How to Train Your Dog to Not Bark and Whine

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Are you infamous on your road for the unmistakable sound of barking and whining that your dog emits consistently through out the day? Do you try and sit down to enjoy your episode of Judge Judy, only for him to feel the need to bark at everyone that walks past the house? He may also whine whenever he wants food, to go outside, or even just some attention. It may have been cute and endearing to start with, but now it’s nothing short of irritating and it’s also giving you a bad reputation among your neighbors.

It probably makes having friends and family over a challenge too. Nobody wants to enter a house where they are barked at for the first 10 minutes. But dogs are often misunderstood and their barking is usually a defensive or protective sign and the whining is often a case of attention seeking behavior. Tackling barking and whining will bring you some much-deserved peace and quiet!

Defining Tasks

Getting a handle on barking and whining involves first addressing the underlying cause. That may mean making some changes to your dog's  environment and changing your behavior around him too. It will also require obedience commands, enabling you to instruct him to be quiet. Consistency and patience will be key if you want to overcome this rather noisy hurdle. 

Due to the multitude of reasons behind barking and whining, fully rectifying the behavior may take several weeks. It will be quicker to tackle the problem in puppies who are more receptive than their elder counterparts, who have had years to cement their bad habits. But while it may be challenging, it is important to manage if you want a peaceful home and a comfortable environment for friends and family to visit. 

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to get together a number of things. First, you will need food or treats to incentivize and reward him. You will also need a quiet environment, free from distractions. 

If it is your puppy whining, you will need a secure crate to house him in to begin with. You may also want a radio or TV that you can use to help distract the dog from passersby. 

An optimistic, proactive attitude will also be required for fast, effective results. Once you have gathered all the necessities, you can get going on the task at hand. 

The Puppy Whining Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Meet his needs
First, ensure his physical needs are met. It is mostly puppies that whine, but teaching all dogs not to whine is relatively straightforward. When he first whines, make sure it is not because he needs the toilet or because he is too hot or cold. Address these questions first, so you understand your dogs routine and can provide him with these things before he needs to whine.
Step
2
Gentle 'stop'
When he starts whining, gently ask him to ‘stop’. Look at him while you say it, eye contact will help reinforce the point.
Step
3
Firm 'stop'
If he doesn’t stop whining (he probably won’t to start with), say much louder and firmer ‘STOP’. Said firmly enough, this will probably silence him. If it doesn’t, say it again louder. Repeat this process whenever he whines. He will quickly learn to stop whining when you say it gently the first time, as he won’t want to see you get to the shouting stage.
Step
4
Never reward
Never reward him for whining. If he whines, ensure you never reward him with a treat or attention. You would then be teaching him that if he whines, he will get exactly want he wants.
Step
5
Tire him out
He will have less energy to whine and seek attention if he is already tired. So if you can’t walk him more, throw things for him to fetch during the walk, this will quickly tire him out. Also, play with him when he isn’t whining so the attention box is ticked already. A combination of all of these steps will slowly reduce the frequency he whines until you achieve blissful silence in your home.
Recommend training method?

The Defensive Barking Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Understand why he barks
Most dogs bark as a protective sign of their territory. That is why many dogs will bark when people enter their home or walk past it. So look for signs this is the case. Does he run to the window or door to bark when people walk by? Does he go rigid? Does his tail drop between his legs? These are all signs of fear and will explain the barking.
Step
2
Remove the motivation
A quick and easy way to prevent him barking at neighbours or people passing the house is to distract him. Leave the radio on near his bed, or leave a TV on. If he can’t hear people approaching, he simply won’t bark.
Step
3
Physical barrier
Always stand in front of him when people enter the house. If he is ahead of you, he will feel like he is the pack leader and that it’s his job to defend you. So keep him way back when new people enter the house, by acting as physical barrier you will negate his need to defend the home.
Step
4
Reward
Reward him when people do enter the home without him barking. Be sure to go over and praise him after people enter peacefully, plus give him a well-deserved treat. Repeat this reward system whenever he doesn’t bark.
Step
5
Ignore him
If he does bark, ignore him. It is important you don’t give him attention when he does bark. He needs to see that barking won’t have an impact, so also advise guests to ignore him if he acts up. This combined with the rewarding for not barking will slowly drill into him why barking isn’t worth it.
Recommend training method?

The Obedience Commands Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Setting up
Get a treat and take him into a quiet room, away from distractions. This technique is for dogs that bark and whine for attention. You are going to teach him to roll over. This may seem bizarre, but the logic is simple; when he barks or whines, you will get him to perform a trick instead to distract him. Soon, instead of barking and whining, he will realize that performing a trick is the quickest and most effective way to get attention.
Step
2
'Down'
Instruct him to lie down and then hold the treat in front of his nose. Ensure he is fully aware there is a delicious treat just centimeters from his mouth. Then firmly say "roll over".
Step
3
Lead him
Slowly rotate your hand over his head, leading him by their nose as you go. He will follow your hand until he falls over onto his side. You can also gently help him roll over with your hand. As soon as he rolls over, quickly give him a treat and shower him with praise. Practice this trick for 10-15 minutes every day for a week, then slowly reduce the frequency of the treats until he rolls over just from the command.
Step
4
Put into practice
Now as soon as he bark, stand in front of him, instruct him to 'lie down' and then ‘roll over’. Block him from whatever it is he was barking at and have him perform the trick. Then quickly give him a treat and praise him. This promise of food will quickly distract him from whatever it is he was barking at.
Step
5
Consistency
Be consistent. You need to keep a careful eye on him and have him roll over whenever he starts to bark or whine. By simply distracting him every time he gets vocal, he will slowly break the habit.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Gunner
german shepard
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gunner
german shepard
5 Months

None of these tips seem relevant to our problem. We are trying to crate train him and he whines and barks the whole time he is in the crate. We work him with walks and ball/frisbee fetching which sometimes works but not all the time. It is also really bad in the am after we let him out to go to the bathroom.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Larry, It is normal to hear a lot of protesting when you first begin crate training. There are a few things that you can do. First, place his breakfast into a bowl and cover it with water and let it sit out until it turns into mush. When it is very mushy then mix some peanut butter or treat paste into it, and then loosely stuff the mush into a large Kong and freeze the entire thing. You can also stuff several Kongs at once for the week. When you place your puppy into the crate, then put one of these Kongs in there with him. Make sure that it is not stuffed too tightly though or your pup will not be able to get the food out. Stuffing the Kong this way should give your puppy something to do, reward him for being quiet while he chews, and because the Kong is frozen, entertain him for a while. When your puppy is being quiet in the crate, then go over to him and calmly drop a few treats inside and then leave again. If he is barking, then ignore him, and especially do not let him out until he is quiet for at least a second or two. It typically takes puppies time to get used to the crate and a fair amount of barking and whining is normal. It is important to provide him with something to do in the crate, to reward quiet behavior, to give him short opportunities to practice during the day when you can reward his quiet behavior with treats and freedom, and to ignore the barking and whining so that he does not learn to be more persistent because he thinks you will eventually let him out if he keeps it up. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Amina
Shiba Inu mix
3 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Amina
Shiba Inu mix
3 Months

We have been trying to crate train Amina and none of these seem to work. She is fine when we put her in the crate to nap, but anytime we try to leave her alone she whines and barks non stop. We live in an apartment complex and the owner said that if she makes any more annoying noises we might get evicted. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kylee, Since you are being threatened with eviction I suggest using a firmer method that also disciplines the barking. This method tends to work a lot faster. Explain to your landlord that you are starting training and the barking should stop very soon. First, purchase a high quality e-collar with at least thirty stimulation levels and vibration. Look for a high quality brand such as E-collar technologies (mini educator), Dogtra, Garmin, or Sportdog. Pay attention to weight ranges on these when choosing one. High quality e-collars can give much smaller/gentler corrections and are far safer than random unknown brands bought overseas. Have her wear the collar around for a bit to get used to the feel of it. Next, find the correct level of stimulation to use for her training, called her working level. To find this level, wait until she is simply standing around acting boring and not distracted. Without saying anything, push the stimulation button for a second. Watch her to see if she responds. This response might be subtle like scratching, acting like a bug is on her, shaking her head, looking around, moving away from where she is, or something else. She might yelp out of surprise, but if you are using the lowest level and a high quality e-collar a yelp is typically due to surprise. If she seems overly sensitive to the collar you can use the vibration setting instead but vibration tends to be harsher than low stimulation for many dogs. Repeat pushing the button three times at the lowest level and watching for a response. If she does not respond, increase the level by one and watch for a response again while you test that level out three times. Continue increasing the level by one and watching for a response, until you reach a level that she responds too - If the collar you are using has a lot of levels, like the Mini Educators' one hundred levels, then many dogs won't even feel it until around level ten. It all depends on their own sensitivity level, which is why you find each dog's individual level. Check out the video linked below, demonstrating finding the correct level for a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Next, set up a camera to spy on her while she is in her crate. You could use a GoPro with the Live app on your phone, two smart phones or tablets with Skype or Facetime with her end on mute so she won't hear you but you can hear her, a video baby monitor, security camera, or any other camera you have that you could watch her from outside on. Once you have the correct collar stimulation level and she is calm and relaxed again, start your leaving routine, put her into the crate, and go outside. Drive down the block and walk back if she isn't convinced you really left. From outside, watch her on the camera. When she barks or tries to escape from the crate, push the stimulation button on the remote for one second. Repeat the correction every time she barks. This will probably take a few repetitions before she starts to connect the stimulation on the collar with her barking. If it doesn't improve after seven corrections, increase the collar level by one, and again by one if she still doesn't respond. When she pauses barking for four seconds, while she is quiet, go back inside, sprinkle a few tiny treats into her crate without letting her out or talking to her, then leave again. Repeat correcting her when she barks from outside, going inside and sprinkling treats when she is quiet then leaving again; do this for 30 to 45 minutes each session. After about 45 minutes, while she is quiet, go back inside for good. Leave her in the crate and ignore her for ten minutes. Correcting with the e-collar without acknowledging her if she barks at you from the crate. After ten minutes, while she is calm, go to her and let her out of the crate using the method from the article linked below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 You generally want to encourage calmness around the crate - being overly excited, anxious, or worked up can make separation anxiety worse because of the chemicals released into the body. Expect to need to repeat the crate collar training several times for 45 minute sessions for her to realize that the results are always the same and she needs to be calm and quiet in the crate. You can do this more than one time each day to speed up the process, just make sure she has breaks in between each session to unwind. When she is quieter in the crate, then when you leave, give her a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong, to help with boredom and to automatically reward her for staying quiet. To learn how to stuff a kong with her food check out the "Crate Training" method from the article linked below. Freezing a stuffed Kong can also help with puppy teething by giving her something cold to chew. Just be sure not to stuff it too tightly or she might not be able to get the food out at this age. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I sincerely hope that you did not actually go out and purchase a shock collar for training your very young puppy, when there are many, many ways to achieve this training process without fear and/or punishment. The potential fallout from the use of shock collars for training, especially if you are not 100% adept at using them, and with extremely precise timing, especially on a younger dog who is just learning everything about the world, trust, and bonding, is extremely high. Creating fear in your pet weakens its trust in you and can lead to all sorts of future behavior problems.
I cannot believe Wag actually recommends this type of training to novice users/home trainers. If you HAVE to use a shock collar, and only as a last resort, I would advise hiring a professional "traditional" or "balanced" dog trainer for proper instruction with this tool, but I would first advise seeking out a positive reinforcement trainer for a behavior consultation, to provide options for effective, fear-free methods of crate training, focusing on the behaviors you want, rather than those you do not. Fear is not the way to earn genuine respect and trust from our pets ... they look to you for guidance and knowledge, not inexplicable pain and punishment or verbal abuse for things they do not understand. Best of luck with your puppy.

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Question
Cosmo
Australian Shepherd
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cosmo
Australian Shepherd
4 Months

So Cosmo doesn't have a crate, since he came to us pretty well potty trained (not perfect...ive asked another question adressing this, and i appreciate the help). Instead we have one of those small fences that you could shape any way you want and close, so we keep him in this fence in the living room. The thing is that when we keep him in there he wants us to be in there at the same time to keep him company i guess, but I can't always do that since I have tasks and things to do. I also do not want to spoil him. So whenever we leave him alone in here he starts barking really loud, and doesn't stop until we come inside. So what we do is, before we sleep we take him for a 45 minute walk and maybe even jog a little to get him really tired. This helps to reduce the time he barks and whines until he stops and sleeps. I leave in the morning and he tends to always bark after I leave, and he stops when my mom stares at him and yells stop. He kind of starts sulking and lies down. But when I come home and he is barking for my attention I try doing the same, but he doesn't listen to me and continues to bark. I can't give him treats either coz he doesnt start barking, so I am forced to do everything upstairs where he cant see me so hell stop barking. Is there anyway where I can get him to stop barking when Im downstairs and he is in his Dog fence where he can see me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Siddesh, First, teach Cosmo the "Quiet" command by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, purchase something called a Pet Convincer, which can be bought online from places like amazon and Chewy, which is a small can of pressured air with no scent. When he barks at you tell him "Quiet". If he does not stop then, even though he knows what "Quiet" means because you have taught him with the method above, then go over to him, tell him "Ah-Ah!" calmly but firmly and spray his side with a puff of air from the pet convincer, then walk away again. When you are in the same room with him and he is in his doggie den and he is being calm and quiet for an extended period of time, then you can periodically toss him a treat if you with also. By teaching him the "Quiet" command first, when you discipline him with the air puff it is for something he knew she should have done and chose not to, this gives him the ability to avoid punishment by obeying you the first time, making the discipline more gentle and fair. If you cannot get Cosmo to bark enough by triggering barking to teach him "Quiet", then skip that part and go straight to correcting him barking with the Pet Convincer and rewarding him for staying quiet for a while. Remember to look for opportunities in general to reward him for doing the behavior that you want, even if that behavior is simply laying down quietly at normal times. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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