Dogs bark; it is their mode of communication. However, sometimes dogs can bark excessively, causing disruption to you and the people around you. In such situations, it’s necessary to take measures to control your dog’s barking. The first step is identifying the cause of the bark.
Why do dogs bark excessively?
Barking can indicate different things depending on the circumstance. For instance, your dog may bark to protect his territory or establish dominance over other creatures. Dogs can also bark when frightened, signaling danger. Additionally, they may bark as a greeting or to show their playfulness. Sometimes they bark due to boredom or loneliness, especially when left alone for long periods.
Knowing the underlying reason for the excessive barking is the first step to addressing the issue. When training your dog to bark less, remember to:
- Avoid shouting: Yelling at your dog may encourage more barking and worsen the situation.
- Stay positive: Maintain a positive attitude despite moments of frustration, as you’re training your best friend.
- Be consistent: Apply the training rules under all conditions to reduce confusion for your dog.
Here are some methods to help prevent excessive barking in your dog:
Eliminate the Bark Motivation
Once you identify the motivation that causes your dog to bark excessively, such as outside stimuli, eliminate it. For instance, if your dog barks at people passing by the windows or doors, keep the curtains closed or move your dog to another room. If your dog barks excessively in the garden, take your dog inside the house and do not leave him alone in the yard for long periods.
Ignore the Barking
Ignore your dog’s excessive barking by not showing any attention, and do not touch, make eye contact, or talk to your dog until he stops. By acting this way, your dog understands that excessive barking won’t get him what he wants. Don’t forget to pay attention to him after he stops barking. However, you need to wait until he stops barking for this method to work effectively. If your dog barks for an hour, and you end up shouting, he may increase the barking time on the following day.
Desensitize Your Dog to the Stimulus
You can desensitize your dog to the object or sound that triggers his barking. Reward him while standing at a little distance from the stimulus. Next, step a little closer to it, and if he responds without barking, reward him too. If he barks, move away from the stimulus, and stop providing a reward. This way, your dog can understand that what once seemed like a threat isn’t dangerous.
Teach Your Dog the “Quiet” Command
You need to teach your dog to bark first before training him to be quiet. On command, allow your dog to bark two or three times and reward him for barking. Continue the process until he understands that “bark” means woof. In an environment without distractions, give your dog the command to “speak.” Once he starts barking, use the “quiet” command, and reward him when he stops. Repeat the training until your dog understands.
Exercise Your Dog
Make sure your dog gets enough physical and mental exercise daily. A tired and de-energized dog is less likely to bark excessively out of boredom or anger. Walking and training are some ways to exercise your furry friend, depending on his breed and age.
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