Why are dogs barking?
There are a number of reasons why dogs bark, and barking is a natural way for a dog to express itself. However if barking becomes excessive then it can become very frustrating and annoying, not only for the owners but also for neighbours. Dogs bark to get attention, because they are bored, scared, to warn for danger or simply because they are happy and exited and want to play. The thing here is not really to how to stop dog barking but to be able to control barking and prevent it from becoming a nuissance.
Barking is very individual and varies from dog to dog and also from breed to breed. Small lively dogs often bark because they are scared. If you can make a scared dog feel safe, then the excessive barking will stop. Herding dogs often bark a lot and this is a natural behavior for them when they work. This way they will get the herds attention and stop the sheep from going the wrong way. Barking is also how they warn the herd and the farmer for predators. Many guard dogs act the same way, they bark to warn for danger and to scare eventual intruders.
So barking is natural for dogs and you can not stop a dog from barking altogether. However, you can control a dog’s barking so that it does not become a nuissance for you and your neighbours. So learning how to stop dog barking exessively is very important in order to live comfortably with your dog and to keep good relations with your neighbours.
The best way to avoid excessive barking is to train your puppy from the very start when they may and may not bark. However if you have an older dog, it is by no means impossible to make it stop barking. Contrary to what many people think, older dogs can be trained and YES it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks and break old habits.
How to control your dog’s barking
Using a firm voice but without yelling, give your dog a simple command such as “No Barking” or “Stop it” or “Enough”. Important not to yell as it might make your dog think that YOU are barking as well and this might make the situation even worse. Praise your dog and caress it when it stops barking. A small treat can also help as it shows your dog the good side of staying calm and not barking. This goes for all dog training. Positive motivation is a great way to train a dog.
How to train your dog to bark to alert that someone is at the door?
This is something many dogs do naturally. But you can if needed train your dog to do just this. You can let someone knock on the door or ring the door bell. You call your dog to come and let him escort you to the door. Ask with an exited voice: “who is there” and then “go and look” or whatever phrase or expression you decide to use. You go to the door, make your dog sit and then make him stop barking. Make sure you praise and treat the stopping of the barking. Teach your dog that when you get up and the check the door then your dog can be quiet. It is important to be consistent and to be positive.Several short training sessions every day is better than a long one. Your dog will soon learn what you want. Make sure to stop undesired barking as soon as possible
What if you have an older dog who is barking too much?
This is no problem. Any unwanted behavior can be corrected no matter how old your dog is. The first thing is to find out why your dog is barking. Once you know this you will be able to find a solution. The excessive barking might be because he is bored and seeking attention. If your dog is scared then making it feel safe will most probably solve the problem. Agression is another factor that makes some dogs bark excessively. Figure out why your dog is barking and then find a solution. There is a solution to practically all dog related problems so don’t worry.
Your dog may be alerting you to something. In this case you will check the situation and then when you have told him that all is fine you make him stop barking. You are the packleader (you should be, anyway) and when you say things are ok, your dog should simply follow you, calm down and stop barking.
Boredom or lonliness
Dogs needs to get activated, and some breeds need a lot more activity than others. A dog who is tired because of a lot playing and training will naturally be calmer and bark a lot less. If your dog spends a lot of time alone without much to do then he will become tensed and nervous and he will probably bark a lot more. Also a dog who spends a lot of time alone outside with no-one to teach him how to act will also bark a lot more. Many other dog related problems (such destructive chewing) is also due to a lack of activity. Make sure that your dog gets the opportunity to play and run and why not do some training together? Agility for example is fun both for the dog and its owner.
Barking during Play
If your dog barks when playing it is probably because he is happy and exited and this is usually not a big problem, if however the barking becomes too much then you could try to calm the play down, get the dog to relax and start over again. Like mentioned barking during playing is usually not a big problem especially since it takes place during a limited period and stops when the dog calms down.
Gadgets which helps to stop barking, such as special collars.
This is a quick fix to stop a dog from barking but it is not recommended in any situation. Collars which gives the dog an electric shock everytime the dog barks are very painful for the dog and other types of collars, for example collars that send out a certain scent everytime the dog barks are ineffective. After all barking is a natural behavior for a dog and giving it a negative experience every time it is barking is not a good idea neither will it effective in the long run. You need teach your dog when it is ok to bark and when it is not, All dog training requires a little time and patience but in the long run it will be well worth the effort. If you need further assistance on how to stop dog barking or any other dog related problem or training issue, I suggest you check out my review of the Online Dog Trainer, which is great way to learn how to deal with any dog related problems and how to easily train your dog.
If you have any questions, comments or experiences to share, please leave them below.