For some reason, there are dogs who have decided that they’ll give their owners (and their neighbors) a headache by barking uncontrollably. Of course, these pooches have their own reasons for barking, but when it starts causing trouble and sleepless nights, something needs to be done — and quick!
So let’s cut to the chase and talk about ways by which we can train dogs not to bark.
Here are a few helpful tips we’ve put together to get that excessive barking under control.
- Do not reward the barking. No matter how loud or incessant the barking gets, never reinforce or reward it. If your dog starts yapping and you react by shouting and telling him to stop, he might interpret that to mean you’re rewarding him by giving him attention. Or he might interpret your shouting or yelling as your own version of barking in response to him. If you do this, he’s more likely to keep repeating the misbehavior. So one of the first steps to address the barking issue is to ignore it. Dogs tend to mirror their owner’s energy. Frustrated owner = frustrated dog. Calm owner = calm dog.
- Challenge him. If the ignoring technique doesn’t work, try challenging your Fido both mentally and physically. Often, out-of-control barking is the result of pent-up energy. The solution then is to find an outlet for your dog to release that energy. If he doesn’t get a daily walk, it’s about time you took him out and so he can have a walk. Perhaps you can also make it more challenging by having him walk on an incline or have him run along with you while you ride a bicycle. You can also challenge him mentally by getting him involved in activities such as herding or simple obedience games.
- Provide a distraction. Another technique you can use is distracting your dog from the behavior. You can do things like dropping something on the floor, opening the fridge, turning on the TV, or playing some music. The goal is to get your dog to investigate something to get him preoccupied on something else.
- Reward the non-barking times. This is the flipside of tip no. 1. If you don’t reward the barking, you will then reward the times he’s quiet and calm. This is called positive reinforcement. If he usually barks at persons walking outside your house but he decides to be quiet for some reason, reinforce that behavior by giving him a treat.
- Get rid of the trigger. One of the simplest ways to get him to stop yapping is by removing what triggered the misbehavior or by relocating him. For example, if what gets him going are passersby, take him to a room in your house where he can’t see or hear them. if he gets all rowdy and loud when there’s another animal in the room with him, remove that animal. Sometimes, something as simple as removing the trigger for the barking is what works.
- Use an anti-bark collar. There are different types of bark-control collars, but not all of them are effective. Worse, some of them are cruel and inhumane. So far, the safest and most humane are sonic/ultrasonic collars such as the Petking Anti-Bark Collar. It works by emitting progressive sounds that are inaudible to the human ear but can be heard by dogs. The sounds are eventually accompanied by vibrations. Combined, these two work together to teach your dog that it’s not OK to bark. This technique is easier to do and takes less time compared to most techniques.
When all else fails, the next option you have is to enlist the help of a professional. Someone trained to deal with this type of misbehavior can provide the best solution to get the excessive barking under control.