Barking is one of the ways dogs communicate and is perfectly normal canine behavior.
However, when a dog barks too much or too often, difficult situations can develop; especially with your neighbors.
To tackle problem barking, you must first figure out why your dog is barking so much in the first place.
Once you’ve understood why it’s happening, you will be able to resolve the issue and make an unhappy situation right again.
It is important to determine what triggers your dog’s barking behavior so that you can put a plan in place to cut down the noise they make.
It’s natural for your dog to bark from time to time, some dogs bark more than others, and this can largely depend on their breed.
Below are the most common situations that can cause a dog to bark excessively, followed by simple steps you can put in place to reduce your dog’s barking.
Table of Contents
1. A knock at the door
If your dog barks every time there is a knock at your door, they will usually be barking in alarm at the new and sudden sound.
For example, if they see a visitor walking up to your drive, they ‘alarm bark’ to let you know something is about to happen. Dogs may also alarm bark when the phone rings.
To take their mind off the situation at hand, try distracting them by giving them a verbal cue to bring a toy, or go to bed.
By asking them to go to bed, you will also remove them from the situation which means you can get on with answering the door or collecting the mail.
Remember to reward good behavior with a treat as this will encourage them to it again next time you ask.
2. Barking at cats or birds in the yard
If your dog barks at cats or birds in your yard, teach them a reliable recall that rewards them for turning away from the thing that triggers their barking and coming to you instead.
As you have very little control over this situation, you will need to apply a method that gives you a way to manage it.
If your dog is rewarded with a treat when they come to you instead of barking at a bird or cat, they will pay more attention to you than anything else, and even if they do start barking at a bird or a cat, they are much more likely to return to you when you call them, knowing a treat is in store.
3. Barking at anyone that walks past the house
If your dog likes to sit at the window and bark at everyone that walks by, simply block access to the place they like to sit, and instead set up an alternative, comfortable spot for them to sit away from the window.
If your dog and barks at passersby when they are in your yard, make use of recall commands and praise your pet for returning to you rather than barking.
If you can’t supervise your dog in the yard, then don’t leave them there on their own without something to distract them, such as treats hidden in the ground for them to dig up, or their favorite toy.
4. Home alone
As dogs are social animals that like to live in groups, they can easily become upset when they are left alone for too long.
5. Barking for attention
Many owners verbally respond to their dog barking without even realizing it.
Raising your voice, shouting, or telling your dog off for barking, are all forms of attention and by doing so you are inadvertently rewarding your dog by giving them the attention they are asking for.
Instead, ignore the barking and wait until your dog stops. If simply waiting silently doesn’t work, calmly ask them to “sit” or “lie down”.
Once they are calm and have stopped barking, praise them with lots of love and a few treats.
6. Barking out of boredom
A lot of dogs bark because there is little else to do. If your dog has too much free time in their day, try to get them more exercise.
This could be an extra walk or spending some time in your yard.
You can also fill their time with training practice, and toys and games.
7. Dogs that bark at other dogs
Dogs that bark at other dogs will only do so for two reasons.
Firstly, they want to get close to the other dog, or secondly, because they are scared of the other dog.
Either way, this kind of behavior can make walking your dog unpleasant and is likely to become worse over time.
The most suitable way to tackle this situation is to seek help from a dog behavioral professional.
My dog still won’t stop barking!
If you have followed the above advice and are still struggling to figure out why your dog is barking, then please don’t panic.
Dogs may bark for other reasons that are not as straightforward, and qualified pet behaviorists will be able to help you.
Ask your vet for information local dog behaviorists who can help you and your dog.
The noise from constant barking, and the frustration of being unable to solve the problem, can be upsetting and annoying but remember never to take negative feelings out on your dog.
Punishing your pet might temporarily suppress their behavior but it will not solve the cause and can lead to your dog losing love and trust in you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stop nuisance barking?
Dogs are wonderful pets, but as any dog-owner knows, their barking can quickly become a nuisance. Barking dogs can upset neighbors, prevent you from getting on with things, and simply just be a pain. But, it is often difficult to prevent your dog from barking.
The best way to stop nuisance barking is to train your dog out of it. Dogs love attention, and they love being trained, so as long as you persist with this, it shouldn’t be too difficult to train your dog out of barking. All you need is a firm voice and some treats.
When your dog begins barking, respond with a strong, firm, and loud “Quiet”. Remain calm and show your authority. Wait until your dog actually stops barking in response to your command and give them some praise.
Only when you are sure that they aren’t going to bark again, give them a treat. Continue this, and over time your dog should learn not to bark.
Are bark collars cruel?
Yes, bark collars are cruel. It has been agreed that any form of training that involves using pain/discomfort to train your dog is inhumane and cruel.
Bark collars give off a shock that causes your dog discomfort whenever they bark, and because of this, some people think that they are actually a form of animal cruelty.
For a small amount of time, bark collars were seen as good. But, the negatives of these training tools quickly became apparent. Even if your dog is being a nuisance, you do not want to hurt them, and this is what these collars do.
The other issue with bark collars is that they do not deal with the barking, they simply shock your dog into submission. So, they will not be learning that barking is bad, they will simply learn not to bark because when they do, they get hurt. So, yes, bark collars could be seen as cruel.
Is there an app to make dogs stop barking?
As apps have become a lot more popular, a lot of developers have created apps that can help you train your dog to stop barking. These apps are all very different from one another, so you have plenty of options to choose from if you want an app to help train your dog.
One of the most popular is ‘Anti Dog Whistle’. This is an app that produces an ultrasonic sound, which dogs don’t like. As humans, we are unable to hear this sound, but dogs can, and they really do not like it.
This app is great if you have a dog that doesn’t seem to be responding to your commands to be “Quiet” as they will always be able to hear this sound. But, this is just one of the many apps that exist to stop dogs from barking.
What is the best dog barking deterrent?
There are so many dog barking deterrents to choose from that it makes it difficult to definitively say which is the best. Although most people think they are cruel, some people like bark collars and find them the most effective option. It all comes down to personal preference.
In our opinion, one of the best dog barking deterrents will always be training. If you are firm in stopping your dog from barking from when they are a very young puppy, they should learn quickly and by the time they reach adulthood they won’t bark. It is a tedious process, but it is by far the most effective.
Alternatively, using an app or whistle to help you is probably the best way to stop your dog from barking if they are not listening to you. It all depends on your dog and their personality.
Do ultrasonic dog barking deterrents really work?
Yes, ultrasonic dog barking deterrents do work. However, they should never be the first option that you choose when training your dog to stop barking. Then, when you do use them to stop your dog from barking, they should only be used to prevent excessive barking.
Some people use ultrasonic options to prevent their dog from barking at all. But this is a big mistake. If you use ultrasonic barking deterrents to prevent the smallest of barks, then you will end up doing more harm than good to your dog.
So, yes, ultrasonic barking deterrents do work. But, they should only be used when your dog is excessively barking, and as a last resort when the other training options have failed.
Do vibration bark collars work?
Yes, vibration bark collars do work. Some people are still on the fence regarding whether this style of collar is humane or not. But, when you compare them to traditional electric shock collars, they are a lot more accepted by society.
Vibration bark collars are great for training dogs that don’t listen to stop barking. Training with simple commands and rewards is effective, but it takes a long time and is very tedious. Even then, some dogs simply will not listen to the commands.
So, if your dog is stubborn and struggles to learn commands, you might find that a vibration bark collar is a better choice. These collars release a small vibration when your dog barks.
This vibration will not hurt your dog, but it will train them to understand that barking is wrong. Eventually, your dog will then learn that they shouldn’t bark unnecessarily.