Most dog owners will already be familiar with the sound of their canine companion barking. This barking behavior may be a minor nuisance, or it can become disruptive to your daily activities. So let’s look at someways to stop your dog from barking excessively.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking is normal behavior that dogs engage in from time to time. These animals primarily use barking as a means to communicate with other dogs. Their vocal expressions allow them to convey their emotions, defend their territory, or to simply gain their owner’s attention.
Since barking behavior is considered natural, you may find it difficult to get your canine to stop doing it completely. However, excessive barking can be a problem for owners in many situations. If you live in an apartment building with thin walls, or have young children who are disturbed by your canine’s barking at night, you may want to clampdown on excessive barking behavior. Luckily, there are many ways to do this.
How to Stop Excessive Barking
Owners can reduce the frequency of their dog’s barking using the following strategies.
Ignore the Barking
It can be tempting to yell at your dog or loudly shush them when they start barking. However, such behavior offers them the attention they are craving, which encourages them to bark more in the future.
One strategy is to simply ignore your dog when they are barking. This means you shouldn’t look, speak to, or touch them during one of their barking fits. Once they have quieted down, you can reward them with a treat.
This strategy does require some patience.If your dog is barking non-stop for half an hour, you may eventually lose your cool and yell at them. However, your goal should be to wait it out and let them know that they will be rewarded if they bark for less time than before.
Get Rid of Triggers
If you have observed your dog’s various barking triggers, you should find ways to get rid of them. For example, if your dog sits by the window or door and barks at the people passing by, you could keep your curtains drawn, or leave your door closed. Your canine may still be able to smell passersby, but without a direct line of sight, they are less likely to start barking at them.
Similarly, if you notice your dog barking at other dogs, you may want to avoid taking them to areas where they are likely to encounter other canines, such as the park.
It is also possible to train your dog to bark less. To do this, you should first devise a command to remind them to stop barking. This is important, as using the same word for different commands can be confusing for your dog. For example, using the command “down” when you would like your canine to lie down will be less effective if you also yell “down!”whenever they are jumping up to greet you.
A suitable training command to get your dog to bark less would be ”quiet”. So the next time your dog is barking excessively, tell them “quiet” in a calm but firm manner. It is important to avoid yelling, as this may cause them to bark more. If your dog complies and quiets down, you should reward them with a treat.
You should remember to offer this treat only once they have quieted down, and not when they are barking. Giving them a treat at the wrong time gives them mixed signals that disrupts their training process.
The aforementioned training does take time, but you should be able to make progress if you are following the steps correctly. However, if your dog’s barking is tied to past abuse and/or trauma, you may require the assistance of a professional dog trainer to help manage their excessive barking.
You can learn more about dog training by signing up for Brain Training For Dogs. This special package includes multiple training resources to help you teach your dog to unlearn bad behaviors and become more obedient.
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