How to Stop Your Dog from Barking in Mishawaka, IN
Dogs communicate with their bark. Barking is a good thing for the most part, but if you’re dealing with excessive barking issues like telling them quiet, and they just get louder. Or they spot another dog with their pet parent out for a walk, and they’re still barking when they’ve reached the other end of the block. Even the demanding bark, I want… and I want it now! We learn what each barking tone represents.
I’m happy to see you, hungry, ready to play, need to go out or out now, but what do you do if your dog is an excessive barker? Our dogs respond to our body language as well as our verbal commands. It can be surprising to learn that we’re encouraging the bark instead of teaching the quieter actions we desire. Let’s look at some of the reasons they’re barking and what we as pet parents can do to bring a happy much-needed hush to our life.
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking
Do you know this is one of most dogs’ favorite games! They let out a bark or three, you yell, and they bark again. Usually louder and longer than round one. The game is revving up. Let’s look at this from your dog’s perspective. We’re playing a game of who can bark the loudest and the longest. Imagine being in the wild with wolves or coyotes. From one area, you hear a bark or howl, then off in a different direction a set of responses. Barking is natural for the canine species; our beloved dogs are part of that world. While this is a fun way to get some energy out of the dog, unfortunately, it may be the source of your current headache.
Instead of playing the barking game all the time, teach your dog the word “Quiet.” Instead of yelling STOP, look at your dog with a controlled but assertive (not loud) tone, say “Quiet,” wait for them to stop, even if they’re winding up for the next round. When the bark contains, reward them, give them a treat or an affectionate rub of the head. By doing this consistently, your dog learns the word “Quiet.” When you’re up for the loud game, you can use new terms, even fun new commands!
Dogs bark to let other dogs, animals, and humans know they’ve been spotted; and they’re entering their zone. It’s important to note that ignoring this problem could be allowing your dog to learn aggression. The dog may feel this aggressive behavior is acceptable. Suppose they bark at the mailperson every day, at the neighbors taking their daily walk, children passing by, friends and family coming to visit. How would they interact if they got out?
Consistency and patience are key when teaching your dog to accept the others of their territory. Designate a “Sit and Stay” point. Start by teaching your dog you can walk away, and they can stay. Reward them every time they accomplish doing what you’re asking. Gradually make your way out the door, but don’t ring that doorbell yet. Once again, reward them. You went out and came back in, maybe play an extra outside game with them.
Then pick a time you know when a human crosses the dogs’ territory (the mailperson who comes at 2 pm every day). Use the words “Sit and Stay,” then reward the good behaviors. Remember, this process takes constant reminders and positive patient actions. Over time you may even discover your dog likes being acknowledged by the mailperson, and you can allow them a self-selected “Sit and Stay” point!
Thirst and Hunger
Does the rumble in the tummy or dry feeling on the tongue have your dog sounding off? The actions you take can transform how your dog lets you know they need food or water. Rewarding the behaviors, you don’t want to see encourages the barking problem. How can you change the demand, especially if that’s the way it has always been?
When barking, use the word “Quiet” and once they are quiet, go and do something else for a minute. Taking that moment will help your dog un-associate barking from being fed or watered. Before you fill a bowl (tap on it, move it around, rattle it), make noise on the bowl. By taking this action repeatedly, your dog can pick up the habit of nosing or pawing their bowl.
In other words, they associate making noise with the bowl to receive food and water. Give big rewards (hugs, full body rubs, favorite treats) when they imitate this action.
Time For a Dog Walk
The dog dishes are full, no one’s at the door, you’ve even let them out still they come running back loudly letting you know they want something. It must be time to burn off some energy. Like humans, dogs like structure, including playing, walking and running.
So how do you get them to tell you they’re ready without yelling at you? Dogs understand your body language better than they understand verbal commands. So when they’re barking, it’s time for a walk; use the “Quiet” control, do something else (fill your water bottle) for a moment, then go by where you keep their leash. They know this, so there may be a moment of excitement during retraining.
Once they’re calm, dance your feet and say the word “walk.” Over time the bark will lessen, and the foot dance will tell you they are ready.
A lonely dog can be loud, and your neighbors will let you know. First, we have to look at what may be causing your dog’s feeling of loneliness. Does your dog spend your gone time outside? They might be less verbal if they spent that time inside, primarily if they are used to being indoors with you. Think about what the house is like when you are home verses out.
What kind of consistent noise does the house have? Is the television on? A radio going? Are there kids around for more stimulation? Do you have a cat attempting to boss your dog around? Are you suddenly making a drastic change (work restrictions lifted or changing schedules)? Looking at life as a pet parent is easy; however, sometimes, you need to look at the world from a pet’s perspective.
So, If your dog is used to the noise of the house and there’s a sudden shift to silence where they find themselves alone, they just might have something to say about it. Try leaving a television or radio on just for them. It could be the key to soothing them.
Sudden changes can be just as hard on dogs as humans. An old adage “a tired dog is a quiet dog,” so taking the time for an extra walk or playing one of their favorite games before you leave could turn down the volume while you’re out. One other thing you could do is designate a toy they enjoy playing with alone as one they only get to have when you are gone.
Dog Continues to Bark at Nothing
What if you’re doing EVERYTHING? Barking is still a problem. You’ve read the books, followed the excellent advice. Still your dog gives you those I’m in charge eyes and continues to bark? You’ve watched the videos carefully examining each frame, determined to find what they are using as a magic wand to halt the bark?
I’m happy to tell you right now your dog isn’t a lost cause. There are still options available. If the barking when they are home alone is the problem, it could be as simple as hiring a dog walker. Some dogs need to be part of a pack to learn better behaviors. Like humans, what their peers are doing can influence what they will do.
Most doggie daycares offer a training program or have a structure in place that influences the behaviors of the dogs. So sending your dog to a place like this two or three times a week can create the changes you desire. However, I will tell you you need to take a moment and learn what commands they are using. You can sign up for training classes.
Even though they tend to cost a bit more, the results are priceless. If you decide to take this route, one piece of advice is that you have to acknowledge that you and your dog are there to learn. Having a clear understanding of the commands how to use them effectively is life-changing for both you and your dog.
There are reasons a dog barks that require your veterinarian’s professional attention. Some dogs will bark obsessively if they have pain. While other dogs experience high anxiety, they can only express this through constant barking. And one other more unique reason a dog seems to bark with no rhyme or reason is dog dementia. These few reasons your dog could have barking problems are good reasons to always keep your vet in the loop of your pet’s life.
The fact is our dog’s bark. In fact, dogs love to bark because it stimulates them. Before you can hush the bark, you must know why they are barking. Your dogs also have to recognize you as their leader. If your dog feels like they are being rewarded or getting attention for their poor behaviors, they will continue barking. So, always remember to reward, reward, reward ONLY the good (ones you want to see) behavior