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Some Simple Steps to Stop Barking

Updated on September 5, 2013

How was I going to stop my dog barking?

There is only one thing more annoying to me than a dog barking persistently at what seems to be anything that moves, breaths, speaks, tweets or bangs.

That is a dog that does not stop barking when told too.

The picture in this intro is of my dog Fluffy, at 14 weeks old. He is a Bichon cross Pomeranian, very fluffy and very clever.

He is now 4 years old, still as fluffy.

3 months ago he was driving me up the wall with his barking.

The neighbors never said anything even though I am so sure Fluffy's barking and my continual shouting must of irritated them.

I decided I needed to change my tactics, and like any modern women my first stop for information was Google.

There was lots of advice and helpful tips.

After speaking with my local vet to make sure the internet info was correct, I stocked up on treats and started my war on my barking fluff ball.

Fluffy running
Fluffy running

Stop Barking with your Dog

When Fluffy barks, I would leave him to it for a while hoping that he would lose interest. When he did not stop I would then storm outside and tell him in a loud authoritative voice to stop barking, which he would do for as long as it took me to shout. As soon as I finished he continued barking. So clearly that was not working.

One way that was a sure fire way to get him inside was to rattle the treat packet. Also not the right way to get him to stop barking.

I have found out that shouting at your dog, makes him think that you are joining in the fun. Which makes him bark more as it is great fun to have a barking mate.

The best thing to do is totally ignore your dog, when he stops barking praise him and give a treat.

By giving a treat as I was doing when he was barking, I was rewarding him for barking.

Fluffy outside
Fluffy outside

Discover the Cause of the Barking

Dogs do not bark for no reason, they usually have seen or heard something that they feel their family needs protecting from.

Some examples: A person that has walked to close to the property.

The postman touching the families post box.

A car back firing, giving your dog a fright.

Another dog sniffing close to the fence.

So what should one do to reduce these triggers?

Remove your dog from the cause. If it is people walking on the road, bring him inside, keep him on the side of the house facing away from the road, close the curtain of the window facing the road.

If it is the children next door playing ball bring him inside.

Try not to leave your dog unattended outside for long periods of time as this can cause him to bark more as a form of entertainment.

Fluffy waiting for a treat
Fluffy waiting for a treat

Stop your dog Barking

To teach your dog to stop barking on command, it is suggested that you teach him to bark(speak) on command.

To get Fluffy to bark, I got my son to ring the door bell. My son was 5 years old so he thought this was great fun. I then said in a firm voice, 'quiet' bringing my hand to my mouth at the same time.

When he stopped barking for the count of 10seconds I'd give him a treat.

I got my whole family to carry treats in their pockets so that they could also contribute to the training.

It took Fluffy a month to master this, if I was not working full time I am sure it would have been quicker.

Unfortunately, the same command did not work when people came to visit.

Fluffy distracted with water
Fluffy distracted with water

Distraction Tactics to Stop Barking

When the 'quiet' command did not work as effectively when people came to visit, I tried removing Fluffy to another room and closing the door.

All this did was make him bark more and scratch the paint of my bedroom door.

I asked my friends to just ignore him. He would quieten down after a while but would start up again as soon as they moved.

I decided to buy a dog whistle which I used as soon as he started barking, this worked for me. When he stopped barking I gave it to the the count of ten, then gave him his treat with lots of praise.

If the whistle does not work try distracting him, make a sudden noise such as banging a door or clapping, but the trick here is to make sure your dog does not know where the sound comes from. When he stops barking for 10 seconds give him a treat.

You can also throw a toy towards him but be careful not to hit him or let him see you do it.

Fluffy Enjoying the snow with Family
Fluffy Enjoying the snow with Family

It is Natural For a Dog to Bark

With the consistent training I gave Fluffy I have not stopped him barking completely, but have managed to teach him to stop on command.

It was not a quick process and even now he sometimes does not listen.

This usually happens when he is out in the yard and the neighbors children are skating or playing outside our house. He barks at this time because he loves children and has the most fun when my son is playing with him. I feel he just wants to go play. Picking him up and taking him inside solves the problem.

No matter what works for you and your dog, always remember to be firm, loving and give him lots of praise when he gets it right.

After all, he lives to love and please you. You are his world.

Do You have any Suggestions to Stop Barking.

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    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 4 years ago from California

      OMG what a cute dog! My dog is a barker to and I'm just starting to train him. I think your tips will help.

    • angelique kried profile image

      Angelique 4 years ago from Christchurch

      @darkflowers: Thanks for the comments. Fluffy does listen now, most of the time. The 10 seconds is an estimate, it can be shorter. This may explain why he took longer than I had hoped to learn.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice article. I don't have a dog now, but when I did I didn't have that problem, thank goodness.

      Love your little bundle of fluff, hope you have been successful with the barking.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      Great Lens, but... praising after 10 seconds doesn't work. Dogs live in the moment. As soon as your dog stops barking praise him with a nice high voice (but don't speak loud, otherwise your dog thinks you bark back at him...). Watch your body language as well, don't panic! Dogs 'read' our body language, they are experts at it. If you correct the barking also make sure you do it IN the moment, otherwise your dog won't understand the correction and will get more excited.

      Wonderful Lens, hope the barking is under control now!

    • angelique kried profile image

      Angelique 4 years ago from Christchurch

      @artbyrodriguez: That's a great idea. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Fill a tin can with pennies, or anything noisy. When you shake it, it makes a loud noise that dogs don't like. Shake it and say NO when they are barking, or jumping or doing anything you want to change. Then give the treat and praise when they stop the bad behavior. It worked with my dog. Great topic for your article!