Most breeds of dogs were born to bark. But some bark excessively, which can be a downright nuisance for both yourself and your neighbors.
Thankfully, a barking problem is one that can be easily solved, with some research, training, and treats. But before you can begin trying to fix your dog’s barking issue, you need to get to the root of the problem and understand why he’s barking excessively in the first place.
Why Dogs Bark
Barking is one kind of vocal communication that canines use. It can mean different things in different situations. Some of the main reasons why dogs bark includes:
Now that you understand why dogs bark, here are nine surefire ways to stop the pesky barking problem that really works.
1. Correct the Problem and Follow Through
When you catch your dog in the act of barking excessively, use a look, sound, or physical correction to get him to cease the undesired action. But do not stop there. Your pup may pause and then go right back to barking. His body may be relaxed, but his mind is still on high alert. Be patient and wait until your pet fully submits before going back to what you were doing.
2. Remove the Motivation
For dogs that bark because they want something, figure out what they’re looking to get, and then remove it. Don’t give in and allow your dog to continue the unwanted behavior. For example, if they’re barking at somebody outside of the window, put your dog in another room or close the blinds.
3. Ignore the Barking
Some dogs simply bark for attention. Ignore them for as long as it takes for your pooch to stop. Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him, and don’t touch him. Your attention will only reward excessive barking. When they finally quiet down, reward them with a treat or a pat on the head.
To be successful with this particular method, you’re going to need a whole lot of patience. You need to wait your dog’s barking out.
4. Stake Your Claim
Is your dog barking over and over again at the same person, object, or environment? You may want to try claiming the stimulation as your own. Use your entire being, including mind and body, to create an invisible wall that your pet is not allowed to cross. This will take 100% of your focus. While it may sound like some hippie-dippie nonsense, the results may surprise you.
5. De-Sensitize Your Dog
Slowly acclimate your pet to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus at a far-off distance where the dog won’t bark when they see it. Praise your pet. Move the stimulus a little closer and feed your dog some more treats or verbally praise him. You want your pup to learn that the stimulus will lead to good things when he sees it. So, when the stimulus is out of sight, don’t give him anymore praise or treats.
6. Anti-Stress Devices
If your dog has separation anxiety and barks when he’s left alone, there are a couple of items on the market that can help. Stress-reducing collars utilize pheromones or a soothing herbal mix to help alleviate anxiety. Anxiety jackets or wraps provide a gentle, maintained pressure that can soothe stressed canines. You can also consider making a “safe space” for your dog that includes his bed, toys, and water where he’ll feel calm and secure.
7. Keep Boredom at Bay
Some dogs will bark because they are simply bored. Give your pet plenty of mental and physical stimulation to alleviate his boredom. If you’re not home a lot, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your pet in doggie daycare.
8. Spray Collars
This harmless alternative to a shock collar can be extremely effective. Spray collars use citronella to spray up and into the dog’s face when he barks, discouraging the bad behavior. Many dogs hate the smell and the taste, and will immediately stop barking.
9. Hire a Professional
As a last resort, you can turn to a professional to help to get your dog to stop barking. Most will also provide you with training techniques and follow-up instructions to combat the bad behavior at home.
While most dog breeds bark, excessive barking can be troubling. With training, treats, and anti-stress products, you will be able to put an end to this annoying behavior once and for all.
The most important thing to remember is to stay patient. There is no overnight success story to stop excessive barking. It takes time and gumption. But with some hard work, the result will be a great dog that doesn’t excessively bark.
Featured image credit: Greg70, Pixabay