3 Ways to Train a Dog Not to Bark
Barking and Boredom
The main cause of excessive barking in dogs is boredom. Boredom is caused by lack of a job, lack of a diversion, and most of all lack of exercise. Boredom is also what causes most dogs to dig. Since you probably can´t throw your dog into the back of your truck and go sheepherding with him all day, the next best thing is exercise.
Take your dog for at least a half hour walk in the morning. Most barking problems will disappear.
No time to walk the dog?
Get up a little earlier and make the time. When you come home take him for another walk, about an hour if you can handle it. I take my dog for three walks a day and it is good for my health and her physical and mental health.
Training a dog not to bark excessively
Walk your dog
Praise your dog at the first bark
Tell your dog "no" is she barks excessively
Training a dog not to bark in excess is easy.
Walk your dog each morning. She will be tired and less likely to bark without reason.
When your dog barks to alert you (like a doorbell, a visitor, etc) call her to you, praise her once, and give her a treat. Let her know that she is doing her job!
If your dog continues to bark excessively, or goes back to try and earn another treat, tell her "no" (or whatever word you use) and if necessary lock her up in a laundry room.
Why else do dogs bark?
How do you eliminate these types of barking?
- Aggression: Dogs that bark out of aggression are not barking normally and will not respond to the training outlined above. Consult a behaviorist or good trainer that can work with aggressive dogs. If your dog is not just bored there may be underlying issues behind the aggression; if your dog bites a visitor you may end up being sued. This is a very dangerous type of barking and should not be ignored.
- Doorbell: Teach your dog that someone coming to the door is no big deal. Have a visitor come to the door and let your dog bark like normally. As soon as he pauses give him a treat and say “Thanks”. The visitor should come in as soon as the dog gets his treat. (This would prevent the dog from thinking that his barking drove away the “invader”.) Repeat the exercise, and use the same “Thanks” command each time. It really helps if you have several visitors over several days time. Your dog will always bark a few times, but after a while (this will vary in every dog so I cannot give you an exact time frame) he will look to you to give the “Thanks” and a treat at the time of each visit.
- Strange sounds: Let your dog bark at strange sounds once (so that she can act as a watch dog), but after that you should train her to stop. You can train her just like you did at the door. Let her bark once, tell her “thanks”, then call her to you and give her a treat.
- Loneliness: Pay attention to your dog. This is really your fault. Exercise her more, play games with her, and make her a part of your life. I think the saddest “behavior problem” stories I hear are from dogs that are incarcerated in their crates the entire day, and then locked up again all night long. Dogs like that bark because they can't play the blues on the harmonica.
The worst kind of barking is that kind that goes on when the home owner is not around. My dog likes to bark and alert me when anyone strolls down our road. She is not likely to bark when I am not home, though.
Why? A dog who has plenty of exercise does not have this vice, and my dog has a job (she is a watchdog) and also gets plenty of walking. If your dog is not tired enough though you may be able to satisfy her by buying her something to keep her busy, like a toy that you can fill up with pieces of food. She will be busy playing with the toy and is less likely to bark.
The other hard subject to deal with is when a dog barks excessively but does not belong to you. I have included a listing of an electronic product and a demonstration video from YouTube. This may be needed when the dog barking is not your own, you will have no ability to increase or train the dog properly.
Since the results reported with all of the ultrasonic bark control devices are variable, if this is your own dog I recommend you train it and not try one of these electronic solutions.
Almost all dogs bark at one time or another. Putting an electronic collar on to prevent a dog barking is inhumane.
Just train your dog and control the excess.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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© 2012 Dr Mark