How to Stop a Dog from Barking

Read our guide to help your dog.

Barking is part of many dog’s normal behaviors. However, if your dog is barking excessively, you may be going crazy trying to get your pup to stop. This can be a difficult part of your dog’s training but is key to building a happy and healthy life with your dog.  

Why does my Dog Bark?

It is important to learn the reason behind your dog’s noisy behavior. Dogs can bark for a variety of reasons. Observe what your dog is barking at and if there appear to be specific triggers for their behavior. Here are a few of the common reasons your pup may be barking.

Attention

One reason for your dog’s barking may be attention-seeking. Just like little children throwing temper tantrums to get what they want, your dog may be doing the same thing. Your dog may be trying to get your attention, to go outside, or to be fed.

If your dog stops barking when you pay attention to him, this may be their motivation for barking.  

Fear

Another reason your dog may be barking is out of fear. This type of barking may sound very aggressive for your pup. In this type of barking, your dog is trying to put some space between themselves and the scary thing.

This may happen when your dog barks when someone or something approaches them unexpectedly.  

Excitement or Boredom

 Your dog may be barking out of excitement or boredom. If your dog is constantly barking at mealtime or during playtime, it may be overly excited.

Repetitive barking may be a sign that your dog is bored and trying to entertain themselves.  

Territorial

Barking may also be a sign that your dog is territorial. If your pup barks at other dogs or people who enter their own space, they may be trying to show ownership.

This type of barking will happen when they feel that something or someone is too close to something that belongs to them. For the same reason, they may also bark when someone is too close to their toys or even too close to you.   

How do I stop my Dog from Barking?  

There are several different training techniques to teach your pup to stop barking. You must be consistent and positive when teaching your dog to stop barking.

Although a loud barking dog may feel frustrating for you, do not yell at your pup to stop barking. For your furry friend, it seems like you are barking back and may encourage their barking behavior.  

Here are six ways to help you train your dog to stop barking_

Ignore the Barking

If your dog is barking to get attention or for play, you can try to ignore the barking. If your attention is what your dog is truly after, removing your response will help show your dog that it is not how to get what they want.

Ignoring the barking still applies, even if the cause is a ball trapped behind the couch. If you choose to free the ball for them rather than ignoring the bark, they will continue to bark to get your response.  

Teach him the “Hush” command

If your dog is barking to alert you of a visitor or as a territorial claim, try teaching your pup the command “hush.” You may prefer your dog to bark at strangers who approach the yard or house.

However, if your dog does not stop barking once a guest has entered your home or has been deemed as a safe visitor, this command will help.

Treats

When your dog begins to bark at a guest, grab a treat in your hand, and walk toward your dog, putting the treat right next to your dog’s nose. When your pup stops barking to smell the treat, say the command “hush” and give them the treat.

Continue to practice this skill until they can stop barking based only on the “hush” command. 

Remove the Triggers

If your dog is barking at all traffic or pedestrians outside of your home, begin to check their view of these triggers. This may mean that your dog is confined to a certain part of the house at prime barking hours. This may also be something as simple as closing the blinds or curtains.

You may also find it helpful to put in a temporary privacy window if your dog insists are barking at passers-by. This window can be lowered gradually as your pup begins to care less about the outside traffic.  

Toys

If your dog is barking out of boredom or tends to only bark when you are not home, providing them with busy toys may help stop this behavior. This will give your pet something to entertain them while you are away. This will also lessen their desire to keep barking.

Some busy toys even dispense treats that will help keep your dog occupied enough to stop barking.   

Exercise – Lots of it!

Finally, exercise, exercise, and more exercise. In training your dog to stop barking, be sure they are getting plenty of exercises. This will make all your training sessions more meaningful and can discourage barking behavior before it even starts.

Depending on the age and size of your dog, they will need two to three long walks each day. This is needed in addition to playtime.  

Patience is Key 

If your dog is barking incessantly, you may have a hard time remaining calm when they won’t seem to stop. But, be patient!

When you begin to discover the motivation behind your dog’s barking, the training will likely need to continue for several weeks before your pup catches on.

Depending on the reason for your dog’s barking, you may also have to create situations that would trigger barking to work on training.  

Resources for Training 

One of the best places for you to start in your training for barking is exercise and entertainment.

Be sure that you have a good leash, collar, or harness that your dog can walk comfortably with. Pet stores such as PetsMart and Petco carry a wide variety for you to choose from as well as online vendors such as Chewy.com and Amazon.com.

Pet Stores and online vendors also carry a wide variety of busy toys to help entertain your pup. These toys distract and encourage them not to bark.

Toys such as the Treat Dispensing Bob-A-Lot and the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball will help entertain your pup. These toys are also safe to leave at home with your dog even while you’re away.

To help distract your dog from barking triggers while you are at home, you can find many types of dog puzzles that stretch your dog’s mind.  

If you are looking for additional information on how to help your dog learn to stop barking, consider additional reading from the sources listed below:

Dog Barking Excessively? By Bruno Mitchel 

Barking: The Sound of a Language By Turid Rugass 

Train Your Dog Positively By Victoria Stilwell