How to stop puppy barking..
may be the farthest thing from your mind right now. You're good to go with your new puppy, or are you? Let's see.. seems you're all set. You've got a pocket full of receipts for a comfy soft dog bed, a crate, chew toys, the right food, feeding bowl, a leash, collar and of course, your new puppy!
So you've done your research and finally brought home the perfect little dog as a new family member. Kudos to you and I've actually got a little puppy envy being honest. So it's smooth sailing ahead, or is it?
The calm before the storm..
Like a dream, your puppy plays with endless energy and sleeps like a rock.. for the first few nights that is. As it customarily goes with puppies, the first few days they're overwhelmed by new surroundings, sights, sounds and scents. He or she may be a little timid at first, or, be a ball full of puppy energy. The newness of environment, long travel from seller to your home or excitement of it all pretty much taps out their energy the first day or two until they settle in. In most cases however, this grace period is a prelude of sorts to the inevitable, and your guessed it.. STOP PUPPY BARKING!
Noisy at Night
Fast forward 72-hours to your third night and the fact that you're up at 3:00AM and have to be in work by 8. You ask yourself, "What have I gotten myself into?". I feel your pain and trust that many a new puppy owner has pondered how to stop puppy barking. You're not alone!
Let me reassure you now, things will get better and fast if you follow a few simple techniques on acclimating your new puppy. And, have a little patience with a few extra cups of coffee in the morning!
TIP: Puppy barking is an important part in the development of our dogs. All dogs will bark and with puppies, our goal is to teach them when it is OK to bark. We will accomplish this with repetition using action and response techniques.
Many methods used to quiet your pup overnight will also work to solve other puppy barking issues. You see with puppies, barking is most always an attempt to get your attention. Don't be suckered in by the cuteness factor, they've already got one up on us here.
Pup's Young History Often a Factor
Please consider the background of your puppy as well. Many breeders will raise their litters "under foot" as it's known. Meaning, your lucky pup came from an environment in which he and his litter mates have been socialized around people. Mill puppies are often pulled from their litter at a very young age and shipped off to a pet store. Unfortunately, they may have not experienced early socialization to the same extent.
Fact is, no two puppies are exact and each comes with its own personality already imprinted by its early upbringing. Keep this in mind when you're asking yourself "why me"?
Reasons Puppies Bark & Tips to Stop Puppy Barking
While there are many ways to stop puppy barking here are the methods I've found most successful. Of course, a lot depends on the reason behind and cause of the barking. Determining the reason will help tremendously in quieting your noisy pup.
- Barking while crated: Very common and probably the reason 80% of you are here. Also known as attention barking, this behavior is just that, a ploy to get your attention. If your puppy is barking while crated and its needs are met. Meaning, he or she doesn't need to go potty, has been fed and has water, ignore it.
Don't cave or give in even if your puppy wont quit. By acknowledging the barking you're teaching your puppy that barking works for attention. "Oh I see, just need to do this for another hour and I'll get someone to come". Yelling and scolding your puppy is also attention, avoid that too! Do what you have to, use ear plugs if needed, go to work in your basement office, go for a walk or do whatever it takes. Eventually you'll win when your puppy finally gets it.
TIP: With brand new puppies, whining and crying could be out of fear, separation from its litter, or simply a change in environment. You can "seed" a blanket, toy or pillow with its litter's scent by leaving with the seller for a few days prior to homing your puppy. This often helps calm a scared puppy in a new home.
Also, a wind up alarm clock or small radio tuned to talk radio and placed near the crate can help settle a puppy's nerves. You may cover the crate with a blanket to give it the feel of a cozy den, rather than a cage in the middle of a huge room. For additional tips to help stop puppy barking including more info on homing and crating your new puppy please visit our puppy training section.
- To stop puppy barking at people, sounds, or moving objects like cars, skateboarders or cyclists, understand this is most commonly protective or alarming barking. To tackle this issue we need to distract, redirect and gain your puppy's focus. There are many ways to accomplish this such as noise makers, commands, a clicker, cap gun and so on.
Physical distractions can also be used. Things like a poke in the shoulder, tap on the rear or gentle leash correction. Our goal as always is to break focus on the stimulus and gain focus on the handler. Once you've accomplished focus you can give a command to your pup and reward them for following it. Additional info and training exercise such as blocking line of site can be found at our protective barking page.
- Some puppies will bark when you're not home to hear it. Wait a minute, how do we know they're barking? Guess it's a non-issue for those living out in the cranberry bogs somewhere but trust me, if you live in a suburb or apartment building you'll hear about it from a neighbor sooner or later. Boredom and separation anxiety are often the culprit behind this type of barking. If you suspect separation anxiety is the cause behind your puppy barking grab more info on separation anxiety at this page.
To stop puppy barking from boredom try this.. Throw something in the crate before you leave to keep him occupied. This can be a rubber Kong toy packed with peanut butter and frozen overnight. Or, a raw marrow bone of appropriate size for your breed. Also, a tired puppy is a quiet puppy! If your schedule allows, have a good game of fetch or dog training activities prior to heading out to work, the grocery store or to run your errands. Leaving a television or radio on while you're away will also break the silence and can be helpful to some.
TIP: When leaving your puppy alone causes puppy barking, try this. Start by leaving your puppy alone for very short periods of time in the beginning. We're talking a few minutes tops. You should return before any barking begins, a little whining or whimpering is OK.
Continue this a few times each day and ever so slowly, increase the time you are away. With repetition and patience you will eventually condition your pup that being alone is OK. He or she won't get nervous or scared and learn to lay around and relax. Just like a dog :)
- Play barking is one of those things, do we really need to put an end to play barking? Jury is out on this one yet in any case, here's what to do.
Should your puppy get out of hand with its barking while playing, he's excited! The way to defuse this is.. cut out the excitement. Stop the play straight away and let your pup calm itself. Once things chill out you can start playing again.
Pretty easy huh? Actually, it sounds easier than it is and will take time and patience. Since we're not using any training techniques commands or corrections, it's basically up to the dog to figure it out. Rest assured with time it will sink in!
Being similar to play barking, you may be interested in our excited dog barking article as it covers additional techniques in mellowing out an over exuberant dog.
Things to Remember
There are a few different techniques to stop puppy barking with dog training. Of importance, is the reason behind the bark and also the history of your puppy from birth to the time he arrives at your home.
Puppies may bark for attention, while playing, when bored, when scared, when hungry, if aggressive and even to alarm you if they need to be let out to pee. If the latter, you've got a great little pup!
First step to stop puppy barking is determine its cause, then use the training techniques discussed on this page that most closely relate to your situation. Lastly, and I say this often to everyone here at Dog Training Geek.. Dogs are creatures of habit that learn by doing through action & response. Keep up the good work, be patient and don't quit!
Don't miss the additional articles we've written that address other types of barking problems by following links provided on our Dog Behavior and Training page.