Instead, you might consider speaking calmly to him. For example, if your dog barks while someone is knocking at the door, you can tell your dog, “Ah, yes, thank you for letting me know someone is there.” Once he is quiet, you can reward him with a treat.
You might also choose to ignore your dog’s barking. By acknowledging his barking, he is receiving a positive response from you, thereby increasing the likelihood that he will engage in the barking behavior again. Once he has quieted down, you can reward him with attention and/or a favorite treat. Reward any silence, even if he quiets down to catch his breath for a few moments.
In cases of anxiety, barking can be reduced by removing the stimulus. For example, if your dog barks at people outside because he sees them out the window, keep the curtains drawn so that he cannot see outdoors. This is especially important while you are away. You can minimize scary sounds outdoors by leaving the television or radio on while you are gone.
Desensitization training can also be helpful, especially if you have a dog who barks at animals and people while you are out walking. You can practice by setting aside designated training time. Have a friend and their dog cooperate by starting out down the street from you, and you will have your own dog with you on the opposite end of the street.
Begin walking towards each other and keep giving your dog treats as you close the distance with your friend. If your dog starts to bark, stop giving treats, and turn around right away. If he is quiet while walking, he is becoming used to the idea that he doesn’t have to bark at your friend or their dog. You should be able to repeat this exercise multiple times, and if your dog is too excited and cannot calm down, you can reschedule the training for another day.
Many of the tenets of basic training for dogs include commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “speak.” However, you should try to teach your dog “quiet” after he has barked for the “speak” command. With repetition and a good reward system, you will be able to apply the “quiet” command to situations where your dog is barking excessively.
Dogs who have behavior disorders or separation anxiety may need additional help with medications and supplements from your veterinarian. If your dog is too nervous or anxious when barking, he may not be in the right frame of mind to learn how not to bark.
Depending on your dog’s condition, your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. Calming supplements, probiotics, and treats are often recommended, and dog-appeasing pheromone products can be used in conjunction with all of these items. There is also abundant anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD oil may help keep your dog calm and reduce his levels of stress and anxiety.
Barking is a major form of communication for your dog and can be applied in a variety of situations, but excessive barking can be a problem for your dog and for your nerves!
Understanding why dogs bark is an important component of knowing how to train your dog to curb his barking. With the right training and a lot of patience, you can decrease your dog’s excessive barking and help improve your relationship with your furry best friend.