Stop your dog barking
Stop your Dog Barking
Barking is a natural way of communicating for dogs. Some breeds naturally bark more often or louder than others. However, sometimes, it can get out of hand and be very annoying. There are plenty of reasons for excessive barking. Unless it is a serious condition that needs a vet’s attention, you can train and reduce it yourself.
You might now be asking how to stop your dog barking? In the next few paragraphs, we will go on in detail about the steps you can take to curb unnecessary barking for good. It involves some simple measures that have a proven track record of being successful. So sit back, relax and note down the things to make your dog bark only when needed.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
You must have noticed that dogs seem to bark in different tones when in different situations. Their responses match the situations- and in some situations, a dog’s natural instinct is always to bark.
- Threat To Territory
If a person or another animal goes into what a dog considers its turf, it can lead to protective instincts kicking in. This often leads to unpleasant growling and barking which can take an aggressive turn. There will only be a few humans and other dogs that the pooch will consider letting inside its territory. The only way to stop this is to teach your dog to recognize danger so that it doesn’t bark unnecessarily.
- Alarmed Barking
When your dog’s stimulus is confronted with an unknown attribute, alarm barking occurs. In simpler terms, when the dog sees a mysterious or unfamiliar person, hears loud and disturbing noises, or smells something fishy, alarmed barking can occur. Additionally, it can also happen when it senses danger. However, alarmed barking is not similar to territorial barking at all.
- Attention Seeking Scenarios
This is one of the most common reasons why dogs bark without a need for it. It is to grab your attention when you are not giving it enough. As you might know, some breeds need more attention than others. However, you can train your dog to crave less of it. Attention seeking may also be due to hunger or thirst, so watch out for that too.
- Anxiety Barking
Dogs can feel anxious due to a variety of different reasons. Some of those reasons are seperation, frustration, anger etc. Dogs can also feel anxious when confined or chained. Most dog breeds hate being made to sit in a small space. Moreover, if you leave your dog alone for more than a few hours, it can also lead to a different kind of anxiety that induces non-stop barking.
- Illness, Injury and Pain
This reason, although common, is fairly easy to notice. Dogs will be let out a wailing kind of sound and bark to grab your attention when in pain through injury or illness. The only logical step to adopt next would be a visit to the vet.
- Social Barking
Another common cause due to which a dog barks is reacting to other dogs barking. This can happen when you have multiple dogs within your home or if your dog hears another dog barking in another part of the neighborhood.
- Barking to greet
This is the least harmful of barking and is used by dogs to welcome you or other dogs. In most cases it won’t be annoying at all seeing them all happy and cheerful. However, it can be excessive if your dog suffers from separation anxiety and sees a friend or family member after a long time.
Tips To Curb Excessive Barking
- Don’t Reward The Barking
As with everything, dogs get something of a reward when they bark. This reward may change with different dogs and even the same dog in different situations. As a dog owner, you need to find the motivation behind the barking. The next logical step would be to remove the motivation or the reward it gets when barking. Some common motivations behind the bark are attention, food, playtime, injury, etc.
Just as an example, consider that your pooch is barking at strangers on the road or something that is outside your home. In this case, removing the motivation is to pull up the curtains so that the dog doesn’t notice the strangers or bring it home if it is outside. Sometimes not giving the attention it seeks can also be equal to removing the reward of barking.
Alternatively, after removing the motivation, your dog may feel dejected. In order to distract it, you can give it some busy toys that will surely be intriguing from a dog’s perspective. Busy toys are easy to come buy and should definitely be introduced to your dogs if they create nuisance every now and then.
- Quiet Training
One of the more popular commands that is taught to dogs is the “quiet” command. It is specifically used with dogs that create too much noise. Additionally, it is quite simple to teach and you can do it by yourself.
When you notice that your dog is barking excessively, say “quite” and wait for it to stop barking. Once it stops, give it attention, praise it and provide a tasty treat. Do this every time the dog barks unnecessarily and you are sure to get rid of the habit.
The next step would be to teach it to be quiet without using your voice. For example, make the dog quiet by putting your index finger onto your lip. Furthermore, dogs pick up body language signals way faster than voice commands. To do that you can use the same technique. Another key point to note is that training will be way more effective when the dog is calm rather than excited or scared.
By any chance, if the training is not effective, you can make a startling sound like the clunking of keys, or cans to grab his attention. It is sure to startle him and stop the barking. Then, say quite and give him a treat. This is not recommended, but maybe the best alternative if the normal routine is not working.
- Tire Your Dog
Often, excessive barking can be due to unspent energy. Tiring your dog constantly by giving it physical challenges can be a great way to stop barking. Without a doubt, a tired dog is a quiet dog. The key is to channel the energy in your dog into more productive things like exercise, playing etc.
To release that pent up energy, you can take your dog for a walk, play games in your yard like fetch or make it hang out with other dogs in the neighborhood. In this way, a dog will get the attention it needs and also the physical exercise that its body demands. Another great result of tiring your dog is that it reduces frustration and other kinds of anxiety in the long run.
- Dog Proof Your Home
Rather than undertaking the pain of making your dog adjust to your home, you can adjust your home for the dog. Further, it won’t cause any disruption to you or change the way your beloved home looks. To give you an idea, if you are dog starts barking at a delivery man, it is not his fault. In their eyes, the delivery man may be a thief that is trying to rob you. So, to prevent this scenario, make sure the door glass is hazed and if you have a gate, reduce the noise it makes.
Additionally, when you are away from the home, you can create a dog zone where you can station things to keep the dog busy and calm. Also, set up a white noise area and play some soothing songs. This helps to calm your furry friend down and also reduces the outside noise by a lot.
- Challenge Your Dog Mentally
As we have already discussed, an idle dog will always look to reduce boredom or spend that extra energy. More often than not, barking will be the way to do it. In case that you cannot tire your dog by playing with it, going for walks etc, you can always give it some mental tasks to keep it occupied.
The dog product industry has recognised the need for such toys and have created a plethora of them. Some of those toys include Kong, which you fill up with treats, pet puzzles to train your dog’s mind and keep it occupied for long hours etc. There are also petcube bites that praise your dog and give it treats when you are not around.
If you cannot afford to buy these specially designed toys or don’t want to use them, you can always go the natural way. You can organise mini treasure hunts for your dog by hiding treats around the house. You can freeze some biting toys or a wet cloth and let them bite on it. Dogs love to bite in order to kill boredom. Hence, stopping a dog barking is easy when their brains are busy.
- Use Bark Controlling Devices
The term “bark controlling devices” may sound inhumane, but rest assured, they won’t cause pain to your dog at any cost. On the opposite, many are designed to reduce the stress a dog goes through, so that it doesn’t bark unnecessarily. Strides in understanding dogs and technology are what has made this possible.
For starters, you can get an ultrasonic device that emanates sound only dogs can hear. Humans cannot hear it as our frequency spectrum is much smaller. When your dog is barking excessively, you just need to switch it on. The noise will startle the dog and make it keep quiet.
Alternatively, you can use citronella spray to contain the barking. Dogs hate the taste of the spray and that taste sensation is sure to shock them in a mild way. This shock will snap them out of a rut and make them stop barking.
The most gentle way to reduce barking would be to use stress reducing collars or a thundershirt. They are known to not only reduce stress, but also make them less anxious and reduce over-simulation. However, you need to be careful while making them wear these gizmos. Take it slow and reward them generously for doing well.
What Not To Do
Wondering how to stop a dog barking but ran out of ideas? You may think of adopting some common practices, but these can turn out to be bad for your dog and the relationship between you both. We will talk about such things in the next few paragraphs.
The first and foremost thing to remember is that you cannot use physical beatings on your dog to stop it from barking. Never strike your dog.
Next one, do not use a muzzle to stop your dog from barking for extended periods. Using muzzles means dogs cannot eat, drink or cool themselves during that period which would mean it’s inhumane. Also, never use a rope or any kind of sealing mechanism to close the muzzle. It can be dangerous and painful for your dog.
Lastly, but more importantly never encourage your dog to bark on your own. Your attention will be a reward for the dog and it will send a wrong signal. For example, if the dog is barking at someone, don’t act suspicious around them. This again sends a wrong signal.
Stopping a dog barking can seem difficult at first. However, consistent efforts so that they improve and behave according to your liking will be fruitful. As discussed, there are a number of different things you can do to stop them from barking unnecessarily.
Removing the stimuli that causes the barking should always be the priority. In cases where that isn’t possible, you should train your dog for such scenarios. Using bark control devices and expert help should be your last resort.