How to Train a Dog Not to Bark – Handy Tips
Many people go out and get a dog only to find that there are problems attached to it – barking is one of the most common problems a dog may have. Mind you, just because a dog has a problem, this doesn’t mean you need to get rid of him/her – it just means you need to fix that problem. “How to train a dog not to bark” is a question that many new dog owners may ask – this is something that you would learn in basic training class, because after all, some dogs love to use their voice. While the barking may seem cute at first, once you start to get complaints from the people that live around you, the barking won’t be as cute. Today, we are here to teach you how to stop your dog from barking once and for all.
How to Train a Dog Not to Bark – Find the Cause
In order to train the dog not to bark, you will first need to find the cause. There has to be some reason as to why that dog has been barking – look for the cause. Maybe he is anxious to go outside, is barking at a cat outside or wants to be fed. Let’s reach out and investigate the reason the dog is barking.
- Speak with your neighbors – Ask the neighbors if they have noticed your dog barking. Ask them if they have noticed a pattern to this behavior. Letting them know that you are aware of this problem and that you are trying to stop your dog from barking will let them see that you are on their team, instead of being part of the problem.
- Video Recorder – While you are away, leave a video recorder running. This way, you will be able to have a look at your dogs behavior when you’re not around.
Determining What is Causing the Barking
Now that you have gathered up some evidence, start looking for triggers and patterns. Here’s some common triggers to look for:
- Feeling bored
- Feeling frustrated
- Being confined
- Needing something
- Wanting attention
- Feeling afraid
- Having health issues
- Feeling territorial
You May Want to Take the Dog to the Vet
If for some reason you believe your dog is barking because there is a health issue, please take him/her to the bet. Some older dogs will bark because they have dementia. If the vet finds that this is the cause for the barking, they may be able to give you a medication that will help your dog cope with the symptoms that is causing them to bark.
It’s Time to Eliminate the Barking
Hopefully by now you have discovered what is causing your dog to bark. Now, it is time to move forward to teach your dog not to be so vocal when it is not needed.
Some dog owners give rewards when the dog is barking so that they will be quiet. The dog is looking at this as if it is a payoff. You need to eliminate this reward, because your dog may associate barking with being rewarded.
Some dogs enjoy barking at people walking down the road in front of your house. When he/she is sitting at the window, barking at a passerby, walk over and close the curtains in order to block the view. If the dog is sitting n your yard barking at people as they walk by, take them inside. By doing this, you are teaching them not to bark at people when they’re just walking down the road.
Ignore That barking Dog
When you first start to train your dog not to be so vocal for no reason, you shouldn’t show a reaction to the barking. When a dog barks and you yell at them or tell them to stop, they associate this with attention and you don’t want to give them what they want when they are barking. When they start to bark, don’t acknowledge that they are barking – don’t even look at the dog. Don’t pet the dog, talk to the dog and please, don’t give them treats. Doing this will only make matters worse – like we told you before, they will start to associate barking with receiving a reward.
Reward Them for Being Quiet
Of course, you need to give them a reward when they are being quiet, but ONLY when they’re being quiet. When they are barking, even if they make a small pause, reward that slight silence with a nice treat. The treat could be food or your attention (that’s your choice). In order to successfully break your dog from this annoying habit he/she has, it is going to take time, so you need to be patient. Don’t yell or get angry at the dog, even if the dog is barking for an hour. We understand, this may be frustrating, but if you were to acknowledge this behavior, you would only be encouraging it, which in return will make it worse.
Before you know it, your dog will start to associate being quiet with receiving something they like. As this happens, lengthen the amount of time your dog is quiet before giving them a treat.
Try Redirecting the Attention
Here’s a scenario for you – your dog is barking, look at your dog and tell him to lie down. Doing this is okay, because it won’t be taken as a reward for barking. Once your dog lies down and is quiet, give them a treat. The trick here is to redirect the attention, without actually rewarding the dog for barking.
Try to Keep the Barking from Your Neighbors
Yes, this one may be a bit complicated, but if you have people around you who are annoyed with the dogs barking habits, it is needed. When you are training your dog not to bark, keep them out of hearing range of people around you as much as possible. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, you need to speak with your neighbors and let them know that you are aware of your dog’s habits and you are currently in the process of training him/her. Having your neighbors work with you is the best way to avoid receiving those nuisance calls or knocks.
Make Sure Your Dog Get the Exercise They Need
It is important that you make sure your dog is getting outside and getting the adequate amount of exercise. Dogs are very social and need to go outside to receive some environmental stimuli – this helps them to stay healthy and calm. If possible, take your dog to open spaces where he/she can run around – if you don’t have a fence in your yard, get one so that they can run freely, under your supervision.
Make Sure Your Dog Has Enough Attention
Like we told you, dogs are social animals and need attention. They need to feel as if they are a part of your family, because they are. So, when you come home from work, allow your dog to socialize with you. Note: No matter what you do, you should never leave your dog outside alone or unattended while they are in your house, because they are more likely to get frustrated, which can lead to them getting in trouble.
Don’t Change Your Training Process
Many times, if you are inconsistent, your dog will get confused. During the training process, when they bark, you yell, then they bark and you don’t respond. This is only going to confuse the dog – the dog won’t be able to tell if their barking is good or bad. If you are really serious about breaking your dog from this annoying behavior, you will need to be consistent. This way, the dog will be able to learn that you do not want them to bark.
Teach Your Dog the “Quiet” Command
Teaching your dog the “quiet” command is better than yelling at your dog. Start by teaching your dog the “speak” command. Since the dog likes to bark, this should be easy. Once the dog has barked a couple of times, give him a treat. Once you have the dog barking on command, it is time to move forward with the “quiet” command. Go ahead, tell your dog to “speak,” then once they have spoken, say “quiet.” Wait for the dog to stop barking, then hand them a treat. Until your dog has successfully learned the “quiet” command, continue repeating this training session.
We understand, learning how to train a dog not to bark is the easy thing, the hard part comes with actually teaching them not to bark. Whatever you do, it is important that you are consistent and you are patient – dome dogs will pick up on things quicker than others. Just because your dog is “slow,” it doesn’t mean he/she isn’t a good dog – it just means they will take more time to train. In the end, if you are not able to control the barking, you can take your dog to a basic training class to get some help.