How To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking
It's amazing to me how many dogs are out there that constantly bark! Why is it that the neighbors across the hall let their dog uncontrollably bark every time someone walks past their window?
Barking is not something that is "good" for your dog. Yes, it is their way of communicating and it is not exactly reasonable to expect your dog to never bark. However, it's imperative to teach your dog that excessive barking is not OK.
Dogs bark to signal that they're going on the offensive, their stressed, territorial, bored, or lonely- none of which are traits that you would want in your best friend! Stopping your dog from barking is essential to raising a dog that is happy, healthy, and well behaved! So where do you start?
Simply Block The View
If your dog only barks when something or someone passes by outside, the solution to their barking may be as simple as obstructing their view by closing the blinds. When you aren't home, keep your dog in an area of the house that does not have windows. A dog will typically not bark at what they can not see.
It's also a good idea to play music for your dog while you're gone. Calming music has been proven to lower your dogs anxiety levels and will also block out some of the noise from outside to prevent them from barking at that.
If you find that your dog seems to be "just barking" with no rhyme or reason, it is likely because they are bored. A dog becomes bored due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs crave and NEED exercise and attention. Dogs with no mental stimulation will excessively bark because they want your attention or because they are looking for something, anything, to do.
If possible, do not leave your dog home alone all day every day.They need room to play and explore. If you do need to leave your dog home alone for more than 4 hours at a time, be sure to have a bathroom solution for them. A pet potty is essential for dogs who are home alone because otherwise more barking, or worse, a bladder infection, can occur. Get your dog a Bark Potty (no pun intended) so they have a place to pee while you're away. Being able to relieve themselves will in turn relieve some of their anxiety and may quiet some of the noise.
Getting your dog to stop barking can be as simple as giving them a treat the moment they stop. If your dog is barking, wait until they stop, wait a moment, and then reward with a treat. Over time, you must increase the time in between the silence and the treat and also add a command phrase such as "shhh" or "quiet."
If you can get your dog used to whatever it is that they are barking at, the barking will decrease. You should gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever it is that is causing the anxiety. Start with the object or person being in the distance. When she doesn't bark upon noticing it, reward with a treat. Slowly move the stimulus closer and continue with the treats. If the object moves out of sight- do not continue giving treats. You want to teach your dog that this object or human is a good thing by associating their presence with yummy treats!
Use A Training Collar
Often times, dog owners are against any type of collar that will train the dog to stop barking.
However, I've found a fantastic solution that does not hurt the dog. For me, this was a lifesaver. The collar sprays your dog with a scent that they dislike- it smells like citronella. The collar feels the vibration of your dog's vocal chords (which is important because there are some collars out there that respond to loud noises- which oftentimes are not your dog's bark), and promptly spritzes them with the citronella.
For me, I did not have the time to wait patiently as I trained my dog Maybel to stop barking. We lived in an apartment complex. The moment I would leave her alone the constant barking would begin. My neighbors and my landlord complained and I knew something had to be done FAST. I did my research and I found this harmless collar and within, I kid you not, maybe 3 barks, the habit stopped. She sneezes and rubs her face on the rug to get the scent off of her face, but she is not harmed in anyway. She only wore the collar for about 2 weeks, after that she didn't need it at all and to this day hasn't worn it since. She occasionally barks when she's excited or when she hears another dog barking, but that's perfectly normal and OK!
Whatever method you choose to use to get your dog to stop barking, be sure to be consistent. Dogs, like everyone else, learn by repetition. If you put the work in, your pup will learn to stop barking. Your dog just wants attention and providing them with that will lead to a happy, healthy, and quiet pup.