First thing first, you cannot teach a dog to stop barking if he doesn’t know to bark on cue first. So, the trick for how to stop a dog from barking is to teach them to bark on cue first, and then teach them to go quiet.
But that is something a lot of owners do not understand. You cannot prevent behavior that is not put on cue first. Today, we will talk about how to stop a dog from barking. And to do that, we need to understand why do dogs bark and the basic learning sequence for commands.
Why do dogs bark?
Let’s start with understanding the types of barks. Your pet barks for different reasons. Sometimes, their compulsive barking is a positive thing. And sometimes, barking is unwanted behavior.
When you teach your pet to bark on cue, you can then teach him when it is acceptable to bark, and when it is not.
But first, let’s take a look at different types of dog barks.
Fear barks are a high-pitched bark often accompanied by your pup bouncing in a backward motion away from the object that scares them. In this case, their front feet will be out in front of them and they will try to bounce back.
This is a classic and common bark. You will hear two to four barks one after another with a short pause in between. Dogs give this bark when they suspect something is happening and they need to tell everyone.
The alarm barking sometimes sounds similar to the fear bark. But it is one or two octaves lower and continuous.
And when your pup recognizes the person incoming or the subject incoming, they will settle down from an alarm bark to their greeting method.
Barking for attention
Dogs quickly understand that demand barking is a great way to get our attention. And in that case, even you telling them to be quiet might be rewarding. They simply enjoy being locked at and spoken to.
Other dogs might learn to bark at mealtimes. And that happens when we prepare their food. Who doesn’t get excited for a delicious meal, right?
And sometimes, you puppy will get excited about playtime and start barking.
Barking when left alone
If you haven’t crate trained your dog, chances are, he will bark when you leave him alone. Dogs get distressed when left alone and they bark to get their owners back.
As social animals, dogs thrive in an environment with people and other animals. And when left alone at home, that is a stressful period.
One of the big MISTAKES owners make is when they come back home, their dog is barking, and they praise their dog. That rewards your dog and makes him think that barking got you back home. And he will always bark when left alone.
Territorial barking and protective bark
Dogs are territorial animals. And when a person or an animal comes into their area, it can trigger excessive barking. And as the threat gets closer the alert barking gets louder. This is even more evident in guard and watchdogs.
Boredom and loneliness
Even if you are at home, your dog might get bored because you are not giving him attention. And your barking dog will express his unhappiness with your decision to him them alone.
Teach your dog to stop barking
So, now let’s talk about the basic training sequence you can use to learn how to stop a dog from barking. If you didn’t know, the basic lure reward training sequence is request, lure, response, reward. We will put this sequence in action now.
Request is a verbal command always, lure is you luring the dog, response is your dog responds to the command, and reward is praise and dog treats.
As we said before, if you want to teach him to stop barking behavior, you need to teach him to bark on cue first. Here is the basic learning sequence for teaching your dog to learn to bark on command.
1. you say the command speak
2. lure – you do something that triggers barking
3. your dog responds and barks
4. praise and reward
For lure, you can use any barking trigger, like doorbell, a balloon, a ball, or anything else that will prompt your dog to bark. Once your dog learns to bark on cue, you can move to the next part of the exercise. And that is teaching your dog the quiet or shush command. Here is the basic training sequence for that
1 – Say command Shush
2 – Bring something to his nose to sniff, it is impossible to breathe through the nose and bark at the same time
3 – Sniff the food and stops barking
4 – Good Shush and give the food, but whisper
Start increasing the time between your dog shushing and the reward. The first few times, you can give him the treat the moment he stops inappropriate barking. Then, you should start increasing the length. Once you say Shush and your dog stops barking, count to three and give treats. Then count to five and give him dog treats. Eventually, try to add a distraction while your dog waits for the reward.
With positive reinforcement, after a while, your dog will learn that if he stops unwanted barking at command he will get a treat. Now, you can teach your dog when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not.
Top Tips To Stop Your Dog From Barking
The key to reducing any bad behavior is teaching your dog alternative good dog behavior. And then increase the frequency of the good behavior. The more your dog learns that good behavior results in rewards, the less likely he is to do the bad behavior.
When your dog learns that he has a lot to gain from stopping barking, he will change his behavior. And you will notice his barking will reduce in frequency.
With that in mind, here are some tips to improve your training for unwanted barking prevention.
- Never tell your dog off, as it can make matters worse and encourage your dog to bark even more
- Do not shout at your dog while he is barking, you are essentially encouraging the behavior
- Avoid things that your dog finds scary to prevent fear barking
- Crate train your dog to prevent separation anxiety and bars when he is left alone
- Teach your fearful dog it is OK to be left alone