You can be a dedicated owner to your pet dog, shower him with adoration and food, and even pat him to the fullest. However, there might still be some moments that can make you get irritated. Aside from him peeing and defecating all over your place, along with the occasional friendly biting of the things you’ve bought, the most irritating thing is the barking.
Barking is only natural if something is of concern. However, in times of relaxation or when you need to focus, if your dog found something intriguing or annoying, he will bark without your consent. Such a situation can be really irritating. Therefore, it is only necessary to learn how to stop a dog from barking.
Reasons for Barking
A dog’s barking can sometimes be helpful to you, the owner, but sometimes, it’s not. There can be a number of reasons why a dog barks, and some of them are as follows:
- Territorial dispute – Dogs bark to any animal, human, and moving object when they encroach on their territory.
- Alarm triggering – Dogs bark as an alarming sound to their owners or to other dogs of the pack.
- Seeking of attention – Whenever a dog wants that natural activity like eating, playing, or bowel movement, he immediately barks to the owner, demanding for attention to his craving.
- Sign of greeting – A dog expresses his excitement upon greeting his owner or sadness as the owner leaves through barking. It is usually accompanied by a wagging tail or an uneasy behavior.
- Compulsiveness – When a dog is fixated on something that catches its attention, even if he is not affected by the activity, he will continuously bark until he loses interest.
- Responsiveness – When another dog passes by or had faced your dog, a barking “conversation” might occur. Your dog sometimes barks in response to a nearby dog’s bark.
- Inducing frustration – In times of distress, a dog calls for help out of frustration through barking.
Knowing the reason for your dog’s barking and the tolerance level of your dog will help you develop specific strategies on how to stop that certain barking.
Methods of Stopping
Pay attention to the reasons before asking “how to stop my dog from barking”. It is the major medium of a dog’s communication. However, if it somehow becomes a bad habit, you have to take the following actions to stop the barking:
1. Utilize Sight Barriers
Dogs may have really a good sense of hearing or smell, but they bark upon anything they had their sights on. Therefore, it is only logical that the way to stop a dog from barking is to remove the object, animal or person it sees. However, it can be rude at times.
To solve such a problem, you can trick a dog that the one triggering his barking is gone by setting up barriers. When your dog is inside the house barking at something or someone from the outside, you can use your windows, blinds, curtains, and doors as barriers. Meanwhile, if he’s in the yard and starts to bark at passersby, invite or carry your dog inside the house.
Tricks can work if you have done a convincing job. If not, then you need another strategy to implement. If your dog usually goes to his cage or doghouse, it might be a lot easier to set up barriers.
2. Ignore the Barking
When a dog just barks for the sake of it, sometimes ignoring can be effective. This is especially true when your dog recognizes he’s being spoiled. The technique here is to not give him what he wants.
If you have patience and time to spare, don’t give your barking dog any attention by turning your back or not looking at him at all. Once the barking subsides, wait for a couple of minutes before turning around and praising him for being quiet while giving him a treat.
Don’t overindulge the treat since the goal is to develop good behavior and lessen the idea of being spoiled. Add some variations to the amount of time for silent treatment after the barking.
3. Divert His Attention
There are three methods you can use to achieve this.
As a dog can easily be fixated on something and keep on barking, it can also be used to reverse the situation. You can add another stimulus which can be pleasant to “override” the current situation that triggers the barking. This method can only be applied through behavioral experimentation.
The method uses a situational simulation wherein you set up something that can make your dog bark and apply the added stimulus on a calculated moment. To do this, you have to set the “trigger” out of your dog’s sight. As you move the “trigger” nearer to his line of sight, give your dog with treats as the added stimulus.
As the “trigger’” is removed out of the scenario, stop feeding your dog. Repeat the process multiple times but not in succession until when an actual bark-triggering scenario takes place and the added stimulus works as attention-diversion.
If you have a large backyard, generating that scenario might need some manpower since your dog can just simply roam around looking for another thing that is intriguing to bark on. To help you catch his attention, you can use a dog whistle. It is an effective attention-catcher without causing distractions since only your dog can hear the sound it emits.
Another hands-free method to divert your dog’s attention and stop his barking behavior is to use a bark collar. The device is highly advanced compared to the methods previously mentioned. Since it is run by electricity, make sure you understand how it works before hastily applying it to your dog.
4. Train Your Dog
If your dog can develop mild anger tendencies upon barking, you may need to implement training. The most common method is to yell “quiet” when a dog starts to bark unnecessarily. Reinforce the method by shouting in a manner that conveys your stress without causing any harm.
When the barking stops, you have to provide a treat as a reward. Continue the pattern until the dog recognizes the word “quiet” as a command to stop barking. You can use other words like “sit”, “stay”, or “stop”.
Barking can be unnecessary, yet it is only natural for a dog. As beings of higher intelligence, we can only adjust and use the means to stop barking naturally, but we should also exercise control.
However, no matter how annoying your dog’s barking is, violence against pets must never be exercised. If you can’t handle it, seek professional help instead.