Help! I Have a Dog that Won’t Stop Barking

Small dog on leash ourdoors, barking.

Dog Barking Problem

Barking is as natural to dogs as speaking is to humans. Basically, it is one of the methods that dogs use for vocal communication. For this reason, it is highly unreasonable to expect your pups to stay quiet at all times. Having said that, excessive barking can be an irritating experience that can lead to several other problems.

Although anti-barking devices can also be effective, nothing beats the efficiency of training to solve the dog barking problem. However, there are certain factors that MUST be remembered to ensure success in training.

All the training sessions must be positive and upbeat. There should be NO yelling at all and you need to exhibit patience and tolerance with your pet. You need to stay consistent with your practices because you don’t want to confuse your dog. Keeping this in mind, all the family members should stick to similar training methods.   

Reasons for Dog Barking

Dog barking in foreground with 3 women talking in background

In order to cure this issue, the very first thing that you need to do is to figure out the cause(s) that are instigating your dog to bark. New dog parents may face some difficulties in solving this riddle. Once you have found the underlying cause, you are all set to start the treatment of this barking problem. Some of the most common causes of non-stop barking are listed below.

  • Boredom
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Attention Barking
  • Territorial Barking
  • Greeting
  • Alarm Barking
  • Fear
  • Aging Dogs

This can answer the question of why does my dog bark on walks, at night, or whenever she feels like it, but what do you do about it.

How to Keep a Dog from Barking?

Once you have identified the cause, you just need to be patient (with the training) to prevent excessive barking. However, it is easier said than done as you may need to put in a lot of effort to get the desired result. Following are some of the methods that you can adopt to keep your dog from barking.

Ignore your Dog’s Barking

This is probably the most important aspect of training your dog. When you offer any kind of attention to your pet while he/she is barking, it worsens the situation even more. This is because your canine companion considers your attention as a reward for its barking.

For this reason, you should completely ignore your dog unless he/she has stopped barking. It is important to consider that any kind of interaction (even looking towards them) can sabotage the training. When they stop barking, you should offer them a treat as a reward. Gradually, increase the amount of time that the dog has to stay quiet to get the treat.

Divert the Attention of your Dog

Small dog playing on hard wood floor with dog toys

Barking can be controlled by diverting the attention of your dog. One of the best possible ways to achieve this goal is to use dog toys. These toys will substantially decrease the chances of boredom (and barking). You need to select a toy that will be the most attractive for your dog. This will give you the best possible results.

For instance, some breeds will enjoy plush toys while others will be more interested in chew toys. Some of the most popular options are listed below.

Desensitize your Dog to the Underlying Cause

Fear and territorial breach are really powerful stimuli that can make your dog bark. In these circumstances, it becomes a necessity to desensitize your dog in order to stop the barking. For this training, you need to create an impression (by offering treats) that the appearance of stimulus is actually beneficial for the pet. Consider the example where your dog starts barking upon seeing another dog.

In this case, you should start the training by keeping the other dog at a safe enough distance. Slowly bring the other dog closer and start feeding your dog a lot of amazing treats. Now, take the other dog away and stop feeding treats. Repeating this process, again and again, will make your dog ignore the other dog. Having said that, patience is necessary because it can take days and even weeks in some cases.

Provide Sufficient Exercise

Lack of exercise (both physical and mental) is also associated with excessive barking. The reason behind this is that dogs require certain levels of activity to stay happy and calm. If they don’t get that, they become bored and frustrated. Barking is one way of killing their boredom and expressing their frustration.

The “Quiet” Command

Ironically, the first step of this training technique is to teach your dog to BARK on command. Yes, you read that right. You will teach your dog to bark whenever you say the word “speak”. After that, let it bark a few times before offering him/her a tasty treat. Keep repeating this practice until it becomes part of your dog’s system.

Now, it’s time to teach him/her the quiet command. Find a calm environment with no distractions and tell your dog to bark by saying “speak”. As he starts barking, say “quiet” and offer the dog a treat. As he/she stops to sniff the treat, give the treat and praise your pet. Repeat this training activity to get a hold on your dog’s barking.

Other Ways to Stop Dogs Barking

Old dog with a gray face barking

In addition to these training exercises, you can also adopt other techniques to stop dog barking. The main goal of these methods is to avoid the circumstances that instigate your dog to bark.

Dog Quiet Zone

This is an effective way of tackling the barking issue, especially if you work full-time. Prepare a quiet zone (laundry room or back bedroom) for your dog that should be away from the front door. However, it should be a safe place because you never want your frustrated dog to harm itself.

You need to make this quiet zone an interesting and comfortable place for your canine companion. For this purpose, you should provide a comfy sleeping area and interesting dog toys. For example, you could place a puzzle feeder in the quiet zone that will keep your pet occupied and happy. Likewise, if your dog likes chew toys, you can have some of them in this area.

If your dog is crate-trained, a crate can be extremely helpful in leaving your dog alone. The longer the dog’s attention is diverted, the lesser the chances of its barking.

Sight Barriers

Man in overalls installing a wooden privacy fence

A lot of barking triggers are beyond your control but you CAN manage the sightline of your dog. Using sight barriers stops certain stimuli from reaching your pet. This can be a really helpful method if your dog is into territorial and alarm barking.

Privacy Fencing is one way of blocking your dog’s view of streets and neighbors’ yard. These screenings are user-friendly and offer minimum fuss as they can be installed over your existing fence.

Anti-barking Devices

Even though these products have mixed feedback, they do prove very useful for handling some dogs. Researchers have combined technological advancement with their knowledge of dog behavior to develop a variety of these devices. You can select anything ranging from an ultrasonic anti-bark product to an anti-barking collar.

Recommended Dog Training Courses for a Dog that Won’t Stop Barking

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.