How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking

Medium
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

There's nothing guaranteed to annoy the neighbors more than a constantly barking dog. And they're not alone – after all, you and your family have to deal with the constant sudden outbursts of noise, too. A dog that barks at the drop of the hat is a noisy nuisance. Whether it's yapping or deep, throaty woofs, a dog that doesn't know how to be quiet could get you in trouble with the landlord if you are a renter, or simply destroy the peace of your home.

When your pup begins a tulmultuous tirade of barking, the chances are you shout at the dog to be quiet. Unfortunately, this is the wrong thing to do. Your attention accidentally rewards the noise, and your furry companion may even interpret your shouts as an inept attempt at barking...with the result they get more excited and the noise level rises.

How to stop your dog from barking? Let's learn how to teach the sound of silence.

Defining Tasks

How do you teach a dog to 'not do' something, especially when giving them attention risks rewarding the undesirable action? Simple! You ignore the bad behavior and praise the good. OK, so it's not that simple, but the idea is to reward 'silence' rather than barking. To stop barking, teach the "Quiet" command. The aim is to have your best buddy understand the word "Quiet" and realize that they are rewarded when silent.

Be aware that barking can be triggered for a whole variety of reasons, from boredom to protecting territory. Your dog may feel they are not getting the attention they want or may like to bark excessively as a way of saying hello. As well as teaching the "Quiet" command, be sure to address underlying issues by providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. A content dog is a happy one, leading to more rest and less need to jump at every sound. Remember, some breeds are more prone to barking than others as well.

How quickly your dog learns the command, depends on how quick they are to learn, how consistently you apply the rules, and how ingrained their barking habit is. Truly, this is a case of prevention is better than cure, and for puppies, it's great to follow the method of not rewarding barking so they don't develop a barking habit in the first instance.

Getting Started

You will need:

  • Super scrumptious, utterly irresistible treats
  • Patience

It's also helpful to minimize the opportunities for your dog to bark while you are re-educating them. This can be as simple as blocking the view from a particular window, so they can't see people in the street, or putting your dog in a back room when visitors call at the front door.

Above all, be prepared to be patient. Barking is a rewarding activity in itself, so it's going to take a while to break the habit. And also know that training will go so much better if all family members know and apply the same rules.

The "Quiet" Command Method

ribbon-method-2
Most Recommended
3 Votes
"Quiet" Command method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Put barking on cue
Yes, that's right. Get your dog to bark. You might do this by knocking on a wall so they make an experimental 'Woof'.
Step
2
Label this as "Bark"
At the same time they woof, say the command "Bark" and praise them with a pleasing voice.
Step
3
Now label the silence as "Quiet"
You knocked on a wall or the floor and the dog barked, then looked at you like you're crazy. Take advantage of that puzzled silence and say "Quiet", then toss them a treat. This shows them the opposite of bark is quiet, and the action gets rewarded.
Step
4
Practice, practice, practice!
Don't try to interrupt a full stream bark until your buddy has the hang of "Quiet" in a controlled situation. Keep practicing every day – ideally go for two to three sessions a day.
Recommend training method?

The Stop Rewarding Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
1 Vote
Stop Rewarding method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Analyze how you react when your pup barks
Do you give a treat in order to distract the dog from the door when visitors call? STOP! That treat says to your dog, "Well done for barking, here is your reward." Do you shout at your pup? STOP. In dog language, you're making a poor attempt at joining in.
Step
2
Anticipate and avoid
Know what's likely to set your dog off and avoid those situations. For example, if they bark at the street from the living room window, then put a frosted adhesive covering over the lower glass to block their view or keep the curtains pulled when you are out.
Step
3
Act appropriately
If the dog barks, then either ignore them completely (hence removing your attention) or without speaking, put their leash on, lead them to another room and leave them alone. The message being that when they bark, they end up on their own.
Step
4
Train ahead
Teach your companion a command which requires them to take an action other than barking. This could be fetching a ball (Clever, this one, as their mouth is now full) or to go and lie on their mat.
Recommend training method?

The Displacement Activity Method

ribbon-method-1
Least Recommended
2 Votes
Displacement Activity method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Choose a spot
Start by training in a quiet room. Place a mat in a spot away from the window or door where the barking happens.
Step
2
Introduce the command
Throw a treat onto the mat and tell your dog "Go to your mat". Praise them when they go to snaffle up the treat.
Step
3
Teach "stay"
Have them stay on the mat by teaching the "Stay" command. Be consistent and patient.
Step
4
Increase difficulty
Now add in a level of distraction, such as having them in a different room to the mat, then telling them to go there.
Step
5
Add barking
Once they are reliably carrying out this action, trigger a low level of barking and then command them to go to the mat. You can then reward their good behavior and diffuse the barking situation.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Chance
Pug, chihuahua, yorkie, pomeranian, terrier
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Chance
Pug, chihuahua, yorkie, pomeranian, terrier
6 Months

Since the day i brought chance home he has played and lived with JJ a pom/chihuahua thats 6months older. They were best friends until i was puppysitting my grandpuppy a 10 month old chaweenee in heat! And they were still ok with one another with her around until about week 2. Then my pup did the aggressive stance over little JJ and just attacked him! Now he tries to violently attack him and stares him down every time he sees him. And JJ is very playful and so is chance. They would run all threw the house and out the back door and all over the backyard. Now they cant b in the same room!! But we live in the same house and i dont want to have to lock up my dog in the kennel all the time hes to free spirited!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1115 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christina, First, is the female in heat in the house or neighborhood still? If so, that's going to have a major impact on the dogs behavior around each other - dogs can kill each other over a female in heat and food. If the female is still around the fighting is probably going to continue until she is no longer is heat or far enough away they won't smell her even during walks in the same region outside. If she is no longer around, then in a situation like this I recommend hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with aggression and counter conditioning and work on counter conditioning them to each other again. I would also consider neutering if you haven't already. Although it won't completely fix the current behavior - that also needs to be addressed, but it can decrease the aggression and help this not happen to this extent in the future. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Fitz
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Fitz
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years

How to train to sleep in crate at night. He does fine in crate during day. Can I just put him in and jet him bark? What to do don’t want him in bed anymore

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1115 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kerry, First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. This part of the training helps reinforce quiet, but if pup never barks in the crate during the day, like it sounds like may be the case, you can teach Quiet and skip this section. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night quickly as soon as pup understands Quiet a bit. When he cries at night in the crate before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. If you go straight to nights and days like this you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. Expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot the first couple days. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. You can also ignore the barking without correcting. Ignoring at night, with the exception of potty needs, and having daytime treat practice, is how puppies are generally trained. For some adults, especially previously crate trained dogs, ignoring the barking at night for about a week is all that's needed. The barking is likely to last 1-2 hours the first night, and gradually improve as the week goes on. If you can stay consistent and don't have neighbors who will complain, this is a good training option for some. For really persistent dogs, or cases where barking could cause housing issues, correcting is often needed too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Universe
Mixed breed
14 Years
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Question
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Universe
Mixed breed
14 Years

This dog tends to barks when ever she the door opens or the doorbell rings. And doesn’t stop even if we ignore her. She also has the youngest pet Luna who is only 3yrs old to where she tries to put in check for barking but then a fight will break out between them and I have been bitten several times breaking them up or trying to get one of then away from the other. What can we do to get her to stop this aggressive behavior. They all know that I am the Alpha in the pack. Lol?🤯

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1115 Dog owners recommended

Hello Victoria, I recommend desensitizing her to the door and doorbell. Check out the article I have linked below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=6 I would also desensitize her to your other dog barking. Check out this video - with the noise in this case being your other dog barking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIV2lai2RJ4&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=8 To be able to control when your other dog barks, I would teach that dog the Speak and Quiet commands. Speak: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Quiet command - Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark I would work on this training with both dogs on spaced apart back tie leashes so that during practice they can't suddenly lung at the other dog to attack, especially Universe. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oakley
Anatolian Shepherd
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Oakley
Anatolian Shepherd
1 Year

Barks at everything, does not obey…..but very sweet dog, gets along with all dogs and people

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1115 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jay, Check out this video series on barking: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a As well as the Quiet method from this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark In some cases an interrupter is also needed, but that should be combining with teaching the Quiet command and desensitizing also, rewarding the quiet response also and teaching pup what's expected. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marley
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Marley
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years

So protective of me I can’t have people over.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1115 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katheryn, Generally that type of protectiveness is often possessiveness really, which is a form of resource guarding where pup feels that they own you - like they would a bone when they don't want someone else getting near their bone. When that's the case, this type of training often involves a combination of building pup's general respect for you through obedience command practice, having pup earn everything they want by obeying a command from you before you give it, and adding a lot of structure into pup's day, like a 1 hour place command worked up to gradually, pup having to walk in the heel position and pay attention during walks, pup waiting for permission before certain activities, ect... This can also be related to a lack of socialization with others, which requires pup being counter conditioned around new people gradually, with safety measures like a back tie leash or basket muzzle. For this, I recommend working with a training group that has a team of trainers who can rotate working with pup to desensitize pup to lots of different people who know how to do so safely. I would start by desensitizing pup to wearing a basket muzzle, in preparation for training sessions and interactions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw Some aggression training examples from one particular trainer. You will find different trainers will address this differently depending on their methods and your specific dog's needs. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3ElhSrziUvg4FOY4xKou5w Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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