How to Stop Your Dog From Barking

A yellow lab mix barking up at someone sitting on the couch.

We often hear from frustrated pet parents that they want their dog to stop barking. And while barking can definitely be a nuisance, patience and gentle guidance can reduce your dog’s barking back to an appropriate level.

How Not to Train Your Dog

For many pet parents, the knee-jerk reaction to a barking dog is to shout No! or Quiet! But when you yell at your dog for barking, they just think you’re barking with them! Instead of yelling, we suggest redirecting your dog’s energy and attention to stop the barking.

The Right Way to Stop Dog Barking

How you’ll stop your dog from barking entirely depends on why they’re barking. The reason usually falls in one of these three categories:

  • Excitement. Not all barking means your dog is upset. Sometimes, they’re just excited! Your dog may be barking because they’re excited about something they see outside (like another dog), eager to play, or just happy. If this is the case, redirect your dog’s energy by offering their favorite toy. They’ll eventually learn to show excitement through play instead of barking.
  • Alarm. We never want to train our dog not to ever bark, because sometimes dogs bark to alert us. This could be to something we also notice, like a knock on the door. But it may also be to something we can’t see, like a particular scent or sound. When your dog barks to alert you of something, reward them with a treat and say ‘thank you’ after the first bark. After that, ignore them. Over time, your dog will learn that one alarm bark is okay but that anything after is unnecessary.
  • Fear. Often, fearful dogs bark at whatever is scaring them. It’s their way of telling the scary thing, “Stay away!” If your dog is barking out of fear, work with them slowly to show them that whatever they’re barking at – be it the vacuum, a neighbor on a bicycle, or thunder – isn’t anything to be afraid of.

If you’re still struggling with excessive barking, give our training department a call for a free evaluation. They’ll get to know your dog, troubleshoot any training challenges you’re having, and develop a plan for you and your pet. Just call (636)537-2322 or click here to get started.

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