There is no debating that excessive barking can be quite a nuisance. Unfortunately, no matter how much we love our fur babies, even the meekest and most timid ones let out a few barks now and then.
As the bearer of bad news, we’re also here to inform you that the longer this behavior has been going on, the harder it will be to curb it. Luckily, we have five popular and effective methods against excessive barking to share with you.
Why is Your Dog Barking?
First thing’s first, understand what is causing your dog’s avid barking. Some barkers are territorial, and others bark to notify their humans of some strange occurrences. We then have those who bark for attention or compulsive barkers in which this behavior is hard to dissuade.
We also have a less problematic type of barking that comes in the form of a greeting. Your dog may be happy to see you and will stop after a few barks. There are also those pups who bark in a social setting or only respond to other dogs.
Lastly, there is the type of barking that occurs out of frustration.
To prevent the barking, pet parents must first figure out what is causing it to nip it in the bud effectively.
1. Place Sight Barriers or Remove the Stimulus
An effective way to get your dog to stop barking is to remove whatever is causing his alertness or block it somehow with barriers or remove your pup from the situation. This is more effective for responsive, territorial, and greeting barkers. If you know a dog or cat or whatever triggers your up is close by, remove your dog from the vicinity or block his line of sight to the triggers.
This is harder to manage outdoors, but inside the house, this can be done with closed curtains, shut blinds, window tints, and closed rooms.
2. Bark Control Devices
This is a hotly debated topic about the perceived cruelty behind bark control collars and devices. However, there are many different types, with some more humane than the next. For example, shock collars aren’t as ideal as citronella spray collars, but the best and least harmful for your pooch would be ultrasonic bark control devices.
If you are looking for the best ultrasonic bark control devices, head on over to Treehouse Puppies for some great options. These handy tools emit a sound inaudible to humans and that dogs find unpleasant at best. You don’t have to worry about it hurting or shocking your pooch. It merely catches them off guard and diverts their attention from the barking trigger.
Much like other barking deterrent methods, each dog is different, and some dogs do not react to them at all. It’s essential to test it out with your pooch to see if it works.
If unpleasant tactics are not up your alley, there is a more soothing bark control device you can try. There are calming collars that are packed with soothing herbs and scents to calm stressed or anxious barkers.
3. Tire Him Out
For attention barkers, a great way is to tire your pooch out. Give him enough exercise that he will be too busy resting to seek your attention. This is great because it gives you a chance to get out and get moving and also gives you some peace when you’re trying to get things done around the house.
Tiring him out doesn’t only involve physical exercise, but it also requires mental stimulation. The physical aspect is easily satisfied by taking him out on daily walks or runs. The mental aspect can be met with puzzle toys and adequate training.
Teaching your dog new tricks is surprisingly useful to tire his brain out. When he’s mentally and physically tired, it equals a calm and peaceful dog. One thing to keep in mind is not to over exhaust your pooch. Take into account your dog’s energy level, breed and age to determine the right amount of exercise.
This method to stop your dog from barking will need to be started from a young age to have maximum efficiency. When he starts to bark, you can immediately call a command you have trained him to do, such as sit, settle, stay, etc. This will hopefully redirect his attention to you and not the trigger.
Training needs to be coupled with plenty of positive reinforcement, so they know what not barking is what their human wants, and when their humans are pleased, they get a treat!
Another form of training can take the opposite route. Instead of giving them a command, ignore them altogether. Again, this works well with some dogs but not with others. Remember to reward them whenever they stop barking, and only when they stop barking do you offer any attention.
Last but not least, we have the sensory overload method of desensitization. This method is based on the concept of over exposing your dog to the trigger until they are no longer affected by it.
Let’s say the stimulus is the presence of another dog. You can start the desensitizing by keeping enough distance between your pup and the other dog so the barking doesn’t start. Gradually move closer and closer toward the other dog and feed him treats so long as he’s not barking at the other dog.
The process will have to be repeated for days and even weeks. Don’t move too quickly, you want to be sure your dog associates the stimulus with good things – his treats!
No matter which method you attempt, keep in mind that it will take time and patience, sometimes a whole lot of it. What works for one dog may not work for another, so if you have two or three avid barkers, you will have your work cut out for you. But with lots of treats, snuggles, pets and words of encouragement, your dog will eventually grasp the idea that no barking equals good things!