You adore your furry buddy, although you despise his annoying chatter habit. Excessive barking not only gives you a headache, it can disrupt your neighbors. With a little observation and continuous training, you’ll figure out what makes your pooch yap and put the behavior to rest in no time.
As difficult as it may be, one of the best things you can do to nix that obnoxious barking habit is to ignore it. Cover your ears, walk into the other room or turn up the television. Do whatever you have to do to avoid paying attention to your dog. After all, if you yell at him, swat him or open up the door for him to go outside, you’ve just taught him that barking gets him attention -- his exact plan.
Get Rid of the Motivator
Watch your dog to determine what motivates all that barking and get him out of that situation. If he’s barking continuously when school lets out and kids are walking by, keep him in the back of the house until things quiet down outside. Or if he’s waking you up early by howling at the birds that come by in the morning, start closing your blinds before bed. If he doesn’t have that exciting thing to bark at, it should stop.
Keep Him Occupied
When your fuzzy chum is occupied, he won’t have time to sit and bark. As soon as you see his mouth open, grab a toy and toss it across the room. The extra play will burn off some of that pent-up energy, making him too tired to focus on yowling. You can feed him if you know certain things set off his barking. If you are aware that your four-legged buddy barks nonstop around noon when the mail comes, make that his lunch break. Put down his bowl of kibble at the back of the house before the mailman arrives. After awhile, he’ll start to run to his bowl in the middle of the day, not to the door to bark.
Use His Bed
Your canine’s bed isn’t just a place to snooze, it’s also a helpful training tool. Practice sending your fur ball to his bed with the help of a friend. Have the designated person ring the doorbell or knock. When your playful pal starts yapping, show him a treat, toss it on his bed and tell him to “lay” or “go to bed.” Open the door slowly and if your dog gets up and starts barking, close it and start over. He wants to see who’s there and he has to learn that he won’t get to say “hi” until he’s quiet. It’ll take persistence and several training sessions, but after awhile, he’ll figure out that when a stranger is near, if he lays down and stays quiet, he’ll get a snack and ultimately, attention.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.