Much like talking in humans, barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate. However, correction is needed when your dog’s barking becomes excessive. And by correction, this means addressing the undesirable barking without shouting at him as this will mislead your dog to think you are encouraging his baying.
To lessen excessive barking, try these strategies.
Play ‘Bring Me’
Dogs cannot bark when there is something in their mouths. Take advantage of this by carrying out some play training, encouraging your pooch to retrieve a toy. You can also make him bring a ‘gift’ to someone else in your home or to a visitor.
Avoid giving a toy to your dog whilst he’s still barking. He may think you are rewarding him for making a noise. Wait until he has stopped barking before handing over the item.
Teach Him On-Command Barking
You can use the word ‘quiet’ to command your dog to stop barking. Use a lead, praise, or treat for this exercise.
When your dog barks, say ‘quiet’ in a calm and firm voice, and at the same time firmly give the lead a quick tug to distract him. When he stops barking, give him a treat or verbal praise. Repeat the exercise by initiating the bark—start ‘barking’ to get him to follow your lead. When your dog follows suit, say the command and tug at the lead again. When he quiets down, praise or reward him.
Distract Your Dog
Dogs that excessively bark tend to indulge in the habit. Break the barkathon by introducing a stronger stimulus. This could be an object that produces a louder sound or a high-frequency noise that is unpleasant to your dog.
You can use items around the house to produce such a sound. A can filled with coins is one example.
When your dog barks irrationally, drop the item in front of him without making it obvious where it came from. It should seem like it came out of nowhere. Do this consistently so that your dog will think that the object appears every time he barks. Whichever method you use, ensure that your dog won’t discover who made the sound so that he won’t link the distracting sound to you and will connect it to his nuisance barking.
Exercise Your Dog Regularly
Bored dogs tend to indulge in undesirable behaviour, one of them being excessive barking. Keep your dog stimulated by taking him out for a walk every day. Provide mental challenges to get his mind working. Cycling alongside him or engaging in obedience or herding games with him are some ways to keep his mental gears turning. Most of the time, a tired dog is a quiet dog.
The Key to Stop Excessive Barking
As the leader of your pack, you should be confident about your knowledge of your canine companion. Having a good understanding of what motivates your dog’s baying allows you to manage his behaviour appropriately.
Here are the 7 most common reasons why canines bark:
- Alarm – Dogs usually bark to alarm their owners when they hear any noise, whether at home or somewhere else. This is specifically true for dogs with high guarding instincts.
- Greeting – Barking can be a way for dogs to happily greet people and other animals. This happy bark is accompanied by tail wagging and sometimes jumping.
- Attention – They are trying to communicate that they want something, like treats, going outdoors, or playtime.
- Fear – Dogs usually bark when something startles or scares them.
- Territorial Assertion – Different from barking to alert owners, this type of barking is meant to warn intruders not to invade its territory.
- Boredom – When dogs are lonely or bored because they lack physical or mental stimulation, they bark. This is a sad or lonely kind of bark, similar to crying.
- Frustration – Similar to barking due to boredom and loneliness, it is a sad bark often accompanied by pacing, depression, destructiveness, or inappropriate elimination. Loneliness and separation anxiety are the usual causes.
When you know the exact reason for your dog’s barking, you are able to use the right intervention. However, there are certain dog breeds that tend to bark excessively, especially if they are not trained properly.
Training your dog to bark appropriately takes time and a lot of patience. However, with consistent and diligent practice, you will have a well behaved canine companion.
If you want to learn more about how to stop excessive barking, WATCH this video: