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How To Stop Your Dog From Barking

Break your dog's barking habit!

Like many pet owners, you may be looking for a way to stop your dog from barking. Barking dogs are the bane of pet owners and their neighbors all around the world. Here are some tips to help stop your dog from barking:

  1. The most effective strategy to stop your dog from barking at night is to simply ignore it! By barking, your dog is training you to respond.

    You'll probably have a few noisy nights, but you'll show him that barking won't get your attention.

    Don't respond by shouting or scolding your dog. All this does is let him know that his barking has been productive by prompting you to respond to it. Simply put, yelling will never stop your dog from barking!
  2. Break your dog from barking excessively. A dog barks excessively out of fear. He is frightened because he has not yet been socialized.

    Every sound he hears threatens him and he will bark in a futile attempt to drive the perceived threat away.

    Often, a dog that constantly barks, whines, or is destructive, suffers from skin problems that are brought about by scratching and licking himself due to the stress of being left alone.

    This is usually not a problem with dogs that have been socialized through training classes at a young age.

    The way to stop your dog from barking for these reasons is socialization through obedience classes.
  3. Prevent your dog from barking while you're away. This problem is caused by misinformed owners.

    Dogs are pack animals. If, as a member of the family (pack), your dog is given the freedom of the home by being allowed to lie around on the furniture and sleep in your bedrooms, then he will suffer a form of stress when you leave the house. After all, he expects to go with you!

    When you leave home, you shouldn't look at, touch, or talk to your dog for about 10 minutes beforehand. The same rule applies when you come home.

    This way, your dog will understand that his barking was ineffective at bringing you back home.

    If he barked while you were away and you reward him by giving him your attention when you return, he'll think it was his barking that prompted you to come home.

    It's often said that a "dog’s bark is worse than its bite". This is certainly true for the neighbors of a constantly barking dog that is left alone for too long.
  4. Stop your dog from barking at the mailman (or any kind of regular deliveryman). These people are viewed by your dog as intruders, and he thinks it's his duty to run them off.

    When he barks, he is rewarded when the intruder leaves (like the mailman always does). He thinks he has done his duty by frightening off the intruder.

    Talk to your postman and get his cooperation. Tell him you'll leave a doggy treat outside the door. Ask him to push the treat through the mail slot before the letters. The treat will turn the postman into a friend instead of an intruder.
  5. Prevent your dog from barking when the phone rings. If you yell at your dog when it barks at the ringing telephone, you're actually encouraging him to bark even more.

    Ask a friend to call you at several agreed-upon times. When the phone rings don't move or speak. After you and your friend complete this process a few times, your dog will stop barking when the phone rings.
  6. Use deterrents to keep your dog from barking. There are several types of commercial products on the market that are designed to help you stop your dog from barking.

    A free method that you might wish to try first is a quick squirt of water from a spray bottle. You can also simply place a bit of food in front of your dog’s nose to distract him from whatever he's barking at.
You can stop your dog from barking by following one or more of the suggestions listed above. You'll be able to get some rest, and perhaps even more importantly, so will your neighbors!

David Klein is a Canine Behaviorist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Visit him at www.thedogman.net.

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