It’s natural for dogs to bark, but it’s a nuisance to owners and their neighbors. Whether you’re making an urgent phone call or putting down a sleeping baby, it’s helpful to know how to quiet a barking dog. Some dogs bark at every person who walks by, whereas others howl while their owner is at work. The habit of barking is tough to break, so it’s essential to start early. Staying consistent and following these steps keeps your dog happier and your home and neighborhood quieter.
In short, here are the seven steps to get your dog to stop barking:
Read the details below on how to quiet your noisy dog by implementing these seven steps now.
Dogs bark for many reasons. These include distractions, like a squirrel in the yard, or boredom from a long day home alone. Dogs vocalize due to a territorial or protective instinct. Others need more exercise. Some dogs crave attention and bark hello every time you enter a room. A small percentage of dogs are compulsive barkers and require more effort or therapy. Figure out when and why your dog barks by observing its behavior. Find the triggers for barking and take immediate action. WebMD says that “barking can give dogs an adrenaline rush, which makes barking pleasant.” It’s hard to break a habit that makes your dog feel good.
Dogs get caught up in everything they hear, smell and see. They get excited and bark a greeting or warning. Distractions, like people walking down the street or loud cars, cause a dog to bark. Dogs, who are acting out on territorial or protective behavior, often need their owners to limit their views. Use shades or curtains to block windows. Crate or contain your dog in a quiet space while you’re gone. Add background noise, like fans, television, or music to block neighborhood noises. Solid fences help in outdoor areas, and options like dark fabric or slats for chain link fencing add privacy.
A tired dog barks less. Cesar Millan says that “Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy.” By taking your dog out for some exercise, for 30 minutes to an hour each morning, you’re helping your dog get rid of some of that energy. Energetic dogs benefit from an afternoon or evening walk as well. Dogs also vocalize when bored. Use treat-dispensing toys to keep your dog occupied. Dogs focus on getting the treat and pay less attention to other distractions in your house or yard.
Ignore a barking dog and don’t reward bad behavior. If your dog barks when you come home, then turn your back, avoid eye contact, and don’t pet the dog. As soon as your dog quiets and sits, then praise and reward with a treat. Even negative attention, like scolding, increases a dog’s barking. It’s important that all family members follow this rule.
When your dog barks, say “Quiet.” Use a low, but firm tone. Don’t shout, because dogs think that you’re barking with them. At first, your dog will ignore you. Say “Quiet” once. Then wait for a pause in the barking. Slip him a treat as soon as he’s quiet for a second or two. Once he opens his mouth to bark, then put the treats away. Only reward your dog for calm behavior. Repeat the quiet cue while out in public areas as well as at home and in the yard.
A barking habit develops over time and often takes quite an effort to break. Other commands, such as “speak” and “stay,” provide the structure that your dog needs. Read a tutorial on dog training that implements the “speak,” “stay,” and “quiet” commands. Address the specific issues your dog faces, whether it’s attention-seeking or territorial, through consistent action.
A good dog trainer can give you information on the best dog barking deterrents, such as a dog whistle or an anti-bark collar. Trainers work with your dog to address the issue and teach the correct ways to give commands. Some dogs enjoy doggie daycare, and it wears them out. For a noisy household and busy dog parents, it’s worth the expense to get help with dog training and care.
Understanding why your dog barks and addressing its specific needs is the best way to stop your dog from barking. Using training commands, like the quiet cue, helps your dog stay calm. Being consistent with rewards and training methods breaks bad habits and keeps your home happier.
If you’re looking for additional training advice, make sure to check out our other pet training articles.
Featured Image Credit: MPauline, Shutterstock