How to Shut Up a Barking Dogby Kimberly Caines
If your dog's excessive barking has earned him the title of "neighborhood nuisance," your best off correcting his behavior. If you think yelling at your dog is going to stop his barking, you're in for a surprise -- your furry friend will think you're encouraging his behavior and you're joining in on the fun. Instead, find out what's triggering his noise-making habit -- he might be bored, lonely or scared. With patience and consistency and the help of irresistible dog treats you can reinforce good behavior and get rid of bad behavior.
Teach your dog to be quiet on command. Ring the doorbell to get your dog to bark. Show him a treat and say "quiet." He'll stop barking so he can smell the treat. Wait 5 seconds and give him the treat. Avoid giving the treat right after he stops barking, because he'll think you're rewarding him for his noise-making behavior. Repeat this tactic consistently and gradually let your dog wait longer for the treat. Over time he'll associate being quiet with getting rewarded.
Break your dog's concentration so he stops barking. Make a loud noise or throw something in front of his feet the moment the barking starts. Use an air horn or clash two pans together so the noise is louder than the barking. Throw a can filled with coins in front of your dog to stop the nuisance. Make sure your dog can't see you when you make the noise or throw the item -- you want him to think that his barking is triggering it.
Desensitize your dog to objects that trigger his barking. If your dog is barking out of fear of an object, such as the vacuum cleaner or trash can, give him treats while he's in the same room as the item. Make sure the item is at a far enough distance so your pet companion won't bark. Move the item out of the room and stop giving the treats. Over time, gradually move the item closer to him and keep rewarding him with treats, making sure to stop giving him treats when the item isn't in the room. Eventually he'll stop barking and he'll associate the item with positive consequences.
Provide your dog with daily mental and physical stimulation. Take him on long walks so he can run, play and explore and tire himself out so he's less likely to bark. Give him chew toys or challenge him with food-stuffed dog toys to keep him busy and to prevent frustration and boredom, which might trigger barking.
Put a head halter on your pet companion if he barks at people or animals when you walk him. When your dog starts barking, lift the leash so the head halter tightens and closes his mouth so he can't bark. Change your direction to redirect your dog's attention and continue your walk.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Air horn
- Can of coins
- Chew toys
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Head halter
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- Cesar's Way: How to Prevent Dog Barking
- The Humane Society of the United States: Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images