Having a dog and having guests over at home don’t always go well together. If your dog is not used to being around strangers, chances are he will keep barking at them. The same goes for walking our dog; you may spend more time telling him to stop barking than walking.
So, how do you solve this problem? Look online, and you’ll find it’s relatively easy. That is if you’re brutal enough to resort to using shock collars and other painful training methods.
Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that there are more humane ways to train your dog. But before we go further, you might be wondering – why do dogs bark?
Dogs use barking as a means of communication, which means that he’s almost always trying to tell you something. Each dog has his style, it could mean anything from “I want something” to “You’re in danger!”.
Here are some dog-friendly ways you can use to train your dog to stop barking!
1. Do NOT reward barking.
Often, when your dog barks at the door to be let in or out, you immediately do what he wants. This goes on and on; you don’t recognize that your dog is manipulating you, and he will keep doing so if you keep giving in.
If your dog keeps barking to get food or attention, wait for him to calm down before giving him what he wants. This will show him that you’re in control, and that barking won’t get him what he wants.
To succeed with this method, you must be patient. If it takes your dog an hour to stop barking, don’t yell at him to be quiet; next time, he’ll probably bark for longer. This conveys the opposite of what you want them to learn.
For example, let’s say your dog likes to bark when he’s confined. Place your dog in a crate or a gated room, then turn your back and ignore him. He’ll probably start barking – resist the urge to turn around! Only do so once he stops barking, at the same time praising him and giving him a treat. Sooner or later, your dog will learn that being quiet earns him a treat.
Start by rewarding him for being silent for a few seconds, then lengthen the amount of time they have to stay quiet to earn a treat. You can mix it up by changing the amount of time; reward them after five seconds, then 10 seconds, then back to three seconds, and so on.
2. Do NOT shout.
Much like children, shouting at your dog is never the way to deal with the situation. Make sure to stay calm, gently talk to your dog, and go over to check the windows/doors if he’s barking at something outside, to assure your dog that you got his message.
3. Remove the trigger.
Identify what causes your dog to start barking. Once you do, try to remove the trigger. Try to remove all opportunities for your dog to continue his barking behavior.
For example, if he keeps barking at passersby, keep the curtains closed or put him in another room. If your dog is outside, bring him into the house. Please do NOT leave him outside unsupervised all day and night.
There might be instances where you can’t change the environment around your dog. If so, try getting your dog to adapt to whatever is stimulating him. This technique is called desensitizing and has been employed in many training programs.
One way to go about this is as follows:
Start by keeping the stimulus (what triggers him or makes him bark) at a distance, making sure it’s far enough that your dog doesn’t bark when he sees it. Give him lots of treats, then start moving the stimulus closer by a few inches or feet.
Keep feeding him treats along the way. Once you move the stimulus out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. Your dog should learn that the presence of the stimulus (that used to trigger them to start barking) leads to treats.
Let’s say, for example, your dog likes to bark at other dogs. Ask a friend with a dog to keep out of sight so that your dog won’t bark. As they start to move closer, start giving your dog treats. Stop feeding your dog once your friend (and his dog) moves out of sight. Keep repeating the process until you’ve trained your dog.
Remember not to rush your dog as it will not take one session to perfect this behavior. It may take days or even weeks before your dog learns this.
4. Keep your pet busy.
Ensure that your dog gets sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is almost always a good dog, meaning he’s less likely to bark due to frustration or boredom. This might take several long walks or interactive games, but once you=r dog gets the hang of it, you’ll find the most suitable games for him.
However, one issue is if your dog is barking due to separation anxiety. Complicated problems like this might benefit from a consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.
5. Teach your dog “Quiet.”
Before you can teach your dog to stay quiet, you have to get him to bark. How? Start with a bag of treats. Get your dog to bark, and give him treats once he does so. Keep practicing and slowly introduce the verbal cue “Speak,” and a hand signal. Keep training your dog until he associates the “Speak” command with barking.
Next, introduce the “Quiet” command. Say speak and wait for your dog to bark. After around three or four barks, say “Quiet” with a calm but firm voice. Give him a treat if he stops barking. As with the previous method, continue practicing until he associates “Quiet” with “Stop barking.”
Training takes time and patience, so don’t lose your cool early on. Remember to give your dog treats and snuggles! He is part of the family, after all.
Do you want to put an end to your dog’s annoying barking problems? CLICK HERE to watch this FREE Step-by-Step Video from Doggy Dan’s Program!