Owning a dog and forming a special relationship with your canine can be highly rewarding. Despite this, there are still many challenges that come with it and need to be overcome for you and your dog to live happily together. Excessive barking is one aspect of being a dog owner that can put pressure on your relationship and lead to long term troubles if allowed to get out of hand.
Before we get into how to stop a dog barking, it’s important to recognise that barking is a completely normal dog behaviour. It’s the only way for dogs to communicate verbally with their owners or each other and shouldn’t be misunderstood. A dog barking should only be considered as a problem if it becomes excessive or when you believe your dog is barking for all the wrong reasons.
Another aspect of barking behaviour to acknowledge is that there is no quick fix when it comes to how to stop your dog from barking – it won’t happen overnight. If you’re ready to tackle your dogs excessive barking, your household will need to understand the long process ahead and make sure to be consistent with the techniques or commands used in training.
Why does your dog bark so much?
A large part of training your dog to bark less is to pinpoint the motivation behind the negative behaviour. There are many reasons for a dog to bark, whether it’s for attention, out of aggression, or due to separation. Unfortunately, some motivations are far more negative and hard to unpack than others.
Finding the source of your dog’s excessive barking is most of the battle as it allows you to tailor your training methods accordingly. Once you have a strong understanding of why your dogs bark, it’s all about removing the motivation or removing your dog from the environment the motivation is in.
Benchmark Kennels are leading suppliers of high-quality wooden dog kennels and runs to properties across the UK, giving dogs a sheltered and spacious space to relax or play, minimising the stress put on your dog and you.
Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons for excessive barking and how to go about training your pooches.
Training techniques to stop excessive barking:
Always keep in mind that positive and consistent techniques result in long term behavioural changes in your pets, not shouting or negative punishments. While reprimanding your dog might stop dogs barking there and then, it can harm your relationship and lead to the barking getting worse in the long run.
How to stop your dog barking at night…
If you find your dog’s excessive barking starting as soon as the lights are out at night and you’re ready for bed, ignorance is key. A dog that barks at night will believe that their barking gets attention, so you will need to teach them the opposite. By going in to see your dog and telling it to be quiet, you are essentially rewarding the barking behaviour.
If you consistently ignore your dogs barking at night, eventually they will give up and learn that barking has no positive effects. Of course, it can be incredibly difficult to ignore your distressed animal, but being strict with yourself and your pet will lead to a happier dog in the long term.
How to stop your dog barking when left alone…
Another common reason for excessive barking is separation anxiety, which is usually a result of a dog being left alone for too long or a dog not being exposed to spending time alone as a puppy. While separation anxiety is hard for a dog to get over, there are still positive ways to reduce barking and keep your dog as calm as possible when left alone, one of these simply being exercise.
Tiring your dog out mentally and physically helps to keep a dog calm and reduce the amount of barking when left alone. Sticking to positive routines like taking your dog(s) for long walks before and after work can help to avoid your pets being under-stimulated or becoming bored, which is when barking and other problem behaviours start to occur. Like humans, dogs need to release energy, so if a dog is left with no positive ways to do this, it will result in naughty behaviour to occupy itself.
Always do plenty of research to pinpoint how much exercise your dog’s breed needs per day for a happy dog that relaxes or sleeps when left alone, rather than causing havoc.
How to stop your dog barking in the garden…
While most dogs in the UK are allowed free roam of their family homes as pets, this is not the case for all. Many households may have rescued or fostered animals that aren’t able to be housetrained, or may simply wish to keep their dogs outdoors in the garden for some of the day.
Dog kennels and runs are a great way to provide your dog with plenty of room to play, while also keeping them contained and reducing the likelihood of them being motivated to bark. You can have a dog kennel installed in a quieter area with fewer distractions like passersby or noise, so your dog can stay calm and occupy itself with stimuli inside the kennel. While dog pens are ideal for keeping your dog safe and quiet, your dog will still need plenty of walks and toys to keep them occupied. Leave your dog activities like food-dispensing and chew toys to keep them busy while outdoors. A stimulated dog won’t feel the need to bark for attention!
How to stop your dog barking at other dogs…
If your dog barks at other dogs when out for a walk or when they pass by your garden or home, this is likely due to frustration. Your dog will want to say hello or play, but it needs to learn that this isn’t always possible or allowed.
To tackle this type of excessive barking, you should take your dog to an area where there is usually plenty of motivation for his frustrated barking and reward them with treats for staying quiet when other dogs are close by. Over time, your dog will learn to associate treats with being quiet and you can start to prolong the amount of time between each treat being rewarded.
How to stop your dog barking at the door…
It’s common for dogs to bark when there’s a knock at the door or the doorbell goes, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle with the idea. Perhaps you have friends or family that are unfamiliar or warier of dogs, or you simply want a quieter home? With positive training and commands, you can stop your dog from reacting to postmen or visitors and keep the peace.
One way to go about this is the idea of incompatible behaviour. When the door goes or another dog walks past the window, instruct your dog to do something that isn’t compatible with barking. For example, tell your dog to go into its crate or lie on its bed as the doorbell goes. It will take patience, but your dog will eventually follow your instructions without a peep.
How to stop your dog barking at the window…
Another option, if you are experienced in teaching dog tricks, is to introduce the ‘quiet’ command. Being the opposite of ‘speak’, ‘quiet’ is a useful trick to master and can be used to stop your dog from barking in a number of situations, whether someone knocks at the door or your dog becomes over-excited or frustrated when people walk past your home. Make sure you give your dog a treat when it stops barking and be persistent with your rewards to reinforce the positive behaviour.
In the long run, it is training methods and rewards that answer the question of how to stop a dog from barking. The ‘quick fix’ items such as shock collars, sprays, and rattle cans may cease the barking but they can damage your dog’s mental health and harm your precious relationship. For a happy, healthy and quieter dog, simply identify why they are barking and follow the techniques to suit.
Order a custom dog kennel for your home today!
Get in touch with the Benchmark Kennels team today or order a customised wooden dog kennel via our website. Choose the size, position and features of your kennel to suit your requirements, whether you need draft excluders, anti-chew sides or galvanised walls to keep your dogs happy and safe.