nature of all dogs to bark at certain times and in certain situations.
Presumably you were aware of this when you adopted your friend (and, if total silence was high on your list of priorities, you’d have bought a pet rock, right?). Of course, there are times when barking isn’t only unwarranted, it’s downright undesirable.
Some dogs can use their voices as a means of manipulation. Take this situation as an example: You’re lying on the couch reading a book. Your dog awakes from a nap and decides it’s time for a game. She picks up her ball, comes over, and drops it in your lap.
You ignore her and keep on reading. After a second of puzzled silence, she nudges your hand with her nose and barks once, loudly. You look over at her – she assumes the ‘play-bow’ position (elbows near the floor, bottom in the air, tail waving) and pants enticingly at you.
You return to your book. She barks again, loudly – and, when no response is elicited, barks again. And this time, she keeps it up. After a minute or so of this, sighing, you put down your book (peace and quiet is evidently not going to be a component of your evening, after all), pick up the ball, and take her outside for a game of fetch.
She stops barking immediately. I’m sure you know that respect is an essential part of your relationship with your dog.
You respect her, which you demonstrate by taking good care of her regardless of the convenience of doing so, feeding her nutritious and tasty food, and showing your affection for her in ways that she understands and enjoys.
In order for her to be worthy of your respect, she has to respect you, too. Something that many kind-hearted souls struggle to come to terms with is that dog ownership is not about equality: it’s about you being the boss, and her being the pet. Dogs are not children; they are most comfortable and best-behaved when they know that you are in charge.
A dog has to respect your leadership to be a happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved pet. In the situation above, there was no respect being shown by the dog. She wasn’t inviting her owner to play; she was harassing her owner to play. In fact, I’d even say bullying.
And even worse, the behavior was being reinforced by the owner’s capitulation – effectively, giving in to this behavior taught her that to get what she wants, she has to make a noise – and she has to keep it up until her goal is achieved.
Affection and play-times are obviously necessary aspects of life with a dog, but they have to be doled out on your own terms. If she learns that she can get what she wants by barking, then your house is going to become a Noise Pollution Zone (and this is not going to endear you to your neighbors, either).
To prevent this bullying behavior in your dog from assuming a familiar role in her repertoire of communications, you have to prove to her that you’re not the kind of person that can be manipulated so easily. It’s simple to do this: all you have to do is ignore her.
I’m not talking about passive ignorance, where you pay her no attention and simply continue with whatever it was you were doing – you need to take more of an active role. This means conveying to her through your body language that she is not worthy of your attention when she acts in such an undesirable manner.
The absolute best and most effective thing for you to do in this case is to give her the cold shoulder. When she starts trying to ‘bark you’ into doing something for her, turn your back on her straight away. Get up, avert your eyes and face, and turn around so your back is towards her.
Don’t look at her, and don’t talk to her – not even a “no”. She’ll probably be confused by this, and will likely bark harder. This is particularly true if you’ve given in to her bully-barking in the past – the more times you’ve reinforced the behavior, the more persistent she’s going to be.
In fact, the barking will almost certainly get a lot worse before it gets better – after all, it’s worked for her the past, so it’s understandable that she’ll expect it to work again.
As in all aspects of dog training, consistency is very important. You must ensure that you don’t change your mind halfway through and give in to what she wants – because by doing so, you’re teaching her to be really, really persistent (“OK, so I just need to bark for ten minutes instead of five to get a walk,” is the message she’ll get).
But what can you do in other situations where bullying isn’t an issue and you just want her to stop the racket? If you want to get the message across that you’d like her to cease fire and be quiet, the most effective thing you can do is to be consistant.
How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking – A Few Options
There is the No Bark Collar that is highly effective for excessive dog barking. This really is helpful for dog owners who simply do not have the ability or time to invest in proper training. It doesn’t mean you’re a heartless or bad dog owner, it simply means you need some fast options and this is one of them.
The collar I recommend has a 4.4 out of 5 rating and excellent customer reviews. Plus, my good friend uses one on her little Shitzu and she is a happy little fluffy girl. Click here for more product detail.
As far as this particular No Bark Collar here’s what one customer says:
“These collars have 3 different ways to program them. One, the collar increases the shock level beginning from the lowest level when your dog starts barking and then escalates eight levels until the dog stops. The second program begins at the lowest level and escalates until your dog stops but reverts to the lowest level next time your dog starts barking.
This is the program we use. The third program gives him the same shock each and every time he barks. My wife and I preferred what we considered the most humane program, number 2, and it works great. The collar requires a sound and a vibration to buzz the dog which theoretically reduces false discharges.”
Common Solution – Exercise!
Exercise Daily can help your dog more than just about anything else when it comes to training your dog. Why? Because dogs get bored in the same ol setting day after day. Even if they have a huge yard, they can still become board. It’s like reading the same newspaper everyday. Not too exciting.
Most dogs function best with one and a half hours’ exercise every day, which is a considerable time commitment for you. Of course, this varies from dog to dog, depending on factors like breed, age, and general level of health.
You may think that your dog is getting as much exercise as she needs, or at least as much as you can possibly afford to give her – but if her barking is coupled with an agitated demeanor (fidgeting, perhaps acting more aggressively than you’d expect or want, restlessness, destructive behavior) then she almost definitely needs more.
When it comes to how to get a dog to stop barking, this of course is the simple solution. There are more difficult issues at stake, ones that require the help of a professional dog handler or trainer. You don’t have to hire one, you can simply download a copy of Dr. Dog’s dog training guide and start understanding how to train your dog to stop barking according to his or her specific issue.
Fortunately, the fix for how to get a dog to stop barking in many cases can be pretty simple: you’ll just have to exercise her more. Try getting up a half-hour earlier in the morning – it’ll make a big difference. If this is absolutely impossible, consider hiring someone to walk her in the mornings and/or evenings.
And if this is impossible too, then you’ll just have to resign yourself to having a loud, frustrated, and agitated dog (although whether you can resign her to this state remains to be seen).
Consider the “alone time” factor when learning how to get a dog to stop barking. The second most common cause of excessive vocalization in dogs is too much ‘alone time’. Dogs are social animals: they need lots of attention, lots of interaction, and lots of communication.
Without these things, they become anxious and on edge. If you’re at home with your dog, you’re not paying attention to her, and she’s spending a lot of time barking at what appears to be nothing, she’s probably bored and lonely and would benefit from a healthy dose of affection and attention.