If you’ve decided it’s time to stop barking dogs in your home, you will likely already know that there are only so many things you can do about the problem. After all, dogs are born to bark. Regardless of breeding and refinement over the last several millennia, they still have that urgent desire to vocalize their feelings and needs. In fact, there is only one breed of dog – the Basenji – that does not bark at all.
So, before you can stop barking dogs, you need to understand why they bark and what forms of barking you can control.
The Causes of Dog Barking
Dogs bark for any number of reasons. They bark when they are angry. They bark when they are excited. They even bark when they are scared. Here is a rundown of when you might expect your dog to start barking:
Attention Seeking Barking
Injury or Illness Related Barking
As you can see, barking is a major part of who your dog is. It’s impossible to stop barking dogs completely. They’re going to want to express themselves at times, regardless of what you do to inhibit their behaviors.
How to Stop Barking Dogs
When your dog refuses to stop barking, first determine if the behavior is warranted. Nine times out of ten, it’s excessive and can be controlled. If you decide that your dog’s barking can and should be controlled, ask yourself these questions.
When does the dog bark?
What is the dog barking at?
Does the dog have a specific trigger?
If you determine that your dog is barking because it wants to protect its territory or is simply alarmed by something, you cannot simply yell at your dog to stop. In fact, negative reinforcement for territorial barking can often lead to biting or aggression in other forms. Your dog doesn’t understand what you’re trying to tell them. They stop the barking, but the territorial issues are still there.
Instead, you need to create a situation in which your dog will not feel that territorial urge to defend itself. This starts by taking control of your household. Be the alpha leader of the pack and show the dog that you are the one in charge of protecting that space. Secondly, you can simply reduce the dog’s ability to see those in cursive threats to its territory. Draw your blinds so he cannot see the mailman, get an opaque fence so they cannot see outside the yard, and make sure they don’t have open access to the windows at any time.
Stop Barking Dogs with Anxiety
If your dog has anxiety issues, the barking is likely a symptom of something much greater. They want to reach you and will continuously bark until you return. Most of the time, this is because you have rewarded them for this behavior in the past. When you return home and they are excited, you immediately give them attention. Rather than rewarding them in this instance, you should ignore your dog for as long as 10-15 minutes so they stop associating your return with attention.
Finally, to stop barking dogs, you should teach your dog how to speak and be quiet. By creating a command that allows you to control the behavior, your dog will learn to control the barking when it is not necessary. A benefit of this is that, if there is an intruder or something you want your dog to bark at, they will still alert you.
Dog barking does not have to be the bane of your community that it has become. Learn to control it early and you’ll never need to worry about the neighbors banging down your door every day when you get home.