How to Stop Your Dog from Barking (Basic Tips)
Nothing shatters the calm of the air quite like a dog bark. Whether it’s low and gruff or high and yippy, a prolonged barking session can turn into a big nuisance rapidly. And while there’s no way to get a dog to stop his bark, you can neutralize the noise.
The Basics Behind a Dog’s Bark
A bark is best viewed as a means to which dogs naturally communicate. What they are trying to say exactly depends on the situation and environment they are in. Greeting owners, seeking out attention, fear, protection, anxiety, and even boredom are some of the reasons why a dog may bark.
Because of this, it is foolhardy to assume that your dog will never bark again. You should always expect your dog to do some barking, only because it is so natural for them to do so. Expecting a dog never to bark is akin to expecting a person never to speak.
With that being said, if you feel your dog’s barking has become too excessive, it’s important that you pinpoint the specific type of scenario that is causing the biggest uproar, if you will. This is crucial because different scenarios will sometimes require a different approach to stemming the barking.
What Should You Do to Get Your Dog To Stop Barking Excessively?
At its basic core, being able to curb your dog's excessive barking habit has its roots in several other training-type approaches. Things like positive reinforcement, doling out treats, and kindness serves as the backbone of this particular training exercise. These things establish the kind of trustworthy bond that allows a dog to eventually get behind whatever the owner is training them to do.
One of the biggest ways you can neutralize your dog’s barking tendencies is to teach him the “quiet” command. If he starts to bark, say “quiet” in a firm, but calm, voice. When he stops, praise him and let him enjoy a treat; just make sure you never give him a treat while he’s barking.
If your barky dog is anxious or full of energy, you can take is to make sure you give your dog plenty of exercise and activity throughout the day. A tired dog will be less susceptible to excessive bouts of barking if such barking is a product of pent-up energy. This approach may be especially helpful if your dog tends to bark at night, when your neighbors would like to settle in for a nice, quiet evening.
Another approach that you could take is to ignore his barking altogether. This may not be easy to do at first, because the object here is to let him go about his barking session until he stops. However, doing this method can work rather well, provided that you reward him with a treat after he does finally quiet.
Approaches You Should Never Take with Your Barky Dog
First and foremost, you should never yell at your pet. Shouting at him will only confuse him, and may think that you are barking along with him. This only encourages him to bark even more, which could obviously exacerbate the problem.
You should also keep any verbal commands you give your dog to stop barking to something that is concise, consistent, and calm. Yelling “shut up” may fell cathartic for you on some level, but again it won’t get the desired effect that you want. Teaching your dog the “quiet” command or reprimanding him in a calm, stern voice will eventually lead you down that path.
Also, avoid the use of things that could be easily viewed as punishment for your dogs. Things like muzzles and shock collars could send the wrong message to your pooch, and this could end up changing their disposition. Additionally, a shock collar inflicts pain on your pet, which is something you should never do to your companion.
Kindness Goes a Long Way in This Situation
To reiterate, you should always conduct any training you do with your dog from a kind, loving space, be it trying to curb excessive barking or otherwise. It’s important to bear in mind that your dog is your buddy, even if he drives you crazy every now and again. As such, it would behoove you to treat him that way with everything that you do.