Let's Quiet That Dog Down
But first, don't forget that normal barking is natural communication for dogs and just like the human language, a bark serves a purpose in a dog's world. Yet ironically and just like people, some dogs are more vocal than others and some just don't seem to shut up! We're here to help you with that.
So what's normal barking as it goes with a dog? Normal barking is typically a warning or out of excitement, to demand attention or call out to the pack in the wild. Dogs can also bark or cry out when they're startled or injured. And more often than not, a normal bark is associated with related body language.
First, look at body language..
Watch your dog's body language when he's barking as it often goes hand-in-hand and can be a dead giveaway to the cause. For instance, a happy excited dog may have a fast wagging tail and move about in a crazy excited way. A high pitched bark typically accompanies the nutty body movement. Contrary, an aggressive dog will appear more rigid with ears propped up, raised hair on the hackles and teeth showing. More often than not, a lower pitch more forceful bark can be expected. Take a visual and mental note of the situation, location and events that trigger your dog's bark.
TIP: A great technique used by many dog trainers is to deter barking with distraction or a diversion before a dog reaches a barking state of mind. This can be accomplished with both positive training and correction reinforcement!
Now let's stop dog barking..
Here's where I'll help you to stop dog barking, condition quiet in your dog and put an end to your dog barking headaches forever. But first, if you haven't already done so I would suggest a quick read of the following articles..
- Understanding Dog Behavior & Dog Behavior Training offers insight on how dogs think.
- Clicker Dog Training is an easy and fun training method that works awesome to to stop dog barking.
- Dog Obedience Training as it will establish a good foundation and basic communication between you and your dog.
Why Dogs Bark & What to Do..
OK, first off you need to figure out what is causing the barking and hopefully the examples below are related to the problem you're having. With each I'll offer a brief overview and link to a full article on the subject. Try conditioning "quiet" in your dog using each method that fits your situation and repeat until he or she gets it. Don't quit!
For the majority of cases simply try this first..
Basic obedience, why? Because it can be used to stop dog barking and a multitude of other nagging behavior issues. I say this as focus & attention between dog and handler can be used to redirect a dog and break it from the barking mindset. Once you gain focus, you can redirect your dog and condition "quiet" using commands or reward. Again, in most cases dog obedience training is paramount and the foundation to stop dog barking. It's important your dog have some sort of basic obedience skills or you're at a major disadvantage in solving any behavior problems.
Stop Over Excited Barking
An excited and happy bark in my opinion is innocent, watch for a whipping tail here as it often accompanies this type of higher pitched bark. You may hear happy barking when arriving home from work, or pulling into your favorite dog park. Episodes are Usually short and pass quickly once the "thrill of the moment" passes. Read more on excited dog barking and how to stop it.
Begging & Attention Barking
Some dogs will bark for attention and this can be for scraps of food, a treat, or if your lucky, to be let outside for potty! If our dogs needs to go outside and pee we definitely appreciate they're letting us know, yet if you' determined to stop dog begging barking check out this article.
Stop Protective & Overprotective Barking
Dogs by nature are territorial and when someone or something encroaches on their territory, barking can be excessive. Watch for alert or aggressive body language as it's often the case when territory is threatened. Yes dog is man's best friend and protector yet if protective barking has gone overboard, learn how to stop dog barking of this sort here.
Stop Fearful & Alarming Barking
Some dogs and breeds are more fearful than others, some breeds are actually known to show watchdog behavior, they bark at the slightest thing. I have a Mini Pin, trust me on this;) Alarming barking like this can happen in your home if something sounds out of the ordinary and can happen anywhere if something startles your dog or catches their attention. Has fearful or alarming barking in your home driven you up a wall? Our tips and techniques to stop fear barking will help!
Stop Boredom Barking
If your dog is left alone all day chances are it will get bored. Boredom barking is actually a dogs way of coping with anxiety of isolation and is self stimulating. A bored dog can bark for all the reasons already mentioned or just to bark out of loneliness or anxiety. Dogs are social pack animals and this behavior is very common when a dog is isolated for long periods. Good news is we can help stop boredom barking with some easy to follow suggestions.
Stop Separation Anxiety Barking
Separation anxiety barking is compulsive and is often associated with destructive behavior. An anxious dog left alone can cause some major damage, especially a giant breed. This compulsive behavior is often coupled with repetitive actions like pacing, refusal to settle, running your fence line and more. Since barking and other annoyances with anxious dogs are a complex issue, we felt it appropriate to address the problem in our dog separation anxiety section. We'll discuss specific methods to stop separation anxiety barking, as well as, other anxious behaviors there.
Stop Barking at People, Dogs, Cars, etc.
Barking while confined in a fenced yard, behind an electronic fence, through your home or car windows, or while walking on lead. Such barking can be due to excitement but is more typically a protective behavior. If your pooch is notorious for barking at people, other dogs or whatever passes by take a quick look at the tips we've published to help you.
Testing The Waters - Stop Puppy Barking
Some puppies will bark for attention testing the waters in an attempt to figure out their pack position, yet a dog any age can test the waters. And get this, watchdog and guard dog trainers actually encourage barking for certain scenarios such as "bark and hold"! If you're in it for a quiet companion however like most of us, stop puppy barking is an awesome read.
Like I preach across this site, dogs are creatures of habit and learn by doing. Many people can inadvertently reinforce their dogs barking by doing any of the following..
- Pet, cuddle or treat their dog in an attempt to stop dog barking. While this usually works it's a quick fix and only reinforces the dog by rewarding it for barking. Don't do it!
- Get into a barking war with your dog by yelling and screaming. Make this mistake and you're paying attention to bad behavior. Ignore it!
- Give in to a pushy dog who controls you by barking. Meaning, a dog that harasses you to put food down, hand off table scraps or wants in or out of the house. Once again, you are reinforcing the behavior by your actions and dogs can read you like a book.
Creatures of habit, learn by doing, action and response are some thoughts that should come to mind here;)
Dog Barking Summary
Stop dog barking by following these easy techniques..
1. Try to determine the cause of the barking first and foremost.
2. Take note of body language as it often goes hand-in-hand with different types of barking.
3. If you haven't already done so, work on basic obedience to gain a simple level of communication between human and canine.
4. Use the techniques discussed on this page to thwart the bark before it happens by intervention and redirection, removal of stimuli or desensitization and diversion just like a professional dog trainer.
5. Calmly reward and praise your dog for being quiet.
6. Follow the links on this page to specific articles that address your situation.
7. Repeat and repeat again as dogs learn by action and response.
8. Don't give up!
If we've missed the mark with this article for your specific dog barking situation, be sure to send us an email using the form on contact page so we can add an additional article. And don't miss our dog behavior and training for links to additional behavior problem solving topics.