How to Stop Your Dog From Barking Excessively
Dogs use barking as a form of vocal communication, and barking can mean different things depending on the situation. To expect a dog not to bark is as absurd as expecting a child never to speak. Some dogs, however, bark too much. If this is an issue in you’re facing at home, you should first identify what is causing your dog to bark excessively. Identifying the cause of their barking will enable you to find a solution to it.
In most cases, training a dog to stop barking isn’t difficult, but it does take time, patience, and consistency on your part.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Before we can discuss how to stop a dog from barking, let’s understand why dogs bark. The following are some of the most common reasons dogs bark:
They’re marking their territory or being protective
Excessive barking often occurs when a person or animal enters an area that your dog considers their territory. A dog’s barking can become more intense as the threat approaches. Your dog will appear alert and even aggressive during situations like this.
Something is alarming them or causing them fear
Dogs often bark when something catches their attention or startles them. This can occur anywhere, whether within or outside their territory.
They’re bored or lonely
If left alone for too long, whether inside the house or in the yard, dogs may become bored or sad and may bark out of boredom or because they are unhappy.
They’re greeting you or playing
When welcoming people or other animals, dogs frequently bark as a way of greeting. It’s usually a joyous bark followed by tail wags and jumping.
They want your attention
The most common reasons dogs bark are when they want something, such as going outside, playing, or getting a treat.
They have separation anxiety
Separation anxiety in dogs causes them to bark excessively when left alone. Other symptoms include pacing, destructive behavior, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Furthermore, they often make repetitive movements, such as running in circles or along a fence.
It’s important to realize why your dog is barking in the first place before training them not to do it. Are they scared? Maybe bored? Or were they frightened?
It will take time, effort, practice, and consistency to train your dog to bark less. It won’t happen overnight, but with the right approach and patience, you’ll notice the results.
Once you have a better idea of why your dog is barking, you can find an appropriate method to limit it.
How To Curb Excessive Barking
A dog can be taught to stop barking using many different methods. You can experiment with a few different approaches until you find one that works for both you and your dog.
Removing the Temptation
The easiest way to prevent a dog from barking is to remove the motivation for its barking. For example, if your dog is territorial and barks at people walking past your yard, find a way to shield their view of anyone walking near your house.
As soon as your dog starts barking at someone, bring it inside. This will reinforce the idea that their time outside is over once they bark. They’ll eventually begin to realize that their time outside ends once they bark, so they will keep their desire to bark under control.
The most difficult part of doing this is staying consistent. The moment your dog barks, you must bring it inside immediately, or else it will not associate barking with the reason it needs to come inside.
Desensitising Your Dog
Desensitisation is among the most effective ways to stop dogs from barking. The trainer has to put in a lot of effort, but it is worth it. You can permanently change a dog’s barking behavior when you desensitize them properly.
The idea of desensitization is working with your dog to get them used to whatever they’re barking at and getting them to accept that it is actually a good thing or that it is nothing to be scared of.
Begin by showing your dog from a distance what they are barking at. The object must be far enough away that your dog does not begin barking immediately upon seeing it. When they don’t bark, you can reward them with snacks and lots of praise. Continue to move the object closer and closer until your dog stops barking at it, even if it is quite close. When the object is no longer visible, cease giving your dog treats and praise so they realise that they are being rewarded for not barking.
You shouldn’t expect your dog to stop barking at the stimulus on the first day of desensitisation training. It is necessary to work with your dog for about 30 minutes every day for at least two weeks straight before you can expect to see any significant changes in their barking behaviors.
Ignoring Your Dog’s Barking
Although it won’t always work in every situation, ignoring your dog when they bark is one of the best ways to teach them to stop barking if the reason is due to their need for attention.
Ignore your dog for as long as it takes them to stop barking if your dog is trying to get your attention or play. Don’t talk to them, touch them, look at them, or pay them any attention. When your dog barks to seek your attention, you can ignore them by turning your back or walking out of the room.
Give your dog a treat and lots of praise (the attention they were seeking) as soon as you notice they are quiet (even if they just want to catch their breath before barking again). This teaches them that when they are quiet, they get what they want, and barking does not bring them the attention they desire. Giving your dog a treat at the right time is an important part of their training. When they’re quiet, you have to reward them with treats and praise so they associate being quiet with getting attention. If you’re about to offer them a treat and they start barking, don’t give them that treat.
Try small treats and reward your dog when they’re quiet for a few seconds. You can then work up to longer periods of time until they are no longer barking for attention.
Keeping Your Dog Occupied
Keeping your dog’s mind and body occupied will help them stop barking if they’re bored.
Play with them, take them on a walk, and go to a dog park so they can socialize with other dogs. These activities keep them occupied and burn up their energy, so they don’t have the urge to bark anymore.
This results in a happy and healthy dog, a bonus in addition to curbing their barking behaviour!
Consult Professionals For Training And Advice
If your dog is barking for reasons other than boredom or attention, or if you can’t figure out why, you should consider seeking professional help. Separation anxiety and compulsive behaviour are more serious issues that could be the source of your dog’s undesirable behaviour, so consulting a vet or an expert is always a better option.
Things You Shouldn’t Do to Stop a Dog from Barking
There is a lot of misinformation out there about how to stop a dog from barking. Here are some things you should never do to stop your dog barking.
Do Not Use Physical Punishment
Physical punishment on pets has been shown in studies to be ineffective. It causes increased stress and anxiety in your pet and destroys the trust you’ve built between the two of you. Inflicting harm on pets is also animal abuse.
Do Not Yell at Your Dog
It has been proven that yelling at your dog is as ineffective as physically punishing it. By yelling at your dog, you are likely to increase their energy level or cause stress, and this will increase barking behavior rather than decrease it.
Do Not Use a Shock Collar
Your dog can suffer serious life-long health issues with shock collars since these devices send a small amount of electricity into the neck and throat of your dog every time whenever they bark.
It is possible to train a dog to stop barking, but it takes time, patience, and consistency. One of the most important steps in stopping a dog from barking is identifying the cause or trigger in the first place. Only after you’ve figured out why your dog barks at everything, then you can figure out the best way to stop this compulsive barking behaviour.
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