Dogs bark because that is what they do, but they also bark for numerous reasons. Sometimes, it may be okay, but there are times when you do not want your dog to bark unnecessarily, especially if it is over the top. This blog post is about stopping your dog from barking in certain situations only and not all the time!
Dogs may also bark out of fear, boredom, pain or if they perceive some kind of threat. They will also bark when they are happy, like when you come home! Here are some tips to help you help your dog from barking unnecessarily.
1. Identify The Problem
To solve problem barking, the first step is to identify the issue and only then can you take the steps to getting rid of the habit. You need to take into consideration when she barks, where she barks, the type of barking and also if the barking is due to a person, an object or an animal. An important thing to note here is to rule out any medical issues. Deaf dogs may bark more, as do dogs with anxiety or similar disorders. Rule out the medical side of things first.
2. Remain Calm
Many dog owners get upset when their dog starts to bark. They shout back at their dog with a loud “NO” or “STOP” (or sometimes something worse). The thing to do is to remain calm. By shouting at them, because you’re stressed and you’ve had enough, your dog may take it that you are also joining in. Your vocal response tells them that you are giving them the attention.
You need to develop some kind of sound or signal which will stop the barking. It could be a specific word, a sound or perhaps even a touch that tells your dog to stop, but of course, there will be loads of training and patience involved. It’s not going to happen overnight. Some breeds such as the Portuguese water dogs may remain calmer than other breeds of dogs, so that’s also something to consider.
3. Rewarding Good Behaviour
When your dog stops barking and is quiet, reward her quickly. She will slowly learn the association because when she is noisy, she will not be rewarded but when she is quiet and well-behaved, she gets a treat. She will learn that this behaviour has greater rewards. Silence gets treats, barking is ignored. So now, you want to slowly increase the time before she gets her treat. Yes, it will take time and patience, but each day, you can increase the time for her to get that reward for being quiet.
If your dog barks or howls and whines as a result of separation anxiety, you can try desensitization. This is not something that will disappear overnight. In fact, it is a process that will likely last for several weeks. Gradually desensitize your dog and increase the time and she will realize that your leaving does not mean you are abandoning her.
There are many ways to help to keep your dog calmer but as you probably know, it will take a long time with patience and perseverance from you. You should offer treats and loads of “good boy” or “good girl” as the case may be. If you are at your wits end, you can always call a professional for advice and help.