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How to Help Stop Your Dog’s Barking

Small white and brown dog barking

A common problem for dog owners is excessive or unexplained barking. Some dogs are a bit loud, they will bark at just about anything. While some owners have resigned themselves to having an ‘expressive’ dog, others wonder how to help stop their dog’s barking. There is something you can do about your pet’s outbursts. However, in order to to help stop your dog barking, first, you need to understand why dogs bark.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Dogs bark to vocalize a lot of different things. Like with any other animal, there is no singular reason for barking. As such an important form of verbal communication for a dog, we have to try to understand why they're doing it before knowing how to cut down on it.

No Single Reason

You can’t train a dog to never bark. However, you can address specific barking that is happening for one reason. To help your dog’s barking, you’ve got to learn why it is they’re barking in the first place.

Common Reasons Dogs Bark:

While the exact meaning behind a bark is going to depend on the circumstances, these are some of the major reasons why dogs bark.

  • They Want Attention – A dog can learn to bark to get what they want. Sometimes a dog barks just for some attention. They’re looking for any response to their behavior.
  • They’re Being Territorial – Dogs can get territorial; some breeds a lot more than others. If a dog feels that someone is in their territory that shouldn’t be, they will bark.
  • Fear – A dog that is frightened by something is likely to lash out. The barking isn’t to try and intimidate the threat, more to get some distance from it. They think that barking will make the threat back away.
  • Playing– Some dogs can bark a lot when they play. They mean this in a harmless way, they just think it is part of the game that you’re playing.
  • Boredom– A really under-stimulated dog can bark repeatedly. This is out of frustration, and to soothe themselves.
  • Excitement– Some dogs can bark just out of happiness. This type of bark might come in anticipation.
  • Separation Anxiety – A dog that is unhappy about being left on their own will often bark in this situation. This is similar to barking from fear.
  • Barking at Something They See Out of the Window – Some dogs like to sit by the window all day. This isn’t a problem unless they like to bark at everything that walks by.

Young Dogs Bark More and Need More Attention

A young dog's bark has to be interpreted differently to that of a middle-aged or older dog. A young dog has not yet learned what situations a bark gets a response in. This means they're more prone to verbal expression as they try to work out how they can interact with the world.

A Loud Reprimand Will Seem Like Joining in to Your Dog and They’ll Keep Barking

One thing to keep in mind with a dog who is barking too much is your response. Sometimes, if you yell at a dog who is barking they’ll think you’re joining in. Rather than seeing it as a reprimand, they’ll be thinking you’re agreeing with them! To them, it might seem like you’re yelling as the dog was making a pretty good point with its barking. Your reprimand to them is akin to saying ‘yeah, you’re right I’m going to bark too’.

How to Help Stop a Dog’s Barking

In each situation where your dog excessively barks, you should be able to figure out why. Once you know why they’re barking, you can help stop a dog’s barking. These are all tried and tested methods and each a particular type of barker.

Block Their View (Territorial or Fearful barker)

This solution works well for dogs who are barking because of something they see as a threat. Blocking their view of these potential threats takes away their motivation to bark.

Provide Toys That Require Focus (Separation Anxiety or Boredom Barkers)

This solution is great for dogs that are barking because of stress or a lack of stimulation. It helps by giving the dog something else to occupy themselves with. While they’re focused on getting the treat, their mind will be off of barking.

White Noise Machine (Fearful and Territorial Barkers)

These types of barkers will often be triggered by a noise just as much as sight! A white noise machine masks these noises and helps your dog stay calm.

Pheromone Treatment, Like Plug-In Diffusers (Fear or Separation Anxiety Barkers)

This treatment for barking works a little differently, but many dog owners have found it helpful. These diffusers give off a scent that resembles calming chemicals that dogs give off. This can help them to feel calmer when stressed and less inclined to bark.

Ignore Barking (Bored or Excited Barkers)

If a dog is barking for attention, ignoring it is actually a good way to stop the behavior. If your dog is receiving plenty of stimulation but still acting out, then they need to be taught that they don't get their way just by barking.

CBD (Anxiety or Fear Barkers)

CBD Oil works by reducing a dog’s stress and anxiety. This helps to remove the factor that is causing your dog to bark, so they can remain calm throughout the day.

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Exercise (All Types of Barkers)

A tired dog probably won't have the energy to bark. This is an over-simplification, but across the board, more stimulation is going to help cut down on the time your dog spends barking.

Reward Them When They Don’t Bark (All Types of Barkers)

One of the best training tools you have available to you is positive reinforcement. Whenever your dog ignores the thing that usually causes them to bark, they need to be rewarded so they know this is good behavior that they should repeat.

Things to Avoid

Helping stop a dog’s barking can take quite a long while. These solutions aren’t immediate and will take some time to work. These are some tips for making sure you’re undoing all of your progress while you’re working at it.

Yelling Will Seem Like Joining in the Barking

If you resort to yelling at a dog for barking, you're going to reinforce that behavior They'll think you're joining in, and by association that you approve of the barking.

Changing Tactics, As Consistency is Key to a Dog’s Learning

A dog will take a while to learn something from one of these methods. You will get results from consistency. If you change your plans after a few days of no results, your dog will just be confused by what you were doing.

Lack of Activity Will Lead to Barking as the Dog Will Grow Bored and Pent-Up

The worst thing you can do when trying to help a dog stop barking is not give them enough stimulation. A dog needs activity to keep themselves occupied. Making sure your dog is getting enough exercise and stimulation will make things easier.

If you’re wondering how to help stop a dog’s barking, the best thing you can do is figure out why your dog is barking. Then you can address the cause of the barking. The key is persistence. Once you’ve decided on how you’re going to help your dog, you need to stick with it. With some time, your dog should be able to resist barking and calm down more often.

Meet The Author 

Jordan Ashley

Jordan Ashley

Canine Specialist & Writer

Jordan is an experienced author who enjoys writing about all things dog. He loves all animals and when he is not working he spends his time curled up with his two dogs playing video games and maybe enjoying a craft beer.

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