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How to Teach Your Puppy Not to Bark

White fuzzy puppy with front paws on picnic table

Barking is your dog’s way to communicate with you. It can mean a lot of things but excessive barking for no apparent reason is a behavioral problem. Therefore, it is very important to teach your puppy not to bark (or bark less) from a very young age.

Training a puppy not to bark can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise. This is because barking is natural for canines and they find it hard to understand that it can be annoying. Fortunately, there are certain techniques that can help you to efficiently teach your puppy not to bark.

How to Train My Puppy Not to Bark?

Puppies bark for a multitude of reasons. A puppy who is bored, anxious, threatened, hungry, or simply demanding your attention will start barking. Likewise, the breed of your pup will also determine the frequency of his/her barking. Certain dog breeds bark much more than others and it is essential to train them to control this behavior.

Tips to Prevent Negative Barking

 puppy barking at a chihuahua outdoors

Negative barking is a behavioral problem in puppies that can stay with them even when they grow up. It is critical to curb this behavior in puppyhood because adult dogs find it hard to unlearn bad habits. However, you must find the cause of the barking first to resolve the issue appropriately.

Don’t Reinforce the Bad Behavior  

Puppy outdoors being told no

Never be harsh with your puppy if he/she does something wrong. This is because it won’t correct the problem in any way. Instead, it will make your puppy stressed and the bad behavior will be reinforced.

This does not mean that you should ignore the barking completely. You can ignore your pup for a while but if it doesn’t work, take the following measures to control the barking.

Remove the Trigger

The Spruce Pets explains that certain things, such as loud sounds, can make your puppy anxious. For example, cars passing by, fireworks, or slamming doors can all cause your puppy to bark. Try to remove these triggers and the problem might subside on its own.

If your puppy is constantly barking when outside, it could be due to other people and animals that are around. Bring your puppy inside to see if it calms him/her down. If that’s the case, your puppy was showing territorial behavior by barking.

Distract Your Puppy

German Shepherd Puppy running after a toy outdoors in the grass

Sometimes, puppies bark just to get your attention. It’s good to give attention to your puppy but you should never overdo it. Excessive attention will encourage your puppy to bark all the time. The best possible solution to this problem is to distract your pup. If executed properly, positive distraction goes a long way in stopping your puppy from barking.

Eliminate Boredom

If your puppy is barking out of boredom, dog toys and puzzles may help to curb this behavior. You can also find treat-dispensing toys in the market that give your puppy an extra incentive to play.

Some dog breeds need a lot of exercise to burn off their abundant supply of energy. If your puppy is not getting sufficient physical and mental activity, he/she can become chaotic and will start barking. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your canine companion is getting enough entertainment and exercise.

Find the Cause of Barking

Dog barking at persons  legs as they run in the grass

There are several causes that can lead to excessive barking. It is crucial to determine the exact cause before finding an appropriate solution. Some of the most common causes of barking are discussed below.

Attention – Many puppies bark because they need your attention to fulfill their needs. For example, your puppy may want to eat, drink, or maybe use the bathroom. However, some pups tend to bark negatively for seeking continuous attention.

Territorial – Puppies can be very territorial in front of other people or animals. They use barking as a way to assert their dominance.

Frustration – If your puppy feels irritated or helpless, it will start barking out of frustration. For example, if your pup loses a toy somewhere, he/she will start to bark.

Separation Anxiety – Leaving your puppy alone is not recommended, especially in the early days. This is because it can trigger excessive barking either due to fear or frustration.

Illness – If your puppy is sick, he/she will bark to get your attention so that you can help him/her. It’s NOT recommended to treat your dog yourself without consulting a vet.

Training Puppy Not to Bark

German Shepherd Puppy on a leash sitting at persons feet in the grass

Although there’s no single solution to stop your dog from barking, the following methods can prove helpful.

Ensure Sufficient Exercise

Make sure you provide the required exercise and mental stimulation to your puppy. Excessive energy results in a chaotic dog who will keep barking.

Provide Plenty of Attention

Puppies love attention and they need it too. Even trivial tasks, such as eating or using the bathroom, may require your attention if your puppy is very young.

Use Pheromones

Diffusers are a great way to disperse calming chemicals in the room. Pheromones alleviate stress from adult dogs as well as puppies. Although they don’t fix the barking problem directly, pheromones can prove handy because they relieve stress.

Teach Your Puppy a Quiet Command

Teaching vocal commands to your puppy is a great way to train him/her not to bark. For teaching these commands, simply take a treat and let your puppy sniff it. As soon as your puppy barks to get the treat, say the silent word of your choice (like “quiet”). Once the pup stops barking, give him/her the treat. This training may take some time, but your puppy will eventually associate the silence word with treats.

Reward Positive Behavior

Fuzzy puppy sitting in grass getting a treat

If your puppy obeys you and stops barking on your command, give him/her a treat or two. This encourages your pup to follow what you say and it will reinforce good behavior.

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