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Studies show that humans who own a dog are more likely to laugh than those who don’t. These folks are also likely to experience more feelings of contentedness and well-being, therefore giving them less anxiety when interacting with other humans. When owning a dog, you experience an extremely loyal bond. Dog owners are more compelled to exercise, as it benefits both them and their pet with a fitter body and more consistent sleep schedule.
The complaints about dogs on the internet and beyond are few and far between. Dogs are among the sweetest, kindest, most loving of creatures known to man. It seems there is only one characteristic that is widely known and accepted as seemingly the “most annoying”, inconvenient, and disruptive trait: BARKING. If people could change one thing, they would minimize dog barking. The plethora of reasons that a dog could choose to bark is huge…loneliness, fear, hunger, separation, alerting their owner to something, need to do their business, lack of attention, realizing there is a visitor approaching. The list is endless!
Though it may be impossible to pinpoint exactly why a dog has chosen to bark, it is completely reasonable to learn how to stop a dog from barking! Here, we have compiled the three most widely known, accepted, and successful ways in which to stop dog barking. To stop a barking dog can seem like a daunting task at first, but with these simple steps you can be on your way to full bark control.
Step One: Do NOT Join In
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Many dog owners are not educated on the reasons that their dogs choose to bark. These dog lovers do not understand that when they yell at their pet to stop barking, they are just encouraging the behavior more. When you scold your dog to try to stop the barking, all the animal hears is you contributing to the noise. By doing this, you are signaling to your pet that it is okay to be loud and disruptive in this manner, especially if they are barking for no apparent reason.
This is not an appropriate reaction and it can become worse over time if dogs are not taught that barking without purpose is not acceptable. The biggest favor you can do for yourself and your dog in this situation is simply to ignore them. Even if you do not know the reason for the barking, your dog will follow your example. When they realize that you are not affected by the barking or by whatever caused the barking, your pup might be less likely to throw a barking tantrum.
Not reacting shows the dog that you are calm, cool, and collected, and your dog will follow your example and not take part in continuing the behavior. Regardless of whether or not you are aware of what stimulated the barking, if you act unaffected it will start to desensitize your dog to the stimulus.
If a dog is barking for the same reason all the time and you choose to do nothing about it, they will continue to raise a ruckus over the same thing. This happens because they are not learning or experiencing anything different about the stimulus. For example, if your dog is one to jump up on the windowsill and bark at traffic coming by, you can modify this behavior by closing the blinds or curtains. Or you can start off by blocking the window so that your dog can’t see that there is someone passing by. Although your dog might still hear traffic, visual triggers are much more likely to cause a reaction than hearing them.
If your dog is barking simply from a lack of attention, don’t hesitate to give him some extra love and attention. A happy dog equals a happy owner, after all!
Step Two: The Quiet Command
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Dogs are some of the most intelligent creatures known to man, as they are capable of learning commands and implementing them when they are learned. Once they are learned, they know them for life! Sit, stay, come, shake, roll over…a few of the most common and widely used commands. However, many people often forget that they are able to teach their dogs another skill on command: speak!
In turn, another manner in which to get your dog to stop barking is to start by teaching them the speak command. Once they know how to speak, they will most likely learn and understand the quiet command. When a dog sees barking as a learned behavior, they will not feel the need to bark outside of when they are instructed to. When you teach your dog these commands, you teach them when to be quiet and when not to be. When you ask your dog to speak, they will know that it is the appropriate time to make some noise.
Barking is not only learned, but also instinctual. When teaching your dog the speak command, it does not limit them to just barking when you tell them to. Just like the popular saying “boys will be boys” explains the behavior of young men, the phrase “dogs will be dogs” explains barking. Dogs will still bark because it is in their nature, but by teaching them to speak on command, you in turn have taught them the quiet command. Knowing when to bark and when not to bark will minimize barking in every capacity.
When a dog realizes that a behavior is inappropriate, they will be more likely to modify or stop the action. These commands should be taught in a quiet, calm, distraction-free environment where the dog will fully understand the meaning of the commands. Teaching your dog to speak can in turn be the best way to teach him to be quiet.
NOTE: Some people might tell you that a bark collar would solve all of your bark issues, but this is not necessarily true. When you understand why your dog is barking and that you have the potential to stop or modify it, this form of verbal expression for a dog can become manageable and controllable. A bark collar will NOT address the usual underlying issues of boredom, loneliness, aggression, or fear. When you put a bark collar on your dog, you punish him before truly understanding what you could do to prevent or help the behavior!!!
Step Three: Keep Your Dog Tired
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It may seem too good to be true, but believe us, it’s not! When you exercise, entertain, and interact with your dog enough or even more than enough, you prevent them from having extra energy that they could use to raise a ruckus, bark unnecessarily, or make a mess and be disruptive. When a dog is worn out in a good way, they are more likely to be content to eat and sleep, with small playtimes in between. They don’t have all of the pent up energy that they would have if they were not exercised properly, and they are not stressed about finding a way to release it appropriately. At times, dogs don’t know how to properly express their excitement or distress, and it can potentially come out in a way that to them seems productive, but to us is disruptive. When your pooch is appropriately tired, they will come to you for food, for a bathroom break, and for snuggles and love. This is not to say that they won’t bark the occasional fearful or lonely or alert bark, but this for sure minimizes barking that is inconvenient and unnecessary. Interactive exercise for dogs is beneficial both mentally and physically. A tired dog is more calm, and thus less likely to be upset by outside stimuli. They are less likely to become bored or frustrated, and more content to keep to themselves, eat, take a nap, or play and rest calmly with their owners. If you keep your dog tired, it will take less time for them to wind down when it is time for you to go to bed, and this equals less time waiting up for them to go to sleep, which will benefit you both. When you engage in physical activity with your dog, you use the energy that they could be using to engage in bad behavior. This eliminates the chance that your dog would become overly mischievous and get into things that don’t concern them and that would disrupt or delay you. This will lead to an all around healthier relationship between you and your pooch, as they are well-behaved, and you are well-mannered and both have accommodated the others’ wants and needs.
There you have it! The three simplest and most effective ways for you to get your dog to stop barking. How to train your dog to optimize bark control is important and can minimize stress and optimize healthy and fun interaction. Are there any good methods that we missed that you know would also work well in the pursuit to tame the bark? Let us know about them, and how these methods work for you in the comments!