Yap yap yap – a barking puppy can be very frustrating, especially when they just won’t stop! Thankfully, you don’t have to resign yourself to a lifetime of barking dogs and interruptions when you’re watching the telly/greeting the postman/having visitors around. We’ve got some handy tips and tricks that will help you get that loudmouth under control!
What should I do if my dog is barking?
The first thing to remember is not to shout at them, tell them it’s okay, comfort or soothe them. Most dogs (that we’re aware of) don’t actually speak human languages, so to their ears, all you’re doing is giving them the attention they’re looking for. Instead, try and ignore them when they’re barking or whining. By ignoring those unwanted behaviours, you’re on the first step to success.*
How do I stop my dog from barking?
When there’s a situation where they would usually bark but they decide to stay quiet, treat treat and treat again! The most important thing is to reinforce those positive behaviours through socialisation and perseverance.
In the short term, however, you might find a technique called response substitution helps. This is essentially just using training commands (like sit, paw, stay etc) when you anticipate a situation where your dog might react. Basically, you want to distract their attention and let them realise the initial trigger isn’t going to hurt them. It’s a little like when you learn to ride a bike without stabilisers, and the person teaching you lets go before you realise! You realise there’s nothing to be scared of – and the same principle goes for your dog.
You’ve just got to be patient and you’ll get there eventually, but if you’re concerned, we’d definitely recommend having a quick chat with your vet or a behaviourist for some extra support.
*But remember every dog is different, so try to learn the signs of when they need the toilet or they’re frightened so you don’t get them all confused!