Barking is a natural behavior in dogs: dogs bark at birds, as humans, at the mail coming through the mail slot and, of course, at other dogs too. Often, barking can be a beneficial behavior as dogs can use it to warn you of intruders or to communicate.
However, loud barking can be annoying both for yourself and for those around you. And so, here we provide you with some handy tips on how to train your dog to stop barking.
Firstly: Something to Avoid
When you want to train your dog to stop barking, there is one thing that you should never do, and that is shout at your dog in the hope that they will stay. This is because, when your dog hears you shouting, they will usually think that you are barking too in your way, and joining in with them.
Often, the result of this is that your dog will bark louder and louder while you get more and more frustrated. So do not get into a shouting (or barking) match with your dog!
With that caveat out of the way, here are five methods for stopping your dog from barking. Accompanying these tactics with a consistent command, such as ‘stop barking!’, will eventually teach them to stop barking when they hear the command, without you having to do anything else.
Remember, whenever your dog does what you ask and stops barking, make sure to reward them with plenty of praise and affection (‘good boy!’ or ‘good girl!’ said in a warm voice is perfect, for example), and perhaps even a small treat if you feel that they need extra encouragement.
1. Close Their Mouth Gently with Your Hands
One thing that you can do when your dog is barking is to very gently but firmly hold their mouth closed with your hands and talk to them in a calm voice. Hold their mouth closed for a while, calmly repeating that they should ‘stop barking’ and then release their mouth, giving them plenty of encouragement and petting if they do not resume barking again. If barking resumes, try holding their mouth closed again.
2. Try a Water Spray
Now, some dogs love being sprayed with water, and this is all part of the fun for them! For others, though, a short, sharp spray of plain water when the bark will teach them to stop barking pretty quickly!
3. Distract Them
If your dog is pressed up against the window, barking with all their might at a flock of birds in the sky outside, why not distract them with something more interesting indoors, such as a game of fetch with their favorite toy? In many cases, dogs bark at something that their attention is fixed on, but which they cannot affect in other ways – like a flock of geese flying high up out of reach right in front of their eyes. So, in cases like this, a good way to stop your dog from barking is to distract them with something that they can physically play with – like a ball.
4. Teach them to Bark on Command
If reacting to your dog’s unwanted barking is not working, you can take complete, holistic control of their barking behavior so that not only do they stop barking when you ask, they also only start barking when you ask as well. This can be tricky to do and takes plenty of repetition, encouragement, and practice, with a few doggies treats thrown in here and there as well.
5. Consider a Bark Collar
Dog owners can have mixed reactions to bark collars. These collars are designed either to spray a little citronella close to your dog’s nose (dogs find this scent unpleasant) or to give them a tiny electrical shock whenever they bark.
One downside of using a bark collar, though, is the fact that it can be set off by the barking of other dogs – not just your dog. So, make sure to check with your veterinarian before using a bark collar, and make sure not to use one if you live in a household or a neighborhood that is home to many barking dogs.
Remember, when you want to train your dog to stop barking on command, it is crucial never to get angry or aggressive with your dog. Firmly stating your commands and rewarding good behavior is the best tactic!
Video Credits Goes to YouTube Channel – Zak George’s Dog Training rEvolution