Chronic dog barking is one of the most annoying issues dog owners face. When owners struggle to stop dog barking, they can become frustrated, exacerbating this problem.
Chronic barkers react to anything and everything and do not stop barking, even when the threat or event ends.
What makes a dog bark?
Initially, puppies and dogs bark to attract attention, notify owners of a stranger or unusual event, or defend themselves and their property.
Most owners appreciate it when an adult dog barks to notify them when a stranger approaches or there is a knock at the door.
The problems start when the dog does not stop barking, even if corrected.
Some chronic barkers will not stop even if removed from the room and continue to bark even if placed outside.
Usually, problem dog barking starts when the dog is bored or receives attention for barking.
Remember that to a dog, all attention is good, even if it is negative.
Therefore when a dog is bored, lacks attention, or has too much pent-up energy and then barks and gets yelled at, they quickly learn that barking gets human attention, which is just what they want.
Once your dog establishes a parking pattern, correcting it is more complicated.
That’s why your best bet is to catch — and stop the bad dog behavior early before it develops into a chronic dog barking problem. It can seem daunting if you believe, “I’ve tried everything,, and my dog won’t stop barking.”
But the good news is you can teach your dog not to bark.
Break the dog barking habit early
Puppies are often adorable when they bark, and owners do little to correct the barking.
Once they become older, the problem becomes more annoying, but if the dog is used to barking, it’s harder to break the habit.
If you want to have a watchdog consider using the following training method for controlled barking:
Use simple commands
When the stranger comes to the house or yard and the puppy or dog barks, immediately praise the puppy. After one or two barks, say “Enough” or “Stop” and then quickly give them a toy or chew item to distract them from barking. As soon as they take the toy, praise them for stopping and provide attention for quiet behavior.
If the puppy or dog continues to bark and doesn’t take a toy, consider giving them a food treat. Again, praise as soon as the dog is quiet after you have given the verbal command.
Reward quiet behavior
Spend time playing with the puppy and tire them out. Tired dogs are good dogs. Pay attention to your puppy and reward them when they are quiet.
Never yell at the puppy or hit the dog to make it stop barking.
This will only raise the puppy’s anxiety level and lead to more barking or aggressive behaviors, such as biting or running away.
Understand that separation anxiety is a significant cause of excessive barking.
Training, training, training
Distract your puppy
You can use a squirt bottle filled with tap water to stop the puppy from barking, although only do this if other methods fail.
Another option is to fill a soda can with pennies. Shake it to distract the puppy when they begin barking.
Use the enough, stop, or quiet command first. When your puppy stops barking, immediately offer praise and reward your dog when it sits or stands quietly beside you.
Keep your dog busy
For dogs or puppies that bark chronically when the owner is away, consider providing more chew toys and activities for the dog to keep them busy and stimulated.
In addition, take them for a long walk or play games to help tire your dog out before you leave him alone. Try to make the time when you’re away as short as possible, and praise the dog when you get home and all is quiet.
Final thoughts on how to stop dog barking
Be as consistent as possible if you are trying to train your dog to stop barking or correct a dog barking problem.
Always respond the same way to barking. Dogs become very confused if one day they are allowed to bark, and other days they are punished or penalized for barking.
Always pay attention to the dog when it is quiet or behaving appropriately.
Spend extra time exercising and playing with your dog or puppy to ensure the dog is tired and relaxed when you are away from home.
Chronic or non-stop barking is not only a behavior issue; it’s also a quality-of-life issue for you and your dog.
Too many dogs end up in shelters because their families can’t cope. Don’t let that happen to your dog.
Instead, use training to manage your dog’s barking and keep your pup happy and healthy and your neighborhood quiet.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly, visit Oh My Dog Supplies.