So, you just brought home a new puppy, and the lovely pet seems to be barking a lot? No need to panic. Puppies can be rowdy for many reasons, and the good news is you can do something to stop your puppy from barking too much.
The first step is to understand your puppy’s reason for barking, then proceed to train your puppy not to bark unnecessarily.
In this article, we’ll tell you exactly how you can train your puppy to stop barking in this article. Since knowing why your puppy is barking is crucial for the success of the training, we will start from there.
1. Decode your Puppy’s Reason for Barking
There are several reasons your puppy can bark more than usual:
- To protect their territory when unfamiliar people or dogs approach the home.
- As attention-seeking behavior or an invitation to play.
- Boredom and lack of mental stimulation.
- Fear and anxiety.
You can decode your dog’s reason for barking by observing your pup consistently to notice what triggers the behavior.
If you know which of these reasons is causing your puppy to bark, it will be easier to stop your pooch from being overly noisy. The method in the next section will teach you how.
2. Train Your Puppy Not to Bark on Every Occasion
Puppyhood and training are an inseparable pair. If you don’t spend time teaching your puppy how you want him to behave in and out of the home, the pooch will adopt his own survival behaviors. You sure don’t want that.
So, if your puppy seems to be barking too much, consider using positive reinforcement to teach him to associate quiet time with reward and barking with no reward.
You can decide to use specific situations that trigger barking in your puppy to control the behavior.
For example, if you notice that your dog barks every time someone approaches your home, you can ask the help of a friend to stop it.
Here’s what you do:
- Ask the friend to approach the home from a distance.
- Watch your puppy closely, and as soon as the pooch notices the other person and is ready to bark, use a familiar cue like “Sit!” to make him stay still and desist from barking.
- Reward the puppy with a treat and a praise cue (“Good boy!”) as soon as he sits and does not bark. Hold back the treat if he barks.
- Repeat the steps several times until your puppy learns that barking takes away the treat, and staying quiet comes with a reward.
With time, your dog will associate staying quiet with rewards and avoid it in other situations.
3. Withdraw Attention During Your Puppy’s Barking Behavior
Has anyone told you that ignoring your child when he throws a tantrum is the worst punishment you can give him? Yeah, that’s science!
But, while you might not want to do that to your kid, it can work miracles with your overly barky puppy.
Puppies love the attention of their owners. When you talk to your puppy, cares him, or make eye contact, the pooch knows you have time for him.
However, if you show these forms of attention when your puppy is barking excessively, you tell the pup that barking is the best way to get your attention. In other words, you are rewarding the pup’s barking, and your pet will result in barking every time he wants your attention.
Instead, withdrawing these forms of attention counters the behavior. Your pup will avoid it, especially if you reward the times he sits or lies quietly without being overly rowdy.
4. Keep your Puppy Engaged
Dogs have different exercise and mental stimulation needs depending on age, breed, and other factors. Some puppies will thrive well as couch potatoes while others are high-energy dogs requiring at least an hour of daily exercise and plenty of mental stimulation.
If your dog is high-energy and doesn’t receive enough exercise and mental stimulation, the pet can result to barking.
Ensure your puppy has enough exercise and playtime to prevent barking from boredom and idleness.
A good guideline for puppy exercise is to start with a 5-minute walk twice daily at a month of age, then increase that by five minutes each month. The walks can double as leash-pulling classes using a training collar for your dog.
Of course, additional indoor play and mental stimulation with interactive toys are equally ideal.
5. Enhance Your Puppy’s Environmental Enrichment
Environmental enrichment or behavior enrichment entails creating a natural-like environment for your dog with increased room for exercise and species-specific behavior. It is vital in keeping your dog happy and stress-free and is known to prevent behavioral problems such as excessive barking.
You can make your puppy’s environment an enriched one by:
- Making your dog hunt his food by hiding it at different points in the home (nutritional enrichment).
- Allowing your puppy to spend time with other people and pets in and out of the home (social enrichment).
- Engaging your puppy in games and tasks that promote mental and physical stimulation (occupational enrichment).
- Providing outdoor exercise opportunities and engaging with toys that promote physical exercise (physical enrichment).
- Exercising your puppy’s senses with things like scented toys and music (sensory enrichment).
All these forms of enrichment will keep your dog engaged without feeling the need to bark for attention or from boredom.
The Bottom Line
A non-barking puppy does not exist. But one that barks a little too much needs a couple of no-bark lessons.
Begin by understanding why your puppy results in barking behavior. Then proceed to nip the behavior in the bud using one of the methods discussed in the article. Then, thank us later!