If your large dog's constant barking resembles a chainsaw, you might find yourself wishing you had a smaller dog instead -- the barking wouldn't be as loud and you might not have to deal with complaining neighbors. Regardless of your dog's barking, you love him and he's a member of the family. Use this as motivation to correct his nuisance barking. Be patient and consistent, and with some effective training methods you can have a well-behaved, large dog with a loud bark that's only heard when it's appropriate.
Teach your dog the "speak" command. To effectively teach your dog to be quiet, start by teaching him to bark on command. Say "speak," and ring the doorbell to get your dog to bark. Let him bark and reward and praise him afterward when he's quiet. Keep repeating this until your pet companion learns the meaning of "speak."
Train your pet companion to be quiet on command. Tell your dog to speak, and let him bark three or four times. Show him a dog treat and say "quiet." He'll stop barking so he can sniff the treat. When he's quiet, wait three seconds and give him the treat. Repeat this tactic several times, gradually extending the time that your dog has to be quiet before getting the treat. Over time, he'll start understanding the meaning of "quiet."
Close the window curtains or blinds if your pet companion's barking is triggered by something outside, such as people passing by or a teasing squirrel, bird or cat. Alternatively, close the door to the room so your dog can't get to the window. If your dog barks when he's in the backyard, install a high fence that he can't see through or over.
Spend quality time with your dog so he doesn't bark for attention or entertainment. Take your dog on long walks and let him run and play to burn energy, which he might otherwise use to bark. Give him challenging food-stuffed dog toys and schedule daily obedience training sessions for mental stimulation.
Ignore your large furry friend if he barks to get your attention. Avoid paying attention to him or else you're teaching him his barking is effective and you're reinforcing his noisy behavior. Ignore him and pretend you're not hearing the noise he's making. Pay attention to him when he's quiet and praise him for his good behavior. It might take a while, but eventually your dog will realize that being quiet gets him what he wants, and that his barking isn't effective.
Clang two metal pans together if you want your dog's attention-barking to stop immediately. To be effective, the noise you make has to be louder than your dog's barking and has to occur each time your dog starts barking. Over time, your pet companion will realize that his barking triggers the unpleasant noise and he might prefer to stay quiet instead.
Put a head halter and leash on your dog if his barking occurs when you're walking him. If your dog barks at people or other dogs, pull the leash up so the head halter tightens and closes his mouth so he can't bark. Tell your dog to sit and when he obeys, give him a treat for good behavior. Change your direction and continue walking to get your dog's attention.
Don't yell at your dog to get him to stop barking -- it encourages his behavior, because he thinks you're barking back at him and joining in on the fun.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Metal pans
- Head halter
- New Dog: Choosing Wisely and Ensuring a Happily Ever After; Bruce Fogle and Patricia Holden White
- The Humane Society of the United States: Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- Cesar's Way: How to Prevent Dog Barking
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images