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dog training - stop dog barking

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking

Barking is something that you will have to accept to a certain degree when you bring your new best friend home for the first time, but excessive barking is something that you need to be on your guard against.

Not only will an overly barky dog likely be a huge source of irritation to both you and your neighbours, but it could also be a sign of some kind of underlying issue with your pup, so it’s certainly worth addressing the issue as soon as you can and getting a professional opinion if necessary should your pet continue with their barking aspirations.

When it comes to getting your dog to stop barking, prevention is certainly better than cure so get them while they’re young and try to engrain the right behaviours in them from the outset. 

Puppy training

Puppies bark for all sorts of reasons, whether that’s to guard their territory, to warn you of an intruder (sound the alarm!), for attention, out of excitement, boredom, frustration or separation anxiety.

The key is to work out what’s triggering their woofiness so you can determine the best response and course of action.

If, for example, your pup is constantly barking at people walking past the house, you can use a sight barrier of some kind so that their attention isn’t caught. This can be anything from window film to privacy fences, or you could consider closing the blinds and curtains to help keep your dog calm.

To help with separation anxiety, consider setting up a safe space for your puppy so that they have somewhere to feel calm and peaceful when you’re not in the house. Typically, this takes the form of a crate, but you could always shut them in a familiar room with toys and blankets if you’re not too keen on crate training.

Or if you find that your puppy just seems to be barking for no apparent reason, it could be because they’re bored. In this case, keep them busy, play with them, keep them entertained and help them burn off all that excess energy.

Something to be particularly mindful of is reactive barking when you’re out and about. It’s best to nip this in the bud as soon as you can and it’s relatively easy to achieve. 

When outside, if you see a trigger approaching (such as a person or another dog), try distracting your pup with a high-value treat as the trigger goes past, giving them lots of praise until the threat is gone. 

Repeat this each time and you should soon see that your dog starts to associate the perceived threat as something more positive… and the barking should stop!

Finally, if your new puppy has got into the bad habit of demand barking, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is quite an easy one to break. All you have to do is ignore it and once they stop, you can give them what they want. 

Dogs are clever and they’ll soon work out that yapping at you for food or attention simply won’t get them anywhere.

Old dogs, new tricks

If your dog is on the older side when you welcome them into your home, you can still put the work in and get them to stop barking, although it may take a little more time than if they were a puppy.

One strategy worth trying involves getting your pooch to bark on demand. This may seem counterintuitive but it has been met with great success, so don’t give up – even if you feel a bit frustrated at first.

First of all, say “speak”, then wait for your dog to bark a couple of times. When he does, reward him with a treat. Continue in this vein until your dog is able to bark on command without the offer of a treat. 

Once this has been achieved, use the “speak” command and then, after they’ve barked a few times, say “quiet” firmly, then hold the treat in front of their nose. Give them the treat and lots of praise, repeating this process until they no longer need the promise of a treat to stop barking.

This will all take time, which is important to remember, so just be patient, be kind – and remember to take regular breaks!

Key takeaways

Some important points to consider when trying to train your dog not to bark:

#1 Don’t tell the dog off

By getting angry and shouting or telling the dog off, you could find that you encourage them to bark, rather than getting them to stop. They may even think that you’re barking along with them, which will just egg them on.

#2 Don’t reward them for barking

If your pooch is barking at you for attention, don’t give them what they want. This will only serve to reinforce the behaviour and it will take longer to train it out of them. Instead, reward them for being quiet.

#3 Teach them the Quiet command

One proven way of getting your dog to stop barking is to teach them the quiet command. Simply tell them to be quiet in a calm, firm voice and then reinforce the right behaviour with high-value treats and lots of love.

Looking for a puppy trainer in Pimlico? Get in touch with Sean Hyden today to see how he can help.