How to Train Your Dog to Not Bark When Playing

Medium
1-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Playing with your dog is one of the most fun moments of his day. He gets to release some of his energy, spend time with his favorite person, and play games that he loves. Sometimes your dog might get over-excited and start barking. While this is most likely because he's having fun, it can be annoying or even considered a nuisance by neighbors. While this barking behavior may be more likely displayed by certain dog breeds like Border Collies or Australian shepherds, it can happen with any dog that gets a little too excited about ball throwing or playing.

It is possible to teach your dog not to bark when playing, but it may take a few steps to make sure he understands that loud noises are not part of playing the game with you. With some patience and good training skills, you can help him learn that barking won't get him what he wants. This is a useful skill that will work just as well in a crowded park as it will in your home. 

Defining Tasks

Barking is a natural behavior and your dog won't understand that it's undesirable for you at first. However, being able to signal your dog to stop barking is important to keeping neighbors, landlords, and other folks at the dog park happy and excited about your dog. Repeated loud barking is a sure way to get on someone's bad side, and it makes playing less fun for you. Some dogs will pick up on this skill faster than others. Herding dogs may have an especially difficult time learning not to bark because they have been bred to use their "voice" to communicate. With extra patience and consistency, they can pick up on the commands and learn to stop barking when you play. With this skill, you can make staying quite a fun part of playtime or even a signal that the game is over.

Getting Started

You won't need very much to get started, and you can begin anywhere you usually play with your dog. Changing a behavior that comes naturally will be difficult at first, so a large dose of patience will be most important. Consistency throughout your training is key. Here are a few props to have on hand when you begin the training. 

  • His favorite throw toy, ball or a stick.
  • Dog treats you can reward him with.
  • A pouch to keep treats available and your hands-free.

Teaching your dog not to bark while playing will be well worth the time it takes to get him to stop. Each dog is different, so read through the three methods below to find the best option for your dog. Pretty soon play time will go back to being fun and engaging for both of you. 

The Quiet Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Teach your dog to bark
This may sound counter-intuitive, but teaching your dog to bark on command will help teach him to stop on command.
Step
2
Mark the bark
To begin, try to get your dog to bark. When he does, say "yes" and give him a treat.
Step
3
Introduce the "bark" command
When he begins to understand what you want, say "bark" after he barks and give him a treat.
Step
4
Test the command
Soon he should be able to bark when you say the word. Test him by asking him to bark and decreasing the number of times you treat him.
Step
5
Wait it out
Don't treat your dog when he barks before you give him the command. If he barks when you aren't asking him, ignore the bark. When he's quiet, say "bark" and give him a treat after he barks. This way he learns that he only gets treats when you ask for the bark.
Step
6
Introduce the 'quiet' command
Once he can bark on command, introduce him to 'quiet.' Ask him to bark and when he does, hold out a treat in your closed fist. As soon as he stops barking to smell, say "quiet" and then open your fist and give him the treat.
Step
7
Practice
Practice asking him to 'bark' and then to be 'quiet' until he starts to understand that when he stops barking he gets the treat. Practice this in different parts of the house, in the park, and in many other situations.
Step
8
Introduce during play
Once he's comfortable, introduce 'quiet' during playtime. When he starts to bark, stop playing and say "quiet." Give him a treat when he does. Soon he should stop barking when you give the command, even when he's excited about playing with you.
Recommend training method?

The Stop Play Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Begin playing with your dog
Start off your training session like any normal play and wait for him to start barking.
Step
2
Stop playing when he barks
As soon as he starts to bark, stop playing.
Step
3
Turn your back on him
Turn your back to face away from him to make sure his barks are not rewarded.
Step
4
Wait three seconds
When he stops barking, wait three seconds and then turn around.
Step
5
Start playing again
Pick up right where you left off until he barks again.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat this process each time he barks when you play, no matter what. With consistency, he will learn that barking is no fun and he should stop.
Recommend training method?

The Last One Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Begin play as normal
This works for dogs who demand you continue playing by barking at you. Begin playing with your dog like normal.
Step
2
Tell him "last one"
When you are ready to be done, say "last one" right as you throw the ball or stick for the last time.
Step
3
Stop playing
Stop playing with your dog and pack up.
Step
4
Ignore any barking
When he starts to bark to get you to play again, ignore him. You can turn your back or begin walking away.
Step
5
Be consistent
When you've said "last one" to your dog, do not throw the ball or stick again when he barks.
Step
6
Make it a habit
When you make this command part of your routine, your dog will eventually learn that "last one" means playtime is over, and he will stop barking. It could take a week or a few months depending on the dog, but once it's a habit for both of you, barking should not be an issue.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Mona
Mixed
10 Weeks
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Question
0 found helpful
Mona
Mixed
10 Weeks

My dog is ten weeks old now and she is full of energy and is in her teething period. Sometimes she gets too excited and will bite me playfully.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hello. Here is information on puppy nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Meg
GSD
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Meg
GSD
1 Year

Pulling on leash and barking

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Meg is at the perfect age to start obedience training. This will help to socialize her with other dogs and people, provide her with exercise, and tire her out somewhat so that she is calmer. You will also learn the skills you need to handle her on walks. Start the obedience training at home before starting classes: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-dog-basic-obedience. As well, Meg will benefit from being taught to heel while on walks. She'll be focussed on you and not pull or bark. This guide has excellent methods to try: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Start with training a few minutes each walk, working up to always heeling when on walks unless it's sniff and pee or poop time. Good luck and enjoy the training - she's a clever breed and will learn quickly!

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Question
Harlow
Belgian Malinois
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Harlow
Belgian Malinois
10 Weeks

She barks all the time (mostly because she's playing or she wants something). When playing, at people, in her crate, at her water bowl, at toys, at leaves, etc. Her other problem is that she'll growl at me if I take a toy away, if I get up and she's sleeping on my lap, and at people she doesn't know. She's a little puppy and I've only had her for two days but she'll grow to be 60lbs or more. I defiantly don't want a dog that will growl or have her possible get more aggressive? Is it aggressive behavior? I met her parents and they were super sweet but untrained. I've been trying to take her out and see new things and trying to correct the barking & growling. She also nips but I feel that's normal puppy behavior, but she will get bigger and I would hate for her to play nip and seriously hurt someone.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexis, The growling with toys and when you get up are a form of aggression - but thankfully its early so you can begin addressing it now. Growling at people is likely due to fear, I highly recommend socializing pup as much as possible - since her breed can be more suspicious and sensitive about new people in general. Work on teaching Out, Off, and Drop It - rewarding pup for obedience with protest with a treat, and using a drag leash on pup to calmly enforce the command and move pup away while you are home to supervise, and make sure the leash doesn't get caught. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It section - practice Drop It often - trading pup a treat or another toy for obedience to build pup's trust with you, so they feel less defensive when you take things in real life. When you need to take something for real, give pup one of their toys instead. Don't mess with pup's food or them while they are eating unless you are rewarding pup with better treats for tolerance - that can cause resource guarding when done wrong. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ Free PDF e-book, AFTER You Get Your Puppy, with great socialization information, that can be downloaded at the link below: www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads The nipping is probably normal puppy mouthing. A puppy class is something I would recommend for the socialization and biting - look for one that has time for off-leash play with other puppies to help with socialization and learning to control her mouth through play. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Leave It and Bite Inhibition methods for the biting: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Check out the article linked below for some general ways to build respect gently over the next year. Practicing training and commands with rewards is also a great way to build trust and respect, and stimulate pup physically and mentally - which are all super important for sensitive, driven, intelligent breeds like Malinois. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If you haven't done so already, I would spend a lot of time researching training specific to malinois and connecting with other malinois owners, such as facebook groups, dog forums, training clubs ect... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Frost
Border Collie
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Frost
Border Collie
1 Year

How do I get my dog to stop barking while playing and also drop his toy without him picking it back up right away?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Frost is a vocal breed who loves to show excitement with his voice. He's young and will most likely grow out of the habit. In the meantime, you can teach him the quiet command. Practice it every day, not just when barking in excitement is an issue. Take a look here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. Use the Quiet Method, and once Frost knows it, you can use it in many situations. It will soon be second nature for Frost to quiet down when he hears the command. Then, you can apply it to playtime and you should not even have to raise your voice. In fact, keeping it at a normal tone will prevent Frost from getting rowdier. As for dropping the toy, try having Frost deliver the toy to your hand. Get him used to that way of playing and you may be able to revert him to dropping it without picking it up: https://wagwalking.com/training/deliver-to-your-hand. Good luck and happy training!

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Question
Larry
kelpie cross Hunterway
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Larry
kelpie cross Hunterway
6 Months

hi so when I am playing basketball my dog barks and jumps all over me and i have tried making him sit but nothing seems to work. he is not aggressive but he just gets extremely excited and wont stop barking. do you have any tricks i can try to stop this behavior

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eliza, I recommend teaching "Jazz Up Settle Down"...It's a bit like red light green light for dogs. First, away from the ball, start playing with pup until they are just a little excited, then suddenly freeze and give a command like Sit. Wait until pup calms down and obeys, even if that takes pup several minutes. After it's been five minutes, if pup hasn't obeyed, give the command again in case they forgot by then. Only use a command pup knows well. Once pup finally obeys, offer a treat that was hidden in your pocket, then tell pup after they eat "Let's Play!" or something similar to re-initiate the game again. Practice this after several days regularly until pup can immediately obey in the middle of play. When pup can obey at that excitement level, then gradually increase the excitement level pup gets to before you give the command overtime. Only increase the excitement level again when pup has gotten to the point where they can immediately obey at the current excitement level. Once pup can handle being really excited and still being able to calm back down, then start introducing the ball into your training, starting with the ball not bouncing, and gradually adding the movement of the ball more and more as pup gets better at this game. Once pup can obey your command quickly, use other commands like Out, Leave It, Down, and Place to direct pup while you play, and reward pup for obeying those commands and holding them - like staying on Place, for gradually longer and longer periods of time during your ball game. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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