How to stop a puppy from barking and growling

Written by chris miksen
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How to stop a puppy from barking and growling
Barking dog (barking brown dog image by Paul Retherford from

Puppies that constantly bark and growl are either showing insecurity or aggressiveness, neither of which is a good thing. Putting a stop to the barking and growling when your dog is a puppy will help reduce the chance of him growing up with an aggressive or insecure mindset. Dogs that grow up to be aggressive or insecure are far more likely to bite someone than dogs who are relaxed and secure. Stopping your puppy from growling and barking is not easy but with time and patience it can most certainly be accomplished.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Train your puppy in daily obedience. Simple commands such as "sit," "stay" and "come" allow you to be in control and act as the leader. Daily obedience training also helps shape your puppy into a well-behaved and balanced dog.

  2. 2

    Ignore your puppy. If he growls or barks at you in an attempt to get your attention, then simply ignore him by turning your back or walking away. This tells him that barking or growling is not the way for him to receive attention.

  3. 3

    Use positive reinforcement. Issue a loud and firm "no" if your puppy is barking or growling at inappropriate times. When she stops, immediately praise her and give her a treat. Doing this repetitively allows your dog to learn that being quiet is better behaviour than constant barking and growling.

  4. 4

    Socialise your puppy. Puppies, like children, are naturally frightened by things that they don't understand or have never seen before. In response to something unfamiliar, your puppy will let out a series of barks or growls in hopes of scaring it off. By introducing your puppy to new places, sounds and people, he will acquire an understanding of things around him and push that fear aside.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid using spray bottles to stop barking or growling. Puppies are very fragile animals and become accustomed to things very quickly. If you spray your puppy in the face with water when he barks or growls, he may grow up to become fearful of water.
  • Never use an electronic shock collar to discourage barking or growling. This method is simply ineffective. Dogs will naturally bark and growl sometimes, and there may be perfectly good reasons to do so, but a shock collar cannot differentiate between a reasonable or unreasonable time to bark or growl.

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