A barking dog may be one of the most frustrating parts of being a dog owner. Dogs bark for lots of different reasons such as fear, aggression, communication, desire, and entertainment. Understanding why your dog is barking can provide solutions to cease unnecessary barking.
Here are some tips to help stop your dog from unnecessary barking.
Remove the positive outcome
Some dogs are motivated by power and a positive outcome. For example, if your dog barks at a person walking by your house and the person goes away, your dog sees it as a positive affirmation that their barking caused that person to leave. You want to show your dog that his barking does not have the desired outcome. It could be as simple as making a friend stand in front of your house until your dog stops barking at them. Once they don’t get what they want, they will stop barking.
Ignore the barking
Ignore your dog’s barking until they stop. If you pick them up or show them any attention at all (positive or negative), they will perceive that as a sign of love and reinforcement. No matter how long it takes your dog to stop barking, you cannot give in. Once your dog has finally stopped, then you can reward him with a treat.
Familiarize your dog
Sometimes dogs bark because they are afraid and are giving other dogs and people a warning to stay away. If you notice that your dog is barking for these reasons, it’s important to familiarize your dog with his fears to begin easing the barking. For example, if your dog is afraid of other dogs due to lack of socialization, then it would be important to create daily positive social interactions that are reinforced with treats and encouragement. After a while, your dog will associate other dogs (or people) with something positive versus something negative.
Teach your dog the quiet command
It might seem odd to teach your dog to bark on command. However, once they are able to bark on command, they should also be able to be quiet on command. You can use treats as a reward for both barking and being silent. If you try it enough times eventually your dog will be able to do both without hesitation.
Keep your dog well exercised
Dogs are less likely to bark if they have sufficient mental stimulation and exercise. Dogs tend to bark more when nothing else interesting is going on or they want to expend energy. We recommended keeping your pup active during the day and at home entertain your pup with treat games, tug of war, and other activities.
With these tips, you’re well on your way to cease unnecessary barking!