How to Stop a Dog From Barking

Written by nicki howell
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If your dog barks uncontrollably at everything you aren’t alone. Many dog owners experience this major frustration. Here’s how to stop a dog from barking.

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    Practice some dog psychology. If you want your dog to stop barking, you need to understand what is provoking the behaviour. Sometimes dogs bark for attention, separation anxiety or because he’s protecting his domain. Pay close attention to your canine, and note the reason why he’s barking.

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    Barking for attention: If your dog is barking for attention, you need to practice ignoring your canine. Don’t acknowledge your dog until he calms down, and then offer him praise.

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    Barking to mark his territory: If your dog is barking to mark his territory, you should acknowledge the first bark only. For example, your dog barks and you say “good job.” If your dog barks again tell him “that’s enough, get in your doghouse.”

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    Barking because he misses you: If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, you need to show him being alone is OK. When you leave the house, don’t make a big production. Giving him treats or extra affection only reinforces his anxiety. When you come home, don’t acknowledge him until he calms down. When he does this, offer him praise.

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    Teach your dog a new command: Teach your dog to go to a designated space. For example “go to your bed,” or “go to your doghouse.” When your dog barks, you can distract him by telling him to go to his special place.

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    Introduce a distraction: For the strong headed dog, you may want to try distraction. Put some change in a soda can and tape the top shut. If your dog barks, shake the can. This distracts even the most stubborn dog. After time, you will only have to hold the can in front of your dog and they will stop barking.

Tips and warnings

  • Many canine owners are away from home for long hours during the work week. If you think you have a dog that barks out of boredom, try creating an entertaining environment. Hide dog toys and treats throughout the house or backyard. Kongs are a good choice, keeping the most destructive dogs entertained.
  • If your dog isn’t normally a barker and starts acting up, pay close attention. For some dogs, barking will flare up if they aren’t feeling well. If this sounds like your dog, call the vet to ensure your canine isn’t experiencing a health problem.

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