BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How To Train A Dog Not to Bark: Top Methods That Will Work

How To Train A Dog Not to Bark
John Walton
Written by John Walton

It is a fact that dogs bark. This is part of their behavior and in most cases, they have a good reason to act in a noisy manner. There are also situations when you cannot figure out what makes your pet anxious. At the same time, some dogs bark more frequently than others. What pet owners need to understand is that this behavior is not problematic. In fact, you actually need to learn how to train a dog not to bark, and to obey commands.

This article aims to approach this issue in a detailed manner in order to help you comprehend the roots of this action and teach you the steps you need to follow in order to correct it.

Types of barking

There are various things that can make your dog bark. Whether it tries to point out that you are in danger, or it is part of its breed behavior, you need to learn the commands that make it stop when it is told to do so. In this case, shouting is out of the question because an aggressive response will only reinforce your dog’s need to express itself.

Dog barking

At the same time, treating it with care and praises is another poor solution. If you are affectionate, and try to deal with this issue without pointing out that it is annoying, your dog will use it as a way to receive treats or scratches. This is why dog owners must understand the causes that make the pet bark.

To make things easier, you must analyze how your pet faces different scenarios and to encourage it to overcome those that are perceived as threatening. It is useless to say that dogs communicate through barking, so eliminating it is not a viable option. What you need to do is to learn how to control it by identifying the signals your pet is trying to transmit.

There is a very tight relationship between pets and their owners. As a result, it is completely natural to make the bond stronger day after day.

Dog bark infographic

Barking can be interpreted as a way of communication.

It can mean many things, depending on the circumstances and surroundings. In order to learn how to train your dog not to bark, you need to be aware of the following types of barking:

  • to protect the territory;
  • to alarm the owner;
  • as a sign of boredom or loneliness;
  • to greet its owner;
  • to seek for attention;
  • as a result of a compulsive behavior.

Of course, to save you the trouble, you could consider getting a dog that doesn’t bark. We have a great article you should check out on the 7 dog breeds that don’t bark.

TYPE OF BARKINGBEHAVIOR
Territorial– it is triggered when an animal or a person the dog does not recognize enters its territory;- it starts with excessive barking that intensifies and gets louder as the thing that is considered a threat gets closer;- it has the purpose to alert the owner, and can lead to an aggressive behavior if the threat does not leave its territory, or the owner does not calm down the pet.
Alarm or fear– it is triggered when an object or a person catches its attention;- it can also be triggered when a person stares directly at it;- it is not related to the territory, and it can occur in a variety of places, including the street, or park.
Loneliness or boredom– it is triggered when the dog is left alone for several hours or a longer period;- it does not matter if it is in the house or outside, being alone makes the dog feel unhappy;- it is a way to draw the owner’s attention.
Play– it is triggered when the owner gets home, and the dog wants to play;- it can also be triggered when the dog meets another pet or people;- the bark is not threatening at all, and it is accompanied with jumping and tail wagging.
Attention seeking– it is triggered when the dog wants to go outside, play or receive a treat;- it is accompanied by an agitated behavior, and the dog can event point out the thing it wants to receive.
Compulsive barking– it is specific to dogs that get anxious when the owner is not near them, or they are left alone in the house;- besides barking, the dog can exhibit a destructive behavior, or depression;- the purpose of barking is to hear something;- in some cases it can be associated with repetitive movements, like running along the fence or in circles.

Tips to keep your dog quiet

  1. Avoid the things that are considered a reward. 
    When your dog barks, you tend to give it immediate attention. For it, this is considered a reward, and it understands that it receives something (whether it is food or scratching) for granted. In order to eliminate unjustified barking, you must identify the stimulus.
    For example, if your dog barks at other animals or at people who pass the window, you can stop it really simple. Just close the curtains, and if this is impossible, you just need to take it to a different room, with no front view. If this happens in the yard, you need to take it inside. It is also recommended to avoid letting it unsupervised until it changes this unpleasant behavior.
  2. Ignore your dog when it is barking. 
    A great way to teach your dog to stop barking is to ignore it. You need to be prepared, and treat it calmly, as it will take a while until it stops. At the same time, you must give it no attention while it keeps on barking. It is the only way your pet will understand that it does something bad.
    It is also a good idea to avoid any eye contact. When you see an improvement, even if it does not last long, reward it. This method can only be effective if you restrain yourself from comforting your dog when it is barking. You need to understand that it can take even up to an hour till your pet comprehends that it does not receive anything with its behavior. Any sign of attention in the meantime can ruin all that you managed to accomplish.
  3. Make the dog comfortable with the thing that makes it bark. 
    Sometimes, dogs bark as a response to something they are not familiar with. It is up to you to gradually introduce it to the thing that makes it feel uncomfortable. It is advisable to start from the opposite corner of the room in order to avoid triggering barking. If it behaves in a proper manner you need to reward it with its favorite treats. After this you can move the stimulus only a bit closer and reward it.
    When you get closer, move it out of your dog’s site and do not give your pet any treats. When you bring it back it, reward the dog if it is nor barking. This is a great exercise to try and it assures positive results if you repeat it several times. You need to take a step at a time and to avoid pushing your pet’s limits. It can take even weeks until your dog will be able to pay attention solely to you and to avoid the thing that bothers it.
  4. Introduce the quiet command. 
    As crazy as it may sound, this is a technique that needs to be started with the opposite thing. You must teach dog to bark when you tell it. You can choose whatever word you like and allow it to express itself for a few times. After this, you can make it stop by placing a delicious treat in front of it. When it stops barking to smell or eat the treat, you need to praise it and play with it. This is an exercise that needs to be repeated until the dog starts barking when you say the word you choose. After this, you can introduce the quiet command.
    Encourage the dog to bark, give it a treat, and when it stops say the word quiet and let it enjoy the food. Remember to praise it when it is quiet. This is extremely useful, especially when you are expecting guests and the door bell rings. As they can be perceived as intruders, your dog can bark defensively. However, if you tell it to stop, your guests will feel more eager to enter the house, and your pet can meet them in a friendly manner.

Training can start as early as when they’re a puppy. To help you, check out this great article on teaching a puppy to stop barking.

As it can be seen, it is not impossible to teach your dog to stop barking, however, first you need to understand what makes it act this way.

Capturing quiet infogrpahic

The more you are aware of the reactions of your dog, the better you can look after it. However, if this training method is still proving to be too much for you, check our our list on the the best anti-bark devices you can find in your local pet store.

Some pets tend to be more agitated than others, thus physical exercises are a must in order to keep both of you healthy and happy. Discipline is another must. In order to teach it the commands you want, you need to remain calm and to repeat them as many times as it is required. Dogs are smart animals, but sometimes it takes time to figure out what their owners want from them.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Sarah Johnson

    According to our vet, there are cases when a dog who doesn’t receive the exercise he deserves could bark out of boredom or frustration. It’s best to make sure that the dog is physically and mentally exercised to rectify this. Apparently, boredom is a common cause for excessive barking.

  • Hi, Sarah,

    Indeed there is a need for balance to keep our dogs physically and mentally healthy. This is required to avoid health issues and behavioral problems later on.

  • Cate Turner

    It’s a long journey, but training to get a dog to stop barking is a rewarding experience. We did it through rewarding the times that they keep quiet. Pretty much led them to associate ‘quiet and chill’ with ‘love and fun and treats!!!’ so yep that did it for us. I don’t encourage shock collars or what have yous that just traumatize than train. It’s not right and there are better ways to do it.

    • John Walton

      Indeed, this type of training requires patience and dedication in order to work because you are teaching your dog to refrain from doing what is considered as part of its being. Regardless, having a well-behaved dog is really something remarkable.

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