Ways to stop your dog from barking excessively
Dogs are sociable and clever creatures. They bark for a huge number of reasons as they try to communicate with their human families. But, sometimes, excessive barking can be stressful for all parties.
If your dog barking all the time is causing problems for yourself, your neighbours and even other dogs, there are plenty of things you can try to curb the problem. Here are our top tips on how to stop your dog from barking:
1. Work out why your dog is barking
Firstly, you need to establish why your dog is barking so much. It’s important to observe and monitor your dog’s behaviour to help pinpoint what is triggering the barking. Is your dog barking at night? Are they barking at your neighbours or visitors? Or is your dog barking at nothing in particular but at certain times of the day or night? Once you have understood why your dog is barking so much, you will have a much better chance at solving the problem and even distinguishing what type of bark it is. For example, “alarm barking”, is where your dog is trying to tell you something (“there’s someone at the door mum”), whereas other barks may mean excitement, frustration, boredom or separation anxiety from being left alone. You can find out how to tell if your dog is stressed here in our guide.
2. Training your dog to stop barking
So, you may be wondering how to train your dog to stop barking? There are many gentle training techniques which can work wonders for excessive barking. The “speak and shush” technique is one of the most popular methods owners try. This method involves teaching your dog to “speak” first, by creating reasons or prompts for your dog to bark and then rewarding this behaviour. When this part has been established, you can teach your dog to “shush” by offering treats to stop your dog from barking and further praising this behaviour too. The overall idea is that after the training is complete, your dog will understand the “shush” command and stop barking when commanded.
There are countless YouTube videos and online articles with tips on how to train a dog to stop barking. Remember to take your time and have patience as your dog learns these new skills.
3. Give your dog plenty of exercise
Exercise and fresh air is great for dogs of all ages and sizes. Making sure your dog has plenty of walks and outdoor fun will mean that they are well rested when at home. This can help hugely with excessive barking, especially if your dog starts barking at night, as a tired dog is a happy dog. And hopefully a quiet one.
If giving your dog fresh air means letting it out into the garden and this is causing your dog to bark, try using a long line lead so that you have more control over your dog in the garden and can bring them inside for a short ‘time out’ if they start to bark. You can also accompany your dog when outside and adopt the shush technique here too.
4. How to stop a dog barking when left alone
When your dog is left alone at home for prolonged periods of time, this can lead to excessive barking as it will be lonely, frustrated and bored. If you have to leave your dog at home while you go to work, ask your boss if your dog can come to the office, arrange for a friend or family member to take it for a walk to break up the day. Or you can take your dog along to doggy day care.
If you have no choice but to leave your dog at home try and minimise the length of time. You should also leave the television on and give your dog an old, unwashed piece of clothing so they can smell you and the family to feel more secure. Unsure how much time you should be spending with your dog? Find out more here.
5. Dogs barking for attention
If your dog barks at you to demand attention, don’t get cross and shout back. For starters, this will do nothing to curb the barking as they will probably think you’re barking along with them. The best way to deal with “demand” barking is to turn your back and ignore them – no eye contact, no shouting, nothing. When your dog stops barking, you can turn around and give them attention.
6. Collars to stop dogs barking
There are products on the market such as anti-bark collars that deliver small electric shocks when a dog barks. However, these are illegal in some parts of the UK and considered to be cruel and ineffective by most veterinary professionals. They don’t solve the root of the problem, and your dog will more than likely take its frustration or fear out on its owners in a different way, such as chewing up the furniture.
We understand that excessive barking can be annoying and stressful, but your dog is trying to communicate with you. It’s better to listen and work out a solution than to suppress your dog’s natural behaviour.
How much barking is excessive?
Excessive barking can include barking frequently occurring over long durations, as well as barking in the early hours of the morning or late at night. If you are struggling to prevent your dog from barking severely, you should consider contacting your vet to discuss the problem further. They can rule out whether there is a medical problem that might be causing your dog to bark. Sometimes, excessive barking in older dogs can be a sign of ill health or senility.
We know you want the best for your dog, so if the problem still persists, you can also seek advice from a reputable pet behaviourist. Such as:
It’s important to protect yourself from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.
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