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7 Steps for Teaching a Dog Not to Bark

Small dog missing teeth barking at the camera

Although barking is the natural way (for dogs) to communicate, things can go out of control, sometimes. Excessive barking is not only uncomfortable for the owner but also his/her neighbors. Therefore, we need to control this annoying habit and teach our pups proper manners. Read on to learn about the steps for teaching a dog not to bark and how to behave gently.

Step 1: Never Reward Your Dog’s Barking

It is much easier to stop the barking in the beginning when your pooch hasn’t developed this frustrating habit. Paying attention encourages a dog to bark even more and it will worsen the situation. Therefore, there is no point in yelling back at your pup because it will only make him/her more aggressive. Instead, you should ignore your canine companion when he/she is barking negatively.

Dogs consider your shouting a reward and will continue barking in an attempt to get more attention. Therefore, the first step to teach your dog not to bark is always the lack of reward. Stay calm and try to determine the cause which is making your dog bark.   

Step 2: Find the Cause

Squirrel in the hollow of a tree eating nuts

It’s extremely important to find why and when your dog barks. Keep a close eye on your pup (without giving him/her any response) and try to identify the cause. You can use cameras or other recording devices to ensure continuous monitoring of your dog.

Alternatively, you can ask your family members and neighbors to track the behavior of your pooch. It also allows them to realize that you are working to solve this behavioral issue. Some of the most common causes of barking are highlighted below.

Medical Issues

Dogs tend to bark when they are in pain or suffering from any other health issue. They do that to communicate with the owner that something’s not right. It’s highly recommended to consult your vet if your pup seems to be barking for no apparent reason.


Boxer dog standing at fence looking frustrated

If your pup is not happy about something or someone, he/she may start barking. According to wiki How, removing the cause of frustration will solve the problem in most cases. Usually, dogs exhibit this kind of behavior when they are bored, jealous of other pets, or wants your attention.

Alarming Conditions

Dogs are trained to bark in certain circumstances so that they could warn you about a potential danger. If your dog is suddenly barking at night or in an unusual situation, he/she could well be alerting you. Try to figure out what’s bothering him/her and remove the discomforting factor.


Dog on leash walking on sidewalk with owner, barking at people they pass,

It’s normal for dogs to bark while greeting their loved ones (as if they are trying to say “Hi”). However, this should only be a small bark and shouldn’t feel harsh. If you feel any harshness, ignore your dog and remain silent. Additionally, try to teach your dog some basic commands, such as “quiet”, because they are quite helpful to stop unnecessary barking.

Step 3: Remove the Trigger

Once the cause has been found, the next step is to remove the trigger. For instance, if your dog barks while playing outside, stop the session and take him/her inside. This will make him realize that barking means no more fun and he/she will avoid that to keep enjoying. Likewise, if you notice any medical problem, visit your vet to find an appropriate treatment.

Step 4: Provide Plenty of Exercise

Man running with dog for exercise

Dogs are energetic creatures and can develop negative habits if they are not provided sufficient physical activity. Barking is one of the most common bad habits that canines use to release excess energy. Therefore, it’s necessary to provide ample exercise to keep your pup happy and content.

Young dogs need at least two sessions of energetic exercises daily. Other than burning their stored energy, these sessions also strengthen your relationship with your pets. After all, spending time with your furry companion is the best method to develop a strong bond. Best Bully Sticks explains that tiring out your dog is also the best method to release the energy that he/she uses for barking.

Step 5: Reinforce Positive Behavior

Jack Russell Terrier being given treats

Trying to quiet your dog by rewarding him/her is the worst thing any owner can do. Instead of discouraging the behavior, it encourages your pup to bark more and more. Therefore, it’s vital to reinforce positive behavior rather than discouraging bad manners.

Teaching your dog some basic commands (like “Sit” and “Stop”) can be very helpful. Ask your dog to behave properly when he starts barking and reward him/her when he/she acts accordingly. Moreover, try to distract your dog from the trigger and ignore him/her while he/she is barking.

Step 6: Be Consistent

When you’re trying to control barking habits, consistency is your best weapon. Decide the most suitable way to train your pooch and then stick to it. If you give mixed responses, the dog will become confused about whether you are liking a particular action or not.

It is also important to communicate with your family members and neighbors. Tell them how you want them to react when your dog is barking. Mixed reactions from the family members (or even neighbors) can compromise the training.

Step 7: Hire a Professional

Dog looking up at trainer as it sits in a grassy field

If you are finding it too hard to control your dog, don’t hesitate to consult or even hire a professional. Normally, dogs have a very friendly nature, adapt well to changes, and do well with humans. However, some canines can exhibit aggressive behavior. If you own such a pooch, you can hire a professional for teaching your dog not to bark. Most of the professionals also train your pup to behave gently, especially with your neighbors and guests.

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