How to Stop Dog from Barking
When considering how to stop dog from barking, it is important to recognize that dogs bark for a variety of reasons. For dogs, barking is a not only a perfectly natural behavior but also a form of communication. It's as natural for your dog to bark as it is for us to use language to communicate.
Whether your dog barks, growls, howls, whines or whimpers, very likely your dog is attempting to convey some important emotions.
However, it is also true that some dogs bark much more than others and this form of nuisance barking may create havoc in a social world.
Learning how to effectively reduce and possibly stop dog from barking is quite important under such circumstances.
But before you attempt to control your dog's barking, remember: barking only becomes a problem when it's excessive and interferes with your life. If this applies to you, keep on reading...
The Ideal Barking Candidate
Most dog breeds bark, but several bark much more than others. This inclination may be due to a genetic predisposition for barking or exposure to circumstances that encourage barking.
Terriers and hounds, for instance, are a category of dogs prone to barking and may not make the ideal pets for somebody living in a studio in Manhattan! Dogs bred to guard, on the other hand, may be prone to territorial barking when an intruder is spotted, whereas, certain small breed dogs are often known for their sharp, "yappy" voices.
Dogs left alone in a yard all day may often bark from boredom and frustration, while dogs suffering from separation anxiety may bark excessively when left alone. Left to their own devices, many watch dogs will bark persistently at stimuli observed out of windows or fences to alert their owners. Fearful dogs that have been poorly socialized may bark at anything that they perceive as intimidating.
Understanding Barking in Dogs
As mentioned, dogs bark to convey a variety of emotions such as happiness, fear, suspicion and boredom.
Often, barking, whining, whimpering and howling are important means of communication that help dogs convey problems that may need to be addressed. For example, a dog barking persistently when left in the yard may be communicating its desire to be part of the family, whereas a dog left crated at home all day may be communicating its need for more exercise and mental stimulation.
It is important, therefore, to understand what is causing the dog to bark.
While it is true that some dogs may bark to communicate a need that is not met, it is also true that some dogs appear to bark much more than needed. This form of nuisance barking can be reduced by trying a variety of approaches on how to stop dog barking.
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking
So how do you stop dog from barking?
There is no standard way to stop dog from barking since there are so many different causes for barking in the first place:
- A dog barking for attention, for instance, should be ignored
- A dog barking from separation anxiety will need to be treated for this condition
- A dog engaging in territorial barking should be taught that dog owners are ultimately in charge of who comes in and out of the property
- A dog barking from boredom will need more mental stimulation, physical exercise and some good, stimulating toys
- A dog barking from fear will need training and an appropriate behavior modification program to help overcome its anxiety
So, is there a way to stop dog from barking through training?
Many dog owners have seen reduced barking after teaching the dog to bark on cue. Confused? Teaching the "bark" and "shush" commands may be helpful because you are ultimately in control of the barking which can be switched on and off upon request.
In order to accomplish this try the following steps:
At some point your dog will start barking when you say "bark" even before he hears the knock on the door. This is a good sign suggesting he is learning to bark on command.
As your dog gets good at this, start delaying the reward after saying "shush" so he is quiet for longer periods of time. Start asking "bark" and "shush" farther away from the door so your dog will learn to generalize the behavior in different areas of the home.
Barking Dog Training: Solutions for Difficult Cases
How to stop dog from barking in difficult cases?
Some dogs, despite the training or changes made to their environment, may still bark; however, the good news is that there are more solutions for such difficult cases.
When all other strategies have failed and neighbors keep complaining, a bark collar may be the ultimate solution. There are a variety of dog bark collars on the market, such as spray, ultrasound and electronic bark collars.
Citronella spray collars can be very effective because they work on a multi-sensorial level. Upon barking, the dog is sprayed with harmless spritz of citronella which produces a smell dogs dislike, the spray also makes a startling hissing noise, and ultimately, the dog gets wet by the mist. Ultrasound bark collars, on the other hand, work by producing an ultrasound noise not perceptible by humans, whereas electronic bark collars work by delivering a mild shock.
While some dog owners may feel the use of such devices is inhumane, many feel their use is safe and effective to control dog barking when used correctly.
Of course, bark collars, especially the electronic versions, should be a tool of last resort and should not be a substitute for training proper behaviors. The use of such devices is also not recommended in anxious, stressed or fearful dogs.
Here is a brief video that talks about some of the things we just covered in this article...
Before wondering how to stop dog from barking, it is important to evaluate if the dog is actually trying to send out an important message. Tending a deaf ear to the dog's needs may actually cause bigger problems down the road.
If the hints given are addressed, many times dogs may considerable reduce their vocalizations. Learning effective strategies on how to stop dog from barking may significantly improve the life of owners and their dogs.
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Want to learn more?
For more advice on how to stop dog barking, I highly recommend you read and follow this dog training guide. You'll find lots of information on dealing with many behavioral problems, including excessive barking.
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