You’ve probably never expected that a puppy can cause so much trouble.
Believe, me, I know. Instead of enjoying these tiny furballs, you’re probably going crazy with all the woofs and whines.
Maybe you’ve adopted an adult dog or your senior pet suddenly started barking. Thankfully, it’s a problem that can be solved, regardless of the dog’s age.
Before you start buying ear plugs in bulk or writing your neighbors apology letters, take a look at some effective tips to stop your barking dog from driving you crazy!
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Before we dive into the "how" of stopping dog barking, we need to look at the "why" of why they're barking in the first place. There are lots of reasons dogs might bark from play to defense, but in the case of excessive barking at home it's most often separation anxiety. If you listen carefully, you can start telling the difference between the various sounds:
- Play barks are shorter and high pitched
- Defensive barks come in loud fast bursts
- Bored and anxious barks are monotone and repetitive
Treating your dog's barking starts with understanding exactly what type of barking they’re doing.
Can you stop a neighbor's dog from barking?
We’ve all been there. Our next-door neighbors have an extremely loud dog whose barking irritates your pooch and starts a vicious cycle of non-stop woofs and barks.
But is there anything you can do about that? Are there any tips out there on how to stop a neighbor’s dog from barking their head off?
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!
In case this strategy doesn’t work, the only option you have is to invest in sound-proofing your home, or consider moving away, so it’s best to hope you have a neighbor who is willing to train their dog.
How to stop a dog from barking
Any pet parent that has had the misfortune of living with a dog that’s especially talkative, knows how irritating barking dogs can be. I mean, if your dog won’t stop barking at night or drives your neighbors insane with incessant woofs and ruffs, it’s time to do something about it.
Fortunately, keeping a dog from barking is not that hard when you know what you need to do. Dog behaviorists and experts have successfully trained numerous chatty Cathies and the method is always the same: find out why is the dog barking in the first place and treat the cause behind the problem. If your dog is barking because their anxious or scared, you won’t approach the issue the same way you would if they were doing it out of boredom.
Learn how to get a dog to stop barking with these simple but effective training tricks:
Give your dog mental and physical challenges
How do you stop a dog from barking if they are doing it because they are bored?
An idle dog can be a bad thing, and one of the best ways to keep your dog out of trouble is simply to keep them busy. Lots of time barking can be a sign of pent-up energy that has no other way to get out. The good news is there are lots of products to help you do this and even DIYs you can make that will engage your dog's brain and body. Here are a few ideas you can start with without dropping a dime:
- Hide treats around your home and let your dog discover them through the day
- Cut small holes in a 2-liter bottle and fill them with kibble or treats
- Freeze toys and healthy treats into a block for your dog to nibble on during hot days
If you're not a do-it-yourselfer there are plenty of off-the-shelf options such as:
- Kong - this classic dog toy can be filled with treats or peanut butter
- Pet puzzles - interactive toys specially designed to keep dogs entertained and engaged
Tire your dog out
As pet parents, we already work hard and tire ourselves out every day, it's a major ask for us to use extra energy just to tire out our dogs, so try to find ways you can make your dog's existing exercise more strenuous. Here are a few ways you can turn up the volume on everyday physical activities.
- Add a backpack as part of your dog's walking uniform
- Introduce a clicker or treat training to your routine to mentally stimulate your dog
- Try agility training with your pet
Make your home dog-friendly
Besides boredom and frustration, one of the major reasons dogs bark is territorial. To you, it's just the mailman, but to your dog, it's a vicious robber there to attack their master. You can't stop receiving your mail, but there are lots of things you can do to desensitize your pet and make your home a haven away from negative external stimulus.
First, rather than trying to bend the dog to the environment, bend the environment to the dog. Here is a list of small changes you can make in your home that will help stop your dog from barking.
- Invest in shades that block your dog's view outside or frosted windows that let light in but keep the movement from outside out.
- White noise can be a great way to calm a dog down and drown out outside noises. Try leaving a radio on a soothing station, or turning on a loud fan.
How to train a dog to stop barking
Although easier said than done, you can slowly but surely train your dog away from barking or at least desensitize them to the stimulus. Dogs respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement training so make a barking dog treat jar for the yummies that will stimulate your dog to behave. Below are a few tips on how to get your dog to stop barking using treats, but remember that it's important to be extremely consistent with your pet.
- Ignore the barking and force your dog to realize that they will not be rewarded with attention for it. Use treats to encourage positive behavior and withhold them when the dog is barking.
- If things like other dogs or people are your pet's trigger, you need to expose them to these stressors. Again, reward them with treats when they are behaving, and let them know that barking means no attention or tasty food.
Bark collars and other useful gadgets
Bark collars are a contentious topic in the pet community, and many a desperate pet parent has wondered 'do bark collars really work?'.
These collars stop dog barking by delivering a shot of citronella, a short noise, or a small shock near the dog's face to detract it from making noise. The problem with this solution though is that it doesn't give any positive reinforcement when the dog is behaving, nor does it address the underlying problem of the dog being bored and having pent-up energy.
In fact, the United States Humane Society advises that while these collars are acceptable for keeping a dog contained, they're not good for training.
Dog cameras like Petcube Bites let you not only know when your dog is barking, but let you correct it using two-way audio, and distract them using a laser pointer or treats. A pet treat camera can be a great way to stop your dog from barking even when you’re not at home. Some cameras even have "bark alerts" that send you push notifications every time your dog makes noise so that you can address the problem before your neighbors get angry.
Learning how to stop a dog from barking doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Sure, it's a challenge to stop dog barking, but most importantly, through all of these techniques, you have to remember that just as there are some great ways to treat dog barking, there are definite ways NOT to treat it. Because frustration and boredom are often at the heart of incessant barking, scolding your dog won't do anything. Agitation won't be fixed with more agitation, so try to speak to your dog in a soothing voice and don’t let your anger over the situation get the best of you.