Why Dogs Bark
To learn how to train a dog not to bark, you must first understand what is causing the behavior. Barking, like whining, growling and howling, is a dog’s natural form of communication. Dogs bark when they feel threatened, when they want to play, and to warn you of danger. Genetics can also play a part in your dog’s likelihood to bark. Some canine breeds are more prone to barking, like Beagles and Terriers. It’s a good idea to research which breeds have a natural tendency to bark before welcoming a dog into your home. Keep in mind that dog barking that is done out of a desire for companionship is most likely to develop into an issue.
What Causes Problem Barking
While short-term barking is natural, problem barking can be excessive and points to an underlying cause or need. To learn how to train a dog not to bark and stop problem barking in your home, you’ll need to determine what’s causing the behavior. There are many factors that can lead to problem barking:
- Physical needs can cause a dog to bark when she’s not supposed to. If a dog is too hot or cold, hungry or thirsty—it can lead to barking.
- Emotional needs and environmental needs can lead to problem barking as well. A dog that is bored, excited or anxious will bark to request attention.
- Too much energy can also lead to excessive dog barking.
- Fear of unfamiliar situations, new people or specific objects.
Make sure the barking isn’t caused by being too hot, cold, hungry or thirsty. If your pet isn’t getting enough exercise and winds up with unspent energy, add extra playtime with your pup to your daily routine. You can also consider hiring a dog walker to take your pet to the dog park when you’re away.
If your dog is barking out of boredom, lack of stimulation or separation anxiety, an interactive dog toy can help to keep her mind active. The Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy engages dogs when you can’t take them out to play. The toy features a variety of sounds, shapes and textures that leads to hours of interactive play. Hide the squirrels within the tree trunk and allow your dog to sniff them out. It’s a great game of hide-and-seek that pups love.
How to Train a Dog Not to Bark
For barking that persists, you can turn to training. There are multiple ways to train a dog not to bark, according to certified professional dog trainer Nicole Ellis of Rover.com. “If they are barking out of fear of a person or object, I would focus on helping them with their fear issue rather than training them not to express their fear,” advises Ellis. She doesn’t suggest trying to hush your pup; “It’s always safer to have your pet let you know when she isn’t comfortable with something or someone before they react.” Instead, you can teach your dog a quiet command, “So when your dog is barking, you can give them the new ‘Quiet’ command and reward that behavior,” Ellis says.
Amy Robinson, professional dog trainer at Sniff and Barkens, suggests, “Rather than trying to eliminate barking altogether, turning the dog to another task that is incompatible with non-stop barking is a great approach.” To help teach your pup not to bark for dog treats, Robinson advises owners to teach new behavioral signals. “For demanding barking, such as for a treat, ask the dog to ‘Back up.’ Stand and face the dog, walk directly into the dog’s path, and ask them to ‘back up’ from you. Once the dog retreats, ask the dog to ‘Sit,’ then pet lightly under the chin as you praise him.” Make training easier with the help of delicious dog treats. Tasty treats like American Journey Lamb Grain-Free Dog Treats can make it easier for your pup to learn new commands.
While dog barking is a common form of canine communication, there’s a time and place for it. Non-stop barking is annoying and can cause problems between you and your neighbors. Take time to find out the cause of the barking, and then you can train your pup when and when not to bark.
Michelle McKinley is dedicated to creating informative pieces that help pet parents train, care for and love their cuddly companions. She operates a digital ad agency providing content to enterprise and small businesses. As a writer for Chewy, Michelle delights in sharing tips and techniques that strengthen the relationship between owner and pet. She works with experienced veterinarians, knowledgeable pet behaviorists and pet brands to bring the best in pet to readers.