Lately, there’s no peace around your furry friend.
They bark at everything they hear and see.
And this behavior keeps getting worse as days go by.
So now, you might be frustrated and wondering…
“Are there effective ways to curb excessive barking asap?”
Keep reading to discover:
- 9 proven steps to stop your dog from barking in 7 days.
- 9 common mistakes to avoid when curbing this behavior.
- 9 possible scenarios of dogs barking and different ways to stop them.
- 11 things to remember and 7 troubleshooting tips to end a dog’s barking.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
- Can you train a dog to stop barking?
- 23 real reasons why dogs bark
- 9 common mistakes when teaching your dog to stop barking
- When should you start training your dog to stop barking?
- Can you teach an old dog to stop barking?
- 9 steps to stop dog barking in 7 days (how-to)
- Things to keep in mind while teaching your dog to stop barking
- #1: Timing is everything
- #2: Be calm amid the storm
- #3: Always go for positive reinforcement
- #4: Avoid bark control collars
- #5: Use tiny but tempting goodies
- #6: Gradually cut down on treats
- #7: Keep greetings lowkey
- #8: Avoid things that’ll frustrate them.
- #9: This needs a lot of repetition
- #10: Be consistent
- #11: Teach them an alternative to barking
- Specific scenarios of a dog barking and things you must do
- How to stop my dog from barking at everything that passes by
- How to stop dog barking at night
- How to stop dog barking at other dogs
- How to stop dog barking when left alone
- How to stop dog barking at door
- How to stop dog barking in crate
- How to stop dog barking at visitors
- How to stop dog barking at neighbors
- How to stop dog barking for attention
- “I followed the 9 steps, but it didn’t work… what should I do now?”
Can you train a dog to stop barking?
You can train a dog to stop barking with rewards, the right timing, and patience. Usually, you may teach them the cue to “speak” and be “quiet” to let them know when to bark. And that keeping silent earns them a prize like treats or praises. But you can distract them with noises or commands as well.
Also, you can introduce a new way of communication besides barking.
For example, if your dog wants to go outside, teach them to sit quietly beside the door. Or ring a bell and wait for you to take them outdoors.
But wait. Before we dive more into these…
Let’s look at the possible causes behind your Fido’s loud behavior.
23 real reasons why dogs bark
- Alarm barking.
- Asking for help.
- ‘Social barking.’
- Invitation to play.
- Separation anxiety.
- Protective instincts.
- Resource guarding.
- For communication.
- Reinforced behavior.
- Hate being stared at.
- Innate behavior (vocal breed).
9 common mistakes when teaching your dog to stop barking
#1: Yelling at them
“Shhh! Quiet now! Quiet!”
You tell these to your furry friend to curb their barking.
But despite raising your voice so many times…
It doesn’t faze your Fido by a bit.
Instead, they sound even louder than before.
Now, what’s going on?
When frustrated, some people tend to shout to control a situation.
Say if they want others to listen to them or force them into submission.
However, your dog doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do.
First, they might think you’re only joining in the fun.
Your scolding may translate to “Keep it up!” or “Good job!”
Which then motivates them to bark even more.
Second, dogs learn by association.
So if you say “Quiet!” every time your furry friend barks…
They may link it to the behavior and think it’s the cue to speak.
Third, same with humans…
This method only causes long-term fear and stress in Fidos.
One study shows that raising your voice at dogs affects their mental health.
As a result, they perform worse than furry pals trained using rewards.
Also, punished dogs show more signs of stress, like:
- Lip licking.
Plus, their saliva has higher ‘cortisol’ or stress hormones too.
And that’s why yelling won’t stop your dog from barking.
Instead, it’ll worsen their behavior.
Note: Aside from the things I listed above, watch out for the other stress signals below.
- Being destructive.
- Scratching themselves.
#2: Giving treats while they’re not calm yet
As soon as your dog barks…
You might give them a yummy treat to divert their attention.
At first, this might seem effective as the barking stops right away.
Well. Your Fido can’t do both things at the same time. Vocalizing and munching on snacks.
So as soon as your furry friend finishes their food…
They’ll continue their barking frenzy again. And they’ll also do it whenever they like.
Now, what’s the reason for this?
It’s because you’re giving your Fido treats while they bark – not when they’re quiet.
Thus, they’ll think you’re rewarding them for barking. Which will motivate your pooch to beg and yap until you give them food.
#3: Rewarding your dog at the wrong timing
This is one of the most common training mistakes.
It’s only right to reward your dog for their good behavior.
But if you do it even a few seconds late, it can reinforce the wrong one.
In this case…
You may accidentally reward your Fido as soon as they bark again. And not when they calm down.
Then if you keep doing this, you’ll encourage your dog to bark more.
#4: Giving them attention
If your dog comes and barks directly at you…
They likely want something.
But if they’re not hungry or in the mood to play, they only want your attention.
So if you stroke, look at, or talk to them at that moment…
You’ll only reward them for barking.
What to do?
Ignore your dog as they ‘demand bark.’
You’ll know this if they let out medium-pitched noises spaced at intervals.
Some Fidos may even cry while carrying their toy to grab attention.
Now, if this is the case, only look or talk to your pooch once they become quiet.
If you’re sitting, stand up.
Then turn around or walk away if they keep barking at you.
#5: Comforting them immediately
If your barking dog seems scared, you may try to calm them down by stroking their back or belly. As well as by speaking to them too sweetly.
Although your Fido will appreciate this gesture…
They might also view it as a reward. Which makes them think that barking’s a desired behavior.
Note: Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell whether a dog barks due to fear or attention seeking. Thus, watch out for these common signs of anxiety:
#6: Chasing your noisy dog
You may sometimes get frustrated.
So you’ll come rushing to your Fido, who has been barking at the window nonstop.
But as you go near them, they might run away from you.
Then without you knowing…
This setup suddenly became a game of chase.
And since it’s thrilling for your pooch, they may bark again when bored to make you follow them around.
Thus, your dog will continue barking with this method.
#7: Repeating cue words
It’s known that our furry friends learn by repetition.
For instance, you must train your dog daily to teach them a command.
And you have to do it many times until they connect the word to the correct action.
But for this to be effective, you should only say the cue once. Or else you’ll confuse your dog.
Also, they might associate the word with another behavior.
So, if you’re the type to say “Quiet!” or “Calm!” many times in a row…
Your dog will only be confused. And you won’t stop their barking no matter how often you tell them so.
#8: Not keeping your cool
Did you know that dogs can sense your emotions?
A study found they could do it by looking at your face. And also by listening to the tone of your voice.
For example, your Fido knows you’re upset if you have a frowning face and a loud voice. As well as a tensed jaw and body.
And they’ll base these on their daily observations of you.
Besides this, one research shows that dogs can sniff emotional responses like stress.
It says that canines were 93.75% accurate in the tests.
And they can detect stress in people’s sweat and breath.
Thus, even if you’re not yelling at your pooch…
They might still catch on to your frustration and get anxious. Which doesn’t help in teaching your dog to stop barking.
#9: Punishing your Fido physically
Lastly, laying your hands on your dog’s never right.
I know that excessive barking’s annoying.
Also, you might think there’s no way to stop it when training doesn’t go as planned.
But punishing your Fido physically will only do more harm than good.
And here are some of the reasons why.
First, your pooch will be more fearful.
If you hit them, they’ll associate you with pain. Which then breaks their trust and damages your bond.
Second, this fear may result in stress or anxiety.
Third, studies say that punishments (e.g., kicking, hitting) can lead to aggression in dogs.
Fourth, your Fido won’t learn the desired behavior.
Punishing them at the right time may teach them not to bark excessively.
But still, your dog doesn’t know what they should do instead. So they’ll try other things and make training harder.
Also, if you punished them a few seconds later…
Your pooch won’t make the correct associations. Which will only confuse them.
And these are the reasons why you should never hit your dog.
If you want to learn more, check this out next: 27 Common Dog Training Mistakes + Fixes
When should you start training your dog to stop barking?
You should start training your dog to stop barking if the behavior becomes excessive. Say if they’ve been doing it for long periods. Which can be a nuisance for you and your neighbors.
“Can I get in trouble if my dog barks too much?”
If you look up the Internet, you’ll see animal control laws about excessive barking. So search if your area has one.
For example, I’ll use the code in Placer County, California.
Based on it, excessive barking’s when a dog barks or howls repeatedly. To the extent that it disturbs the peace in the neighborhood.
To complain about this, you need a piece of evidence. And it must show that the dog has barked for at least 20 minutes.
If proven, an animal control officer will investigate the area.
Then if the complaint’s valid…
The officer will contact the parent of the dog complained about.
Tell them about the matter. And advise them on how to correct this behavior.
Now, if you receive 2 or more complaints about the same dog within 12 months…
The court will convict you of a misdemeanor. And the penalty ranges from 6 months in jail and a fine of $500.
Okay. Too much for this.
I hope things wouldn’t go this far with you and your pooch.
Also, you may want to maintain a good relationship with your neighbors as much as possible.
So to prevent things from getting worse, follow the steps I listed below.
Plus, training’s never too late for any dog. You can teach them not to bark at any age.
And speaking of this, here’s a question you might also be wondering…
Can you teach an old dog to stop barking?
You can teach an old dog to stop barking with lots of patience and consistency. Along with these, you also need a positive mind as you may not see results fast.
Like other Fidos, you must reward your senior dog when they’re calm. Give them a piece of treat and praise them if they obey you.
Next, since they learned to bark when bored or whenever they see someone outside…
You won’t easily remove this behavior as it has been a habit for years.
Thus, you have to be extra patient with your senior Fido.
9 steps to stop dog barking in 7 days (how-to)
#1: Find out the trigger
To stop your pooch, you must know why they’re barking first.
There are several possible reasons for this. (I listed them earlier.)
But as a recap, here are the most common ones:
- Alarm barking.
- ‘Social barking.’
- Territorial instincts.
- Compulsive behavior.
This varies per Fido and situation.
So, how will you find out the trigger for your dog’s barking?
Step #1: Answer the questions below
- When does the barking occur?
- Where does your dog usually do it?
- What happened prior to their barking?
- Do you see any target or trigger of their behavior? Who or what is it?
For instance, if your dog stands and barks in front of you every mealtime…
It means they learned to ‘demand bark’ when hungry.
So, ask them to sit and wait patiently for their food.
Then only serve their meal once they settle down.
Next time, avoid making your Fido notify you of their mealtime.
Prepare ahead and feed them at the same time daily. (Having a regular routine helps reduce your dog’s worries and anxiety.)
Step #2: Observe your furry friend
Pay close attention to their:
- Body posture.
By looking at these…
You’ll be able to read your dog’s body language.
This will give you an idea of what they need or feel at the moment. Which allows you to find a way to end their barking.
To understand this better, here are some examples:
A dog who barks with pinned ears and a tucked tail show signs of fear or stress.
Meanwhile, a Fido’s alert if their ears are perked-up and they firmly wave their tail to the left.
Now, you might wonder…
“Does the direction of tail wagging matter?”
Doctors say that the 2 sides of our brain are responsible for different emotions:
- Left – positive (e.g., happiness, surprise)
- Right – negative (e.g., fear, disgust, sadness)
However, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. And vice versa.
So if you connect this with tail wagging…
The meaning will be the opposite:
- To the left – negative emotions.
- To the right – positive emotions.
A study backs up this idea.
It says that dogs seemed anxious while looking at other Fidos wagging their tail to the left.
Meanwhile, they were relaxed seeing other furry pals wave it to the right.
Thus, watch your Fido’s tail carefully as well to get hints.
Step #3: Be all ears for their bark
Lastly, dogs can make different types of noises.
They use it to communicate with others. And it’s known that Fidos understand other hounds’ barks.
But one research found that most humans can correctly guess it as well.
They know if a Fido’s being excited or aggressive by only listening to their barks.
Experts believe it results from more than 30,000 years of living with dogs.
Therefore, you can do it too. And here are some tips to help you:
|Dog’s emotion||How they bark|
|Territorial||Rough noises with growls.|
|Scared/stressed||High-pitched barks with yelps.|
|Playful||2-syllable barks with low growls.|
|Frustrated||Constant high-pitched barks mixed with howls.|
Now, mix all the info you got in these 3 steps…
Then read the following tips below.
If you want to know more, read this article: 22 Types Of Dog Barks And Sounds + What They Mean
#2: Acknowledge your dog’s bark
How’s your observation of your furry pal?
If they keep barking while looking out the window, door, or fence…
They might be alerting you of a potential threat outside.
Your dog may have detected a change in the surroundings.
Either they sniffed a new scent or sensed the presence of a stranger.
This is also known as ‘alarm or alert barking.’
You can describe this as rough, continuous “Arf arf arf!” that passes through walls.
Now, if this is your case…
You must acknowledge your pooch’s barking to end it.
If not, skip this step and read the next one.
What to do?
- Come to your dog calmly.
- Look what they’re barking at.
- Check out the window. Take a peek behind the curtain or slightly open the door.
- Get back to your Fido.
- As soon as they stop barking, say “great job” or “good work.”
- Lead them to a different room. (Or any area away from the trigger.)
“How does this help?”
Think about this.
Your dog wants to alert you of something. So if you’re not doing anything, they’ll become frustrated and bark more.
Also, it’s not a good idea to stop their barking completely for your safety.
Plus, I’m sure your pooch wants to fulfill their job as well.
Thus, let them know they did great alarming you. Which is like telling your dog that everything’s fine.
And then praise them once they became silent to reinforce this good behavior.
#3: Remove/avoid the trigger
Now, if your furry pal’s scared or stressed about something…
Remove the reason for their barking. Or take your dog away from the area.
Avoid that particular reason in the meantime to reduce your dog’s barking.
However, if your pooch’s doing it at every stranger or noise outside your house…
Block their view outdoors.
For example, pull the curtains down and close all openings.
But for your safety, keep at least 1 window open. So that you can still see what’s happening outside.
Just ensure your Fido can’t reach or access it.
Note: This is only a quick fix since you can only avoid your dog’s trigger for a while. So if you want long-term benefits, do steps #4 and #8 to train your pooch.
#4: Teach them to be quiet
Dogs can understand human language.
An average Fido may learn up to 100 words and more.
But for your furry friend to do this…
They must make the correct associations first.
Thus, simply telling them “shh!” or “shut up!” won’t stop them from barking.
What to do?
Train your dog to understand the word “quiet.”
- Prepare yummy-smelling treats to get your Fido’s attention. (E.g., boiled chicken strips, cut-up anchovies with low salt content)
- Let your dog bark 3-4 times.
- Say “quiet” in a firm, calm tone.
- Wait until they stop barking (even for only a few seconds).
- Once they do, offer them a small piece of treat.
- Tell them praises in your most excited voice. (E.g., “good dog,” “great job”)
As you go on, slowly cut down the treats.
Then if your Fido’s doing well, wait a bit longer before rewarding them.
Say let them stay still for 2 seconds at first. Then gradually increase it to 4 seconds and so on.
This is to test how long they can keep silent. And also to know if they’re doing it because they learned the command or if it’s only for the sake of food.
Note: Do this daily whenever you hear your dog bark. Each session can be 5-10 minutes long. Keep training them until they stop upon hearing the word “quiet.”
#5: Distract them with a noise
Does the “quiet” command not work on your pooch after 15 tries?
And even by using treats?
If so, create sounds that’ll divert their attention instead.
What to do?
- Allow your dog to bark 3-4 times.
- Say “quiet” calmly.
- Make a noise. (E.g., shake a bottle filled with pennies, blow a whistle, jiggle a set of keys)
- Call your Fido away from the trigger or area.
- Praise them immediately once they become quiet.
Note: Gradually stop making noises until your dog calms down by only saying the cue and praises. Never fully depend on noises while training.
#6: Divert them with a trick
Try this method if treats and noise are ineffective on your furry pal.
This will shift your dog’s attention to something else. And it can help stop their barking for a while.
Which then gives you a chance to reward them as soon as they become quiet.
What to do?
- Ask your dog to do a command whenever they bark. It must be a basic trick that they fully mastered. Say “sit” or “lie down.”
- Praise them and give them a treat if they obey you without yapping.
- If not, allow your Fido to bark 3-4 times.
- Say the command again.
- Reward your dog once they calm down and perform the trick.
If this works on your pooch…
Keep doing this until they learn that staying silent gets rewards.
Note: Be careful when giving treats to your Fido. Never offer them food if they did the command while making noises. Only do it if they’re calm and quiet.
#7: Ignore demand barking
Dogs make noises to communicate with us.
But sometimes, their barking might get out of hand.
In the end, you’ll have a pooch with serious demand barking issues. As if they’re a small kid whining due to tantrums.
They’ll let out constant, high-pitched barks when they want attention. Or if they’re begging for a piece of your food.
You (or other people) may have rewarded this behavior by accident.
So from then on, your pooch learned that barking gets them what they want right away.
But don’t worry.
This is a common issue among dog parents. And you still have a chance to correct it.
What to do?
Since you’ll reward your dog if you pay attention to them every time they demand bark…
Do the exact opposite of it.
Ignore your Fido completely.
- Avoid looking at and talking to them while they’re barking.
- Never touch or stroke them.
- If they keep doing it, turn away from them or get out of the room.
- As soon as they become silent, tell them to “sit.”
- Once they obey you, you can give them what they want. May it be attention, food, or cuddling.
- Do this every time your Fido barks nonstop at you.
But let me be clear here.
I’m not telling you to ignore your Fido when they want some lovin’ or need anything.
The problem with demand barking’s they won’t stop until you give them what they’re asking for. Even if you already acknowledge them.
So the goal here’s to teach your dog to become patient. And make them realize that excessive barking won’t get them anything.
Note: I know this tip’s easier said than done. As you may not help but give in to your Fido’s sparkling eyes. However, you must do this to discourage excessive barking.
You might also like: 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At You (All Of A Sudden)
#8: Desensitize your dog to the trigger
As I said earlier, you can’t always avoid the cause of your Fido’s barking.
This is the case if they’re afraid or bothered by a person, animal, noise, or object.
So instead of only avoiding the trigger…
Desensitize your furry friend to it.
“What do you mean?”
According to VCA, it’s when you slowly expose your Fido to their stressor until they get used to it.
What to do?
Step #1: Get your dog used to seeing their trigger
- Place your dog and their stressor in the same area. (Do this if it’s a person, animal, or object.)
- Start at a safe distance. (The trigger and your dog must be far enough to prevent your Fido from barking.)
- Keep giving your dog small treats while they’re not barking. (This is to link the stressor to something positive.)
- If your dog’s doing well, move the trigger closer after 5 minutes.
- Repeat step #3.
- Do this until the stressor’s near your dog. And they’re not reacting to it.
- But if your Fido starts barking, return the stressor to its previous spot.
- Do step #3 again until your dog calms down.
- Repeat step #4.
- Slowly move the trigger closer to your dog as you go on.
Step #2: Desensitize your dog to the trigger’s sounds
- Choose a quiet room in your house.
- Take your dog and their trigger to it.
- Keep them far enough from each other.
- Play with your dog and give them tiny treats.
- If the stressor’s a person, tell them to speak a few words.
- But if it’s an object, ask someone to hold it and produce noises. (E.g., fasten and detach harness locks, turn on the vacuum cleaner)
- Watch your Fido’s reactions.
- If they’re not barking, reward them.
- Move them closer to the trigger.
- If your dog barks or becomes scared, bring them to their previous spot.
- Entertain them again with toys or treats.
- Repeat step #9.
- Make your dog stay with their stressor longer every session.
- Keep doing this until your Fido doesn’t react whenever they hear its noise.
Do this as well if your Fido’s stressor’s a sound.
- Look for the trigger’s sound on YouTube. (Or record it if you want.)
- Place your phone/speaker and your dog inside it.
- Play the sounds at the lowest audible volume first.
- See how your dog reacts to the noise.
- If they’re silent, give them small pieces of treats.
- If your dog’s not bothered by the sound, raise the volume a bit.
- Repeat steps #5 and #6.
- Reduce the volume asap as soon as your Fido barks or shows signs of stress. (E.g., shaking, pacing, folded ears)
- Gradually increase the volume if your dog stays calm.
- Continue until your pooch learns that the object or noise
Note: Do this for 5-10 minutes daily to make your Fido get used to their trigger. Also, be generous with treats and praises at first. Then slowly cut down on food until your dog doesn’t bark with their stressor around.
#9: Provide them with enough stimulation
They say a tired, content dog will be less likely to bark.
It means that Fido has met their daily exercise needs. Both physically and mentally.
Thus, they won’t have to express their boredom or frustration anymore. Which means less barking.
So, as you train your dog for 7 days…
Work out their mind and body daily as well.
What to do?
First, ensure your Fido gets enough physical exercise daily.
This depends on different factors, such as:
- Health condition.
Thus, follow the standard below as per PDSA:
- Puppies: 5 minutes per age in months.
- Adult dogs (moderate energy): 1-2 hours.
- Adult dogs (working breeds) – 2 hours or more.
- Old dogs/Fidos with health condition: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
For the latter, check on your pooch from time to time.
See if they can still continue. Then give them at least a 5-minute break in between.
Now, in terms of exercise…
Here are the recommended activities for dogs per life stage:
- Hide and seek game.
- Obedience training.
For adult dogs (small breeds)
- Scent works.
- Puzzle games.
- Obedience training.
Note: Avoid intense activities for flat-faced dogs (e.g., Pugs, Bulldogs). Say jogging, swimming, or running. These Fidos have difficulty breathing. So stick with light exercises like walking.
For adult Fidos (medium-sized, working breeds)
- Scent works.
- Agility course.
- Playing (e.g, fetch).
For adult dogs (giant breeds)
- Scent works.
- Learning tricks.
For senior Fidos (and dogs with joint problems)
- Balance exercises.
Note: Avoid overexercising your old dog. Monitor them at all times and give them plenty of 5-minute breaks in between. Stop at once if they’re panting or crying during walks.
Take your furry friend to the vet if they show other signs of pain. Like limping, whining for hours, or hesitating to climb.
Next, work out your pooch’s mind as well.
Keep them busy by giving them the following:
These toys don’t only involve your dog’s mind.
Your pooch also needs their mouth to manipulate them. Which can help prevent them from barking.
Continue reading: 17 Brain Games For Dogs To Entertain Your Fur Baby
Things to keep in mind while teaching your dog to stop barking
#1: Timing is everything
If you reward your dog by accident while they’re barking…
You’ll only confuse them.
As a result, all those days of training may go in vain.
So be extra cautious.
Never praise your Fido or give them a treat if they’re making any noises. Or even the slightest sounds.
Studies show that giving rewards at the right time’s an important skill in ‘dogmanship.’
“What is it?”
It’s the ability to interact with our furry friends.
But besides this, a person also needs to be good at getting and keeping a Fido’s attention.
And people who don’t have these qualities may find all dogs difficult to train.
#2: Be calm amid the storm
While barking, your dog already gives off a lot of energy.
So to stop them, avoid adding more to the room. As doing so will only excite or upset them further.
Thus, keep your composure while training your Fido even if you’re frustrated.
What to do?
- Avoid yelling.
- Have a 5-minute break.
- Take long, deep breaths.
- Get some fresh air outside.
- Relax and drop your shoulders.
- Think of the reason why you’re doing this.
- Close your eyes and visualize an image of yourself calm.
- Find a ‘centering object’ in the room. Touch it when you’re getting angry or stressed.
Also, if you have to move your dog to a different area away from their trigger…
Do it quietly. Never force your Fido to do anything.
If they’re not obeying you, lead them with a yummy treat. Or toss their favorite toy toward the spot you want.
#3: Always go for positive reinforcement
As I said earlier in the common dog training mistakes…
It’s never right to scold or hit your Fido when they don’t obey you.
According to research, punishments lead to more behavioral issues in dogs.
Examples of these are:
- Hitting their nose.
- Tugging their leash.
Also, punishments often lead to anxiety. Which puts most dogs at risk of abandonment.
So, what I’m trying to say is…
Punishing your dog for barking won’t stop them from doing so.
Your Fido won’t understand what you want them to do.
Instead, you’ll stress them out, and they’ll fear you. Then associate you with negative things like pain.
And this could ruin your lovely relationship with your dog.
What to do?
Stay positive – in your mind and actions.
Think that things will work out in the end. And ensure your interactions with your Fido are always pleasant.
To do this, use the following while training your dog:
- Verbal praises.
- Their favorite toy/game.
It should be anything your pooch loves to motivate them to listen and follow you.
Once your dog does the new behavior you want, reward them with these.
Do it right away for them to make the correct connection:
Not barking = delicious treats and praises.
Note: Use this as a base during training. Say if you want to teach your Fido a new trick to curb their barking. Or if you like to introduce a new toy or tool to help you with training.
You might also want to check out: 7 Popular Types Of Dog Training (+The Best One For You)
#4: Avoid bark control collars
This tip has a connection with positive reinforcement.
However, let me address it separately.
First, these collars send an electrical shock to a Fido whenever they bark.
People started using these in the late 1960s for hunting dogs.
But other people also use them to curb other unwanted behaviors. Say food aggression or stubbornness.
However, these cruel shock collars bring pain to a dog.
Apart from physical discomfort and potential wounds…
They also cause the following:
- Increased heart rate.
- Communication problems. (Dogs don’t understand what you’re doing.)
#5: Use tiny but tempting goodies
There’s no doubt that most Fidos love treats.
But due to this trait…
Your dog may overeat during training. As you’ll use yummy rewards to motivate them.
What to do?
Vets say our furry pals’ must not exceed their 10% daily energy intake.
Eating treats can quickly meet this need…
So prepare only small pieces of goodies every session. (If you have a tiny puppy or breed, make them into pea-sized ones.)
Also, to prevent obesity, use natural, low-calorie snacks, such as:
- Sliced carrots.
- Plain, boiled chicken strips.
- Small bits of low-fat cheese.
- Mini cube-sized apples (without seeds).
However, give these in moderation. Do this to avoid upsetting your Fido’s tummy.
Now, since you’ll train your dog repeatedly…
They may get bored if you always give them the same thing.
Thus, also keep these tips in mind:
- Ensure the treats are among your Fido’s favorites.
- Use different kinds of snacks to provide variety for your dog.
- Avoid feeding the treats to your pooch outside training. This is to keep their ‘high-value’ status.
#6: Gradually cut down on treats
At first, be generous with the edible rewards. As this makes your pooch learn fast.
But once they understand what you’re teaching them…
- Slowly lower the number of goodies you offer to your dog. (Do this also to avoid upsetting their tummy.)
- Start by giving them a treat 5 out of 5 times whenever they do the behavior. Then do it 4 out of 5 times next time. And so on.
- Replace food with verbal praises instead. (You may also add belly rubs or head pats as a reward.)
- Keep doing this until your dog obeys mostly to please you. And not solely for the sake of earning a treat.
#7: Keep greetings lowkey
Does your Fido get too excited when you come home?
And do they also bark out of control seeing other people and dogs?
If this is the case, the change might need to begin with you.
What to do?
To keep your pooch silent, act the same way as well.
Greet them calmly the next time you arrive home.
- Avoid talking to them excitedly.
- If you need to say a command, speak firmly.
- Ignore your Fido as they demand bark in front of you.
- Prevent rapid movements (e.g., jumping, running to your dog).
Then the second your pooch stops…
Shower them with praises and attention asap.
Do this every time you’ll greet your furry friend.
Also, tell them about this rule if you live with other people. So they also know how to interact with your Fido when they come home.
#8: Avoid things that’ll frustrate them.
They say prevention’s always better than cure.
So if you want to reduce your dog’s barking…
Stay away from things that’ll trigger their urge to vocalize.
What to do?
First of all, what’s the reason for your Fido’s barking?
If it’s strangers or other dogs, avoid leaving them outside.
Do this to prevent setting your Fido up for failure.
They’ll bark at every passer-by and other animals around. Which can ruin everything they learned in training.
But if the trigger’s loneliness or boredom:
- Leave them with long-lasting chew toys.
- Ask a trusted dog walker to take your Fido out while you’re away.
- Never confine your pooch for more than 6-8 hours. (It’s 3-4 hours in puppies.)
- Walk and play with your dog for 10-15 minutes before leaving for work.
- Give them a heartbeat toy or your old clothes they can snuggle with. (For Fidos who love soft things.)
Also, stick to a regular schedule to prevent them from getting frustrated.
Provide the following to your dog at similar times daily:
- Quality/cuddle time.
Warning: Never leave your dog with toys that have detachable pieces (e.g., a squeaky ball with a bell, toy with strings). Avoid products that are too small for your dog’s mouth too. As your Fido may swallow these and block their throat.
You might also want to know: Why Does My Dog Hate Me? 9 Surprising Reasons + 7 Tips
#9: This needs a lot of repetition
Your dog won’t stop barking overnight.
You must train your Fido for at least 7 days to achieve it.
So, expect that this will take a while.
Aside from treats, bring a lot of patience in your training bag too.
#10: Be consistent
Since you have to repeat this training daily…
- Never skip once as you might end up returning to square 1.
- Ensure you set the same rules every session. And do it at similar times.
“How does this help?”
A regular routine helps dogs feel at ease as they know what to expect daily.
So it can also prevent them from getting stressed and barking nonstop.
Also, do you have other people living with your Fido?
If yes, tell them you’re training your dog to stop barking. And that you need everyone’s help to do this within 7 days.
- Write or print out the rules you have for your dog.
- Post them in the fridge. Or any part of your house where everyone can see.
- Teach them how to interact with your furry pal when they bark excessively.
Note: Informing all people living at your home will help with consistency. Even when you’re away, your dog won’t be confused. As the rules and way of training them will be the same as yours.
Reading recommendation: 37 Quick Dog Training Tips For Beginners
#11: Teach them an alternative to barking
Since you’ll be stopping a certain behavior of your dog (demand barking)…
You must replace it with a more desirable one.
Do this so that your Fido can express their needs or emotions next time. And they won’t resort to vocalizations.
What to do?
Let’s say you’re training your dog not to bark nonstop when they want to go outside.
Instead of yapping:
- Make your Fido stand beside the front door.
- If they stood in their spot quietly, let them out.
- Praise your dog and offer them a small treat.
- Repeat this until they master the new trick.
- Slowly reduce the treats you give. Do this until your dog stands still beside the door on their own without food.
Here’s another method:
- Hang a puppy/dog bell on the front door. (Ensure your Fido can reach it.)
- Ring it every time you take your dog outside.
- Do this at least 5 times.
- But now, let your Fido ring the bell before going outdoors.
- Demonstrate how to do it.
- Wait for them to copy you before allowing them outside.
- Praise your Fido once they ring the bell successfully.
Now, this is extra training.
But if your furry friend picks up words fast…
This could be a perfect alternative to barking.
Have you seen the amazing Poodle named ‘Bunny’?
Her parent taught her to communicate using dog buttons.
Not convinced yet?
Watch Bunny talk with her hooman effortlessly:
Each button corresponds to a certain word. Say “hungry” or “outside.”
Then the dog must push the button that says what they need or feel at the moment. Which helps their parent understand them.
Now, you can try this at home too.
But you’ll need more patience along the way.
How to teach your dog to speak using buttons
First, introduce the items to your Fido.
They’re still unfamiliar with the buttons. And they don’t know how they work.
So follow these easy steps first:
- Get a set of dog buttons. (Start with a product with the least number of pieces first.)
- Label 1 with a word you want to teach your dog. (I’ll use “outside” as an example here.)
- Show them a treat.
- Point to a certain button.
- If your dog touches it, give them a snack.
- Don’t give them one if they slam multiple buttons at once.
- Repeat this until your Fido understands the concept of pushing a specific button.
Next, move on to the following stage:
- Place the “outside button” on the floor, near the door.
- Push it before taking your Fido outside.
- Repeat this at least 10 times.
- Once done, wait for your pooch to press the button with their paw or snout.
- If they don’t understand what you’re doing, show them how it’s done once.
- Wait for your Fido to push the button on their own.
- If they did it, let them out immediately. (This is to make your dog connect the action to the word.)
- Shower them with praises.
- Repeat this whenever you bring your Fido outdoors.
Note: Add more buttons if your furry pal’s doing well. And do the same steps above to teach the new term.
Specific scenarios of a dog barking and things you must do
How to stop my dog from barking at everything that passes by
The easy solution for this is to limit your Fido’s view. This is so they won’t see people or animals walking outside.
Pull down the curtains or blinds in windows that your dog can reach.
But leave at least 1 that you could still use. Just in case you have to look at what’s happening outside your house.
However, if you opt for a more long-term effect on your dog…
Here are what you can do:
Option #1: Trick your dog with a loud noise
- Wait for your dog to bark naturally.
- Distract them with noise as soon as they do it. (E.g., snap your fingers, make a ‘kissing noise with your lips)
- If they look back and stop barking, praise them. Give them a treat they can’t resist. (E.g., shredded lean meat)
- While they’re quiet, keep offering them small pieces of snacks.
- Repeat this every time you catch them barking at passers-by.
- Call your dog using the noises.
- Praise them whenever they look at you and stop barking.
Option #2: Distract your pooch with command
- Make your Fido wear a harness and leash. (This will help you control them better later on.)
- Wait for your dog to bark at the window, door, or fence.
- Let them do it 3-4 times.
- Say “quiet.”
- Entice your dog with a delicious, savory treat.
- Gently hold your dog’s leash.
- Quietly lead them out of the area.
- Give them something to do. (E.g., provide chew or puzzle toys, ask them to “sit” and “lie down”)
- Praise your Fido every time they stay silent.
How to stop dog barking at night
Want to get your much-needed sleep?
Here’s what you can do to have a peaceful evening:
Provide a comfy sleeping spot for your dog.
- Put soft bedding.
- Place everything they need around them. (E.g., food, water, toys)
- Adjust your room temperature. (Below 32° F (0° C)’s too cold for most dogs.)
- Place their bed away from busy areas and openings. (To reduce exposure to external noises.)
In addition to these:
- Cuddle with your dog before bedtime. (Best for affectionate breeds like Pugs and Bichon Frise.)
- Acknowledge their barking if they’re alerting you. Then do the steps above to stop them from barking at passers-by.
- Play classical music or white noise (e.g., TV or radio static, machine). Do this to mask unwanted sounds and calm your Fido.
- Ensure your dog uses their pent-up energy during the day.
Note: Healthy, adult dogs need 1-2 hours of exercise. Meanwhile, working breeds require more. And seniors, puppies, and sick ones need less.
How to stop dog barking at other dogs
First, ask your friend with a dog to help you with training. Then invite them and their Fido over.
Once they arrive:
- Put your pooch on a leash.
- Take them outside.
- Tell your friend to bring their furry pal out too.
- Keep both dogs at a safe distance. (They must be far enough from each other to prevent your Fido from barking.)
- Stand closely beside your furry pal while holding their lead.
- Ask your friend to walk their Fido in front of your dog. But tell them to maintain their distance while doing so.
- If your pooch sees the dog and stays silent, give them small treats.
- Keep offering them tiny pieces of snacks as a distraction. And also to link the presence of other dogs to a positive thing.
- Stop once your friend and their dog walk past you.
Again, slowly cut down on treats as you progress. Replace the food with rubs and praises.
And if your dog’s doing great:
- Move them closer to the other Fido.
- Repeat the steps above.
- Keep doing this until they look at you for praise during walks. And they’re not interested in other dogs anymore.
Note: Keep each training session 10-15 minutes long. And invest in a dog treat training pouch as well.
How to stop dog barking when left alone
- Walk and play with your Fido for 10-15 minutes before going out.
- Give them toys to keep them occupied. (E.g., chew toys, treat-dispensing ball)
- Never leave your dog alone for more than 6-8 hours. If you have a puppy, 3-4 hours is the limit.
- Greet your Fido calmly when you arrive home. Only give them attention once they settle down and stop barking.
How to stop dog barking at door
- Divert your Fido’s attention using a command.
- Ask them to “sit” or “lie down.” (Or any trick they’ve mastered.)
- Reward your dog as soon as they become confused and stop barking.
- Do this every time your furry pal barks at the door.
Here’s another option.
Instead of giving your dog something to do…
You may also stop them from barking by making a noise.
- Clap your hands or shake a can full of pennies.
- Offer your Fido a treat once they look at you and become quiet.
- Repeat this whenever you catch your dog barking at the door.
How to stop dog barking in crate
You must train your Fido to use their crate first.
Make positive associations with it using rewards. This is so they won’t see the crate as a scary place for punishment.
Rather, a safe spot for sleeping. As well as a place where they can retreat to when stressed.
What to do?
- Make their crate a comfy place. (Put a soft bedding, place all their fave toys and food inside, or cover its 3 sides with a breathable blanket.)
- Let them sniff and inspect it.
- Lure your Fido with nice-smelling treats.
- Put a few pieces outside and inside the crate.
- Point them to your dog.
- Wait until they eat the treats one by one.
- Once they step into the crate, praise them.
- Keep giving your Fido tiny treats.
- Stop when they bark or act anxious inside the crate.
- Repeat this for 5-10 minutes daily.
- Do this until your dog goes inside on their own.
Once your Fido learns that the crate’s a spot for relaxing…
- Say a cue like “go to your crate” and point to the spot.
- Keep the gate open in the beginning.
- Let them play with their toys and eat some treats inside.
- Leave your Fido for at least 5 minutes.
- Say verbal praises if they kept quiet the entire time.
- Gradually increase the crating length as you go on. Raise it up to 10 minutes every session.
- Try closing the door this time.
- Once your dog feels comfortable in the crate, stop giving treats to them. Praise them instead.
Other reminders for crate training
- Never force your pooch to go inside.
- Avoid letting them out of the crate while barking. Wait for them to settle down. (Or else they’ll bark whenever they want a way out.)
Note: If your furry friend doesn’t stop barking, the crate might be too small for your dog. Ensure it has enough space. So your Fido can stand up and lie down comfortably.
Check out also: Why does my dog suddenly hate his crate?
How to stop dog barking at visitors
- Get an irresistible treat. (E.g., shredded chicken, a small amount of liverwurst, tiny bits of cheese).
- Ask a friend to be the ‘visitor’ during training.
- Tell them to stand outside your main door. And knock or press the doorbell button.
- Once your friend does this, say the cue “speak.”
- Wait for your dog to bark.
- If they did, say “yes” to mark the behavior.
- Give them a treat. (This lets your Fido know that what they did’s acceptable.)
- Repeat this at least 5 times.
This time, when your dog barks at the visitor:
- Say “quiet” and hand them a treat.
- If they stayed silent, say praises to your dog.
- Keep giving them small snacks while they’re not barking.
- Repeat this 5 times.
- Do this until your Fido learns that “quiet” means they must stop barking. And that they earn some treats from it.
Note: Again, slowly cut down on treats as your dog gets faster at obeying you. Snacks shouldn’t exceed 10% of your Fido’s daily energy intake. Also, cheese and liverwurst are only safe in moderation.
How to stop dog barking at neighbors
- As soon as your Fido barks at your neighbor, say “yes.”
- Give them a small treat.
- Once they vocalize again, say “speak.” (Do this to make your dog link the word to barking.)
- Repeat this until your Fido makes the right association.
- Try telling them to “speak” to see if they understand you.
- Reward them if they bark.
- Do this 3-5 times.
Once they get the cue for barking…
You’ll now teach them to be quiet:
- Wait for your dog to bark at a neighbor once again.
- Or say “speak” if you spot a person outside and your Fido doesn’t notice.
- Say “quiet” and give your dog a treat once you hear a short pause. Or if your pooch stops barking to breathe for a second.
- Keep doing this until your dog learns the “quiet” command.
How to stop dog barking for attention
Ignore your Fido to discourage them from barking while seeking attention.
This means you must avoid:
- Having eye contact with your dog.
- Petting or comforting them as they bark.
- Talking to them if they haven’t settled down yet.
Soon enough, your dog will be tired from too much barking.
They’ll also be confused if they’re used to getting attention from you if they do this.
Thus, once they pause and calm down…
Grab this chance to come to your Fido calmly.
Give them verbal praise and treats. Then stop as soon as they resume their barking.
“I followed the 9 steps, but it didn’t work… what should I do now?”
#1: Teach them to go in their ‘zen spot’
If your dog keeps barking at visitors and jumps on you whenever you arrive home…
Train them to go and stay quiet in a certain area.
This could be a:
What to do?
- Pick an area you want to be your dog’s ‘zen spot.’
- Grab some tasty treats.
- Once your dog barks at something, show a piece of snack to them.
- Hold it near their nose.
- Let them sniff the tasty treat.
- Slowly move your hand toward your chosen area.
- Say, “go to your spot,” and toss the treat on it.
- Point the food to your dog. Urging them to eat it.
- Wait for them to put all their feet on the ‘zen spot.’
- Once they do, praise them and offer them a treat immediately.
- Wait for 3-5 seconds.
- Give your dog a treat again if they’re still in the zone. (And if they’re not barking.)
- Call your Fido to make them step out of the area.
Once they’re out, create a trail of snacks toward the spot.
- Wait for your dog to sniff and eat the treats one by one.
- Once they step on the chosen spot, praise your Fido excitedly.
- Keep offering them small treats.
Next, make them step out of the chosen zone.
- Show your dog a treat.
- Say “go to your spot” while throwing the snack into their zen spot.
- If they go to it, praise your dog.
- Wait for at least 5-10 seconds before giving them a treat.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
- Increase your dog’s stay on their spot as you go on.
Once your furry friend learns to “go to their spot”…
- Go out of the front door. Leaving your dog behind.
- Stand outside.
- Wait for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Return inside the house.
- Once you open the door, ignore your pooch.
- Never pay them attention while they bark.
- Say the cue, “go to your spot.”
- If they did and they also stopped barking, offer your dog a tasty treat.
- Shower them with praises.
- Repeat these steps at least 5 times every day.
Note: Level this up by asking someone to be a visitor during training. Do the steps in the 2nd part. But instead of you, tell your helper to stand outside the door and give the command.
#2: Ask your dog to do an incompatible task
To prevent your Fido from barking…
Tell them to do a trick that makes them use their mouth.
If you’re inside the house, you can toss a toy away from your dog. And then ask them to pick it up.
Do this whenever they bark at the doorbell or at everything they see outside.
However, to make your Fido choose the toy over barking…
It must be one of their favorites. Or it should make interesting noises to get your dog’s attention immediately.
“But what will I do if I’m walking my Fido outdoors?”
If you’re outside with your dog, distract them with treats.
Keep giving them small bits of snacks. Do this until you walk past other Fidos.
However, ensure they’re not barking to avoid reinforcing the wrong behavior.
Eating’s a simple task that also involves the mouth.
So if the food you offer’s something your dog loves…
They’ll gladly eat it instead of barking. Which helps you with the training.
#3: Switch up your Fido’s routine
Any changes in schedule or environment can stress out a dog.
This usually happens if you feed or play with them at a different time. Or if they suddenly had a new family member or lost one.
However, if your dog’s current routine’s the cause of their stress barking…
Slowly change it until you see results.
What to do?
If your pooch seems bored or has pent-up energy at night…
Walk or play with them longer every day. Ensure they get enough mind and body workouts through games and toys.
Here’s another example:
If your Fido usually stays outside, try taking them indoors.
Bring their crate inside. Place it away from the busy spots of your house to give them a quiet, comfy resting zone.
Or, if your dog’s usually tethered if you leave them…
They might be frustrated because their movements are restricted.
So the next time you leave, take your Fido to a room inside your house. Then allow them to move freely around the space without a leash.
But before doing this, exercise your dog first thing in the morning.
Spend at least 10 minutes of quality time with them as well.
And ensure the room has no potential hazards inside. Say sharp objects or small items they may swallow.
For your dog’s safety, read this article next: 9 Tips To Safely Lock Your Dog In A Room + 5 Dangers
#4: Socialize your dog properly
A study shows that exposure to different situations prevents behavioral issues in Fidos.
If you socialize your puppy at an early age…
They’ll be confident enough to face other dogs. Also, they’ll know how to interact properly with Fidos.
This prevents them from getting scared or defensive when they see other hounds. Which reduces their tendency to bark.
So if you have a puppy at home, start socializing them.
Do this, too, if you have a full-grown pooch.
What to do?
- Start close. Introduce your dog to your friends or family members.
- Ask them to toss some treats to your Fido. (This is to make your Fido link those people to a positive object – food.)
- Let people whom your dog already knows to join you in games. (E.g., treasure hunt, fetch)
- If your dog’s doing well, take them in the yard.
- Walk them around the area.
- Then, gradually, take your dog on outdoor walks.
- Bring them to different routines. And let them sniff around the area to discover things they haven’t.
- Distract your dog with a treat if they keep barking at other dogs or people.
If you have a young pooch, you can enroll them in puppy classes.
Before exposing them to the outdoors…
Ensure they get full sets of vaccines needed at their age.
As per AAHA, a.k.a. ‘The American American Animal Hospital Association’…
These are the initial shots for puppies:
|Core vaccines (mandatory)||Noncore vaccines (required depending on the situation)|
Canine Influenza (dog flu).
And based on vets, here’s the common vaccination schedule:
|6-10 weeks||Kennel cough.|
DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus).
Canine Influenza (dog flu).
DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus).
Canine Influenza (dog flu).
#5: Get help from a certified dog trainer
Talk with your vet about your problem. Or with friends who were in the same situation as you.
Then ask for recommendations on a dog trainer.
In other cases, you can’t train some Fidos at home alone.
You need to talk with an expert in person. And ask their help to guide you along the way.
This is highly likely if your pooch has other behavioral problems that need to be addressed.
Say separation issues, severe anxiety, or phobias.
Now, of course, you only want the best for your furry friend.
So to give you some ideas or help you in your search…
Don’t forget to check out: 27 Best Dog Trainers In The World (Updated Guide)
#6: Avoid getting your Fido worked up
If excitement’s the cause of your dog’s barking…
Avoid rewarding it to discourage them from acting the same way again.
Like attention-seeking, you’ll only motivate your hyped Fido to bark more when you give them what they need.
What to do?
If your furry friend gets too noisy when they see you get their leash:
- Slowly put the lead on the floor or table.
- Sit down.
- Ignore your dog’s excitable behaviors. (E.g., barking, jumping, nudging).
- Wait for them to calm down.
- Once your Fido becomes quiet (even for only a few seconds), praise them and give them a treat.
- If they’ve been silent for more than 5 minutes, try touching the leash.
- Pick up your dog’s lead.
- If your Fido’s not reacting, slowly attach the leash to your pooch.
- Take them outside immediately.
- But stop at once if your dog starts barking.
- Drop the lead, put your poker face on, and sit down again.
- Do this until your furry friend learns that being noisy means they won’t get to walk outdoors.
#7: Capture your dog’s calmness
Last but not least.
If it’s difficult to make your dog settle down while they’re barking…
Forget asking them to do so.
Instead, observe them closely every day.
Then wait for them to stay calm on their own accord.
Catch your dog’s peaceful moments. And reward your furry friend every time.
What to do?
While at home, always wear or keep a treat pouch bag by your side.
You’ll never know when you’ll catch the calmness in your Fido.
So have it with you at all times.
Next, watch your dog.
Ignore them if they demand and bark a lot.
But as soon as you see them lying peacefully on the floor or their bed…
Place a small treat near their snout as a reward. Then walk away.
Do this every time you see your dog in a relaxed state.
Say if your dog’s:
- Sitting calmly in the yard.
- Looking quietly by the window.
- Snuggling with you on the couch.
Now, if your dog starts begging and barking at you for food…
Turn away from your dog. Or stand up and walk away if you’re currently sitting.
Never give your Fido a treat if they seem to be expecting a reward.
They must stay calm naturally – not for the sake of food.
So be careful of these things. As you may reward your dog’s begging behavior by accident.
Now, after 1 or more days…
Try training your dog to stop barking again.
If you were consistent, you might notice that your Fido now enjoys being in a calm state.
They may also listen to you and understand the “quiet” cue.
Note: While capturing calmness, avoid getting your Fido excited. Avoid praising them in an upbeat tone or giving them intense head pats. Simply toss a treat and then walk away.