A dog who barks excessively can be a nuisance to neighbors as well as the dog’s owners. Some breeds tend to bark more than others. Often the herding breeds can be barkers because some breeds have been bred to manage livestock by barking, such as the Bearded Collie. Other breeds are bred to bark or “sound” such as hounds. If excessive barking is a problem for your situation, consider the breed traits before you get a dog by researching whether or not that breed or type of dog tends to be a barker.
If you already have a dog who barks, there are steps you can take to control the barking. Some people are concerned that if they teach their dog not to bark that the dog will not alert them when necessary. This is not true. If there is a real reason to bark a dog will do it even if he is taught not to bark.
The best time to start training a dog not to bark excessively is when they are puppies. But even if your dog is older, you can still teach the dog not to bark excessively. A good positive obedience program will help build the communication between you and your dog so that you can teach your dog to be quiet on command. An obedience program will help your dog understand what you want and will build the relationship between you and your dog.
To control excessive barking, start by determining why the dog is barking. Some dogs bark for attention, some out of boredom, sometimes there are wild animals (such as squirrels) or birds outside a window that tease the dog, and some dogs bark to lure another dog or pet to play.
The first step is to remove the stimulus that causes the dog to bark. Next exercise your dog to the point where he comes in and flops down for a nap. Depending on the breed you may have to do this a few times a day, especially for a younger dog.
Next when the dog is quiet, teach the dog to speak on command. Once the dog will speak offer a treat at the same time you give the command “quiet.” Give the treat as soon as the dog stops barking.
Note: If you hold the treat between your fingers while the dog is barking and then quickly put the treat under your dog’s nose, he will stop barking. He cannot sniff and bark at the same time.
Do not yell at the dog to be quiet without teaching the dog the command. Remember, dogs do not speak English, so they do not understand the words you are yelling at them. To a dog your yelling sounds like you are barking along with your dog and that will encourage him to bark more.
Although it may be difficult, totally ignore your dog when he barks. It may take awhile, but if you do not respond the dog will learn that barking does not get the results that he wants.
You can also try to divert the dog when he starts to bark by using a command that tells the dog to do something else such as fetching a toy which can divert the dog from barking.
When a dog barks, in most cases, he has a good reason for doing so even though that reason may not be an acceptable one to you. Dogs need to bark just as much as we need to talk. However, they can control their barking and learn when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not.
The key to success is to not give up and after your dog learns what the “quiet” command means, praise your dog for being quiet. Everyone will be happier, even your dog.