You're on the hunt for a natural repellent to quiet your dog's barking. While you appreciate it when Sunny warns you of an approaching guest with a yap or two, her continual and unwarranted barking is upsetting your home's tranquility. Whatever gets her started, you need to break the habit. You want to try a bark repellent that you can be sure is safe and humane.
Mix a few drops of lemon, grapefruit or orange juice with water in a spray bottle. When Sunny barks, spray a puff of the mixture into her mouth. Many dogs are repelled by citrus, so she'll soon associate barking with an unpleasant taste and odor. You can mix non-toxic citronella oil with water instead of using the citrus concoction, but whatever you use, avoid getting the spray in her eyes. Check how your dog reacts to citrus before you try it as a repellent: While many dogs are repulsed by it, some aren't.
A stand-alone ultrasonic bark device is a safe, humane means of interrupting Sunny's non-stop barking. A small sensor detects her bark and responds with a high-frequency sound that interferes with the barking behavior. These come in handheld, indoor, outdoor and dual variations. Some have a remote control, giving you the ability to activate the tone manually. Because Sunny's bark itself activates the disruptive tone, and because the response is harmless, this device is a good choice if you can't always be around to intervene.
Get creative and interrupt your canine buddy's unwanted behavior with an old glass canning jar filled with coins. When Sunny barks, rattle it and say "no!" Your pal will quickly understand that barking will cause you to shake the annoying "no-no" jar. When she stops barking, ask her to "sit," and give her a hug or another favored reward.
When your buddy begins the barking behavior, gently cup her face, and softly say "quiet." Repeat once more. Reward her with a treat if she stops barking. If not, turn your back and ignore her completely as long as she continues to bark. Don't lose patience and break your determination to pay her no attention when she's in bark mode; yelling at her reinforces the negative behavior with your attention. Once she breaks off barking and is quiet, praise her and give her a reward.
Exercise can alleviate barking behavior if the cause is a need to burn off energy, boredom or frustration. Take your pal on daily walks, weekend hikes and journeys to the pet store. Use up her excess energy with training and games. If you're a busy career person, consider a pet day care that will make sure she's ready to settle down when you get home. Then you can spend your evenings bonding with her and satisfying her need for your attention.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Susan Spisak has been writing pet- and travel-related articles since 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism.