Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate, but correction is needed when it becomes excessive. Discover what triggers incessant barking and tips on how to stop a dog from barking.
What causes a dog to bark excessively?
There are several reasons why dogs bark excessively. Having a good understanding of what motivates your dog’s yapping allows you to appropriately manage his behaviour.
Here are the 10 most common reasons why canines bark:
1. Barking as a Way of Greeting
2. Alarm Barking
Dogs usually bark to alarm their owners of a perceived threat. This can occur when they hear any noise, whether at home or somewhere else. This is specifically true for dogs with high guarding instincts.
3. Barking to Get Your Attention
Incessant barking can be an attention-seeking behaviour. Dogs do this when they are trying to communicate that they want something, like treats, going outdoors, or playtime.
4. Barking Due to Health Problem
A sick or injured dog is prone to excessive barking as his condition causes him discomfort or pain.
5. Fear Barking
Dogs usually bark when something startles or scares them. This is usually triggered when they are in a disconcerting situation such as being restricted in movement or activity.
6. Territorial Barking
Different from barking to alert owners, this type of barking is meant to warn intruders not to invade the dog’s territory.
7. Barking Out of Boredom
Dogs bark when they are lonely or bored because they lack physical or mental stimulation. This is a sad or lonely kind of bark that similar to crying.
9. Frustrated Barking
Similar to barking due to boredom and loneliness, it is a sad bark that is often accompanied by pacing, depression, destructiveness, or inappropriate elimination. Loneliness and separation anxiety are the usual causes.
10. Barking Due to Separation Anxiety
When a dog is overly attached to his owner, he can develop separation anxiety. This behaviour problem can result in excessive barking when you are about to leave your dog in the house.
10 Tips on How to Stop a Dog from Barking
Nuisance barking is a destructive dog behaviour that can land dog owners in trouble. On many occasions, neighbours may become fed up with a barking dog’s noisiness and may report it to the authorities.
The owner of the pooch faces the risk of being fined if this behaviour is not resolved. Thus, excessive barking should not be tolerated. Below are tips to stop a dog from barking:
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #1: Get Him Checked By the Vet.
As mentioned earlier, diseases and injuries can cause a dog to bark. It is best to check if his yappiness is linked to these problems.
Once the vet rules out this possibility, you can then move on to applying dog training techniques that will stop your dog from barking.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #2: Exercise Your Dog Regularly.
Bored dogs tend to indulge in undesirable behaviours, one of them being excessive barking. Make sure that your pooch has enough physical and mental exercise.
Keep his body active by taking him out for a walk every day. Provide mental stimulation by giving brain-challenging games.
Cycling alongside him or engaging in obedience or herding games with him are some of the ways to keep his mental gears turning. Most of the time, a tired dog is a quiet dog.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #3: Teach Your Dog On-Command Barking.
You can use the word “quiet” to command your dog to stop barking. Use a lead, praise, or a 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 a 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.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #4: Play “Bring Me.”
Dogs cannot bark when there is something in their mouth. 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 a visitor.
Avoid giving a toy to your dog whilst he is still barking. He may think that you are rewarding him for making a noise. Wait until he has stopped barking before handing over the item.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #5: 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 will not discover who made the sound so that he will not link the distracting sound to you and will connect it to his nuisance barking.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #6: Ignore Your Dog.
Does your dog love to bark to get your attention? This type of barking can be discouraged by ignoring him.
Wait for his yapping to stop before rewarding your dog with praises and treats. Mind that this method requires patience, especially if he is prone to bark for hours.
Family members must also be informed how to react when your dog starts this attention-seeking behaviour. Everyone in the household should be consistent in applying this technique or else your efforts will be wasted.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #7: Limit Your Dog’s Access Outdoors.
“My dog barks at everything that passes by. What should I do?” It is not advisable to use a bark collar to prevent your dog from barking, as this may create negative effects on your dog.
What you can do in this situation is limit his chances to view what is happening outside to decrease his barking. You can do this by closing the curtains or placing a tinted film on the windows.
Putting him in a room facing away from the busy area in your neighbourhood is also a good idea. This method can be applied to dogs that are prone to alarm or territorial barking,
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #8: Cover Other Noises with White Noise.
Is your dog’s barking caused by certain sounds? Use noise masking to keep him from hearing it. Turn on the radio or dial up the sound of the television to drown out the sounds that trigger his barking.
Studies show that music can reduce stress in dogs. Reggae, classical, and soft rock are observed to help calm them down. So why not try playing on the speaker muffle other noises.
Take note that this is only a temporary solution. The best way to stop his excessive barking is to train your dog to get used to the sound, which we will discuss next.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #9: Desensitise Your Dog from the Noise That Triggers His Barking.
To carry out this technique, you will need to find an audio of the sound that causes your dog to bark excessively. The internet site is a good place to look for it.
Once you find the sound that you are looking for, follow these steps:
- Let your dog listen to it at the lowest volume possible.
- If he shows no negative response, reward him with a treat.
- Slowly increase the volume over the following days. Let him listen to it for at least 5 minutes.
- If he starts barking, reduce the volume and let him settle down. Try to increase the loudness after a few days. Do this step every time your dog barks at the adjusted volume.
- Gradually extend the duration of the sound once it does not elicit a bark from him. Do not forget to reward him for his good behaviour.
- Follow step 5, and if necessary, step 4, until your dog can listen to the full volume of the sound without barking.
When you are in the process of completing this dog training, do not expose your dog to the original sound. Otherwise, it will set you back in your progress and require more dog training sessions.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking Tip #10: Keep Your Arrivals and Departures Low-Key.
Do not arouse your dog’s excitement when leaving the house. Avoid cuddling him 10–30 minutes before going out as this can contribute to the development or worsening of separation anxiety.
When you arrive home, before opening the door, make it a mantra to be as boring as possible. If your dog is barking in greeting, do not interact with him for at least 10–30 minutes.
Let him settle down before you give him attention. Doing this every day will help stop the barking.
When Is It Time to Ask an Expert’s Assistance?
These professionals will be able to determine the root cause that impedes you from stopping your dog’s incessant barking.