This post is part 1 of a 3-part series on dog behavior.
Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, and an important part of the way they communicate with the world.
Common reasons for barking include fear, excitability, and attention seeking. Dogs may also bark when they're feeling territorial, or in response to a stimulus like a doorbell ringing.
But some dogs bark excessively, and this unwanted behavior can quickly become a nuisance. So, what can you do to control your dog's excessive barking and restore some peace and quiet around the house?
In this post we'll share some simple tips to help you stop your dog from barking excessively.
Block Your Dog's View
Lots of dogs bark in response to things they see outside. This behavior is connected to anxiety or a dog's territorial instinct.
If your dog sits at the window and barks excessively the simplest solution is to block his view of the outside world.
This can be achieved by keeping the curtains or blinds closed, but you may prefer to use opaque plastic window film to obscure your dog's view while still allowing light in.
Excessive barking can be pretty frustrating, but you'll have a much better chance of putting a stop to the problem if you remain calm.
Dogs respond to the emotions of their owners, so raising your voice or showing signs of irritation will only make your dog bark more!
Instead, issue a firm command like "stop", and make sure your voice and body language remain calm and assertive.
Challenge Your Dog Mentally and Physically
Excessive barking can be caused by feelings of boredom and a need to release pent-up energy. That's why it's so important to provide your dog with sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation.
A daily walking routine will help keep your dog's brain and body healthy and prevent problem behaviors.
You can also keep your dog active and stimulated around the house by playing games with him and providing toys and puzzle feeders to challenge and engage him.
Ignore the Barking
If your dog barks excessively until you acknowledge him try removing your attention from him entirely. For this method to be effective you'll need consistency and patience.
When you dog starts barking to get your attention turn away from him and refuse to engage with him in any way. This includes talking to him, going near him, or even looking in his direction.
When your dog stops barking give him a treat but go right back to ignoring him if the behavior starts again. The idea is to train your dog to associate silence with reward. But be warned – it may take some time for your dog to get the message!
Teach Your Dog to "Speak" on Command
Okay, so this last tip may sound counterintuitive – but stick with us! If you teach your dog to bark on command you can also teach him to be quiet!
To use this method, get your dog to bark while giving the command to "speak". Next, reward him with a treat and praise him. Repeat this process until he starts barking when you say "speak".
When your dog can consistently bark on command you can teach him the "quiet" command. Do this by telling him to "speak" then use the "quiet" command when he stops barking and reward him with praise and a treat.
That's it for today's post. Don’t forget to check back next week for the second post in our series on dog behavior, Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws?