Most dogs love a good bark – it’s their way of communicating with us. And for some dog owners it’s part of everyday life. Of course you love the bones of them, but sometimes those persistent woofs can drive you nuts. Not to mention the neighbours too.
When barking is too much and too often, it can become a problem. We certainly don’t want that. Getting to the bottom of the barking first is the best way to know how to fix it. So here’s why your dog might bark and a few ways to help curb it.
Reasons a dog may bark
· Frustration – Is their meal delayed? Are they desperate to say hi to another person or dog? Or maybe you’re taking too long getting ready for their walk.
· Excitement – Have you just walked through the door after a long day at work? Or perhaps they know the signs it’s time for a training session.
· Alerting you – When the doorbell or phone rings, some dogs just like to help.
· Fear – Perhaps a new dog has come too close, or something startled them in the dark.
· Loneliness – Some dogs don’t cope well on their own, and noises outside can add to their anxiety.
· Grumpiness – Loud noises can disturb your dog and they’re not shy to tell you about it.
· Attention seeking – Is it playtime and you hadn’t realised, or are you giving another dog too much attention?
· Defending their territory/Aggression – Some dogs will bark to warn off potential intruders or space invaders.
Certain medical problems can also cause excessive barking. So if your dog has suddenly started barking more often, it’s worth discussing with your vet.
Related blog: 11 signs of anxiety in dogs and how to treat it
How to stop dog barking at night
Believe it or not, you may have accidentally encouraged your dog’s night time barking. If you’ve ever got up to soothe your dog during the night, they quickly learn that barking brings you running. A lightbulb moment for your dog – barking is followed by a reward. Don’t worry though, here’s how to put a stop to it.
· Don’t go to them. We know it’s tough, but try to ignore it and don’t leave your bed while they’re barking or whining.
· Don’t respond. Don’t call out to soothe your dog or tell them to be quiet. Any kind of attention is a reward.
· Stick with it. If you comfort your dog once, they’ll know that sometimes barking gets them what they want. So the behaviour continues. Be consistent.
How to stop puppy barking
Your puppy is just a baby, and it’s down to you to teach them how to behave. They’re just discovering their voice – and well, barking is good fun. So they need to learn from you what’s appropriate, and what’s not. Train your puppy good dog manners by teaching the ‘quiet’ command early on:
· Say ‘quiet’ as your puppy is barking
· Hold a treat in front of their nose
· Praise your puppy when they stop barking to smell the treat
· Give your puppy the treat
· Repeat, repeat, repeat
How to stop dog barking at other dogs
If your dog barks or lunges at other dogs whether through a window or out walking, it can be embarrassing. We get that. It’s what dog trainers of the world call ‘reactivity.’ It can also be caused by fear or over-excitement. Depending on the cause there are a few methods you can try:
· Keep them away from the window so they can’t see other dogs outside.
· Keep your distance. Be aware of your surroundings and start avoiding other dogs. Cross the street or turn around if you need to.
· Distract and desensitize your dog to their triggers by feeding treats whenever other dogs are around. This shows your dog good things happen when they’re calm.
If you’re still having problems, contact a dog behaviourist to help with your dog’s barking. A behaviourist will work with you one on one to help you uncover the cause, and manage the issue with training.
9 thoughts on “How to stop a dog barking”
My 15 yr old border terrier is generally in good health although has sensitive tummy. He regularly eats mud from certain areas of the lawn . WHY?
Mud is surprisingly tasty – it can be hydrating and full of flavour which is why some dogs love it! There’s nothing to worry about if it’s only occasionally, but have a chat with your vet if you’re concerned
My springers is 9 months old and been barking a lot when I take her for a walk I tried turning her around and even stopping but I don’t seem to be having a joy
Try to take a treat out with you on a walk and tell your dog to stop if he/she stops barking then reward it and sat good girl or boy and then reward the dog with the treat.
My dog is now 4 and barks constantly worse if he see someone walking past knocks on the door postman person in view he will only stop once the person/people are out of sight if he hears a noise outside he will also bark please how can I stop this he’s driving me crazy
We have just adopted a 9 month old Maltipoo from an elderly couple. They have trained him well with most commands and he has settled into our home very quickly.
He is however, constantly barking at any noise around the house (someone moving upstairs or even the neighbours running up/down their stairs), and also noises outside (someone walking past or a car pulling up).
He takes a long time to settle even after the noise has stopped and we live on a fairly busy road so this is pretty constant through the day, and night.
We initially thought this would stop once he had settled and gotten used to the new house noises but it seems to be getting worse. Any advice please?
My dog is 5 this year, i have a problem with her and barking. i can be sat on the sofa and she will start to bark excessively at me. you can be talking to someone and she will start to excessively bark. if i’m sat in the garden she will randomly start at me, but she doesn’t do it with just me, it’s everyone. Please help me !!
We have jut taken on a spaniel approx 9years old from a family member who passed away everytime I come in to the house or room she’s in she starts non stop barking at me I’m guessing it is her way of showing she wants to go out as I am the one who walks her and our puppy. We have tried telling her quiet, stop, and enough. We have tried ignoring her. I try leaving the room
Hi Ellen, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having this trouble with your dog. Behaviorist Carolyn Menteith has some advice and tips to help here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4opww-ylSJM