How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking

Medium
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

There's nothing guaranteed to annoy the neighbors more than a constantly barking dog. And they're not alone – after all, you and your family have to deal with the constant sudden outbursts of noise, too. A dog that barks at the drop of the hat is a noisy nuisance. Whether it's yapping or deep, throaty woofs, a dog that doesn't know how to be quiet could get you in trouble with the landlord if you are a renter, or simply destroy the peace of your home.

When your pup begins a tulmultuous tirade of barking, the chances are you shout at the dog to be quiet. Unfortunately, this is the wrong thing to do. Your attention accidentally rewards the noise, and your furry companion may even interpret your shouts as an inept attempt at barking...with the result they get more excited and the noise level rises.

How to stop your dog from barking? Let's learn how to teach the sound of silence.

Defining Tasks

How do you teach a dog to 'not do' something, especially when giving them attention risks rewarding the undesirable action? Simple! You ignore the bad behavior and praise the good. OK, so it's not that simple, but the idea is to reward 'silence' rather than barking. To stop barking, teach the "Quiet" command. The aim is to have your best buddy understand the word "Quiet" and realize that they are rewarded when silent.

Be aware that barking can be triggered for a whole variety of reasons, from boredom to protecting territory. Your dog may feel they are not getting the attention they want or may like to bark excessively as a way of saying hello. As well as teaching the "Quiet" command, be sure to address underlying issues by providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. A content dog is a happy one, leading to more rest and less need to jump at every sound. Remember, some breeds are more prone to barking than others as well.

How quickly your dog learns the command, depends on how quick they are to learn, how consistently you apply the rules, and how ingrained their barking habit is. Truly, this is a case of prevention is better than cure, and for puppies, it's great to follow the method of not rewarding barking so they don't develop a barking habit in the first instance.

Getting Started

You will need:

  • Super scrumptious, utterly irresistible treats
  • Patience

It's also helpful to minimize the opportunities for your dog to bark while you are re-educating them. This can be as simple as blocking the view from a particular window, so they can't see people in the street, or putting your dog in a back room when visitors call at the front door.

Above all, be prepared to be patient. Barking is a rewarding activity in itself, so it's going to take a while to break the habit. And also know that training will go so much better if all family members know and apply the same rules.

The Displacement Activity Method

Effective
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Displacement Activity method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Choose a spot
Start by training in a quiet room. Place a mat in a spot away from the window or door where the barking happens.
Step
2
Introduce the command
Throw a treat onto the mat and tell your dog "Go to your mat". Praise them when they go to snaffle up the treat.
Step
3
Teach "stay"
Have them stay on the mat by teaching the "Stay" command. Be consistent and patient.
Step
4
Increase difficulty
Now add in a level of distraction, such as having them in a different room to the mat, then telling them to go there.
Step
5
Add barking
Once they are reliably carrying out this action, trigger a low level of barking and then command them to go to the mat. You can then reward their good behavior and diffuse the barking situation.
Recommend training method?

The "Quiet" Command Method

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"Quiet" Command method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Put barking on cue
Yes, that's right. Get your dog to bark. You might do this by knocking on a wall so they make an experimental 'Woof'.
Step
2
Label this as "Bark"
At the same time they woof, say the command "Bark" and praise them with a pleasing voice.
Step
3
Now label the silence as "Quiet"
You knocked on a wall or the floor and the dog barked, then looked at you like you're crazy. Take advantage of that puzzled silence and say "Quiet", then toss them a treat. This shows them the opposite of bark is quiet, and the action gets rewarded.
Step
4
Practice, practice, practice!
Don't try to interrupt a full stream bark until your buddy has the hang of "Quiet" in a controlled situation. Keep practicing every day – ideally go for two to three sessions a day.
Recommend training method?

The Stop Rewarding Method

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0 Votes
Stop Rewarding method for Stop Barking
Step
1
Analyze how you react when your pup barks
Do you give a treat in order to distract the dog from the door when visitors call? STOP! That treat says to your dog, "Well done for barking, here is your reward." Do you shout at your pup? STOP. In dog language, you're making a poor attempt at joining in.
Step
2
Anticipate and avoid
Know what's likely to set your dog off and avoid those situations. For example, if they bark at the street from the living room window, then put a frosted adhesive covering over the lower glass to block their view or keep the curtains pulled when you are out.
Step
3
Act appropriately
If the dog barks, then either ignore them completely (hence removing your attention) or without speaking, put their leash on, lead them to another room and leave them alone. The message being that when they bark, they end up on their own.
Step
4
Train ahead
Teach your companion a command which requires them to take an action other than barking. This could be fetching a ball (Clever, this one, as their mouth is now full) or to go and lie on their mat.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bentley
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years
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Question
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Bentley
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years

As a puppy up until 3, he didn’t bark very much. I could take him walking and everything with very limited barking. He’s always barked at other animals though (dogs, squirrels, etc). For the last few years he barks at EVERYTHING. Strangers even family members who come in the house. He’s very aggressive towards mailmen or delivery people. He barks at every car when we walk. I don’t know how to stop him or what triggered this. Can you help me out?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taylor, it sounds like Bentley might be barking because he is afraid and suspicious of things in his surroundings. I would work on teaching Bentley the Quiet command, instructions can be found in the article: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking . I would also work on Counter Conditioning Bentley to things in his surrounding to address his fear. First teach him the Quiet command and practice somewhere without distractions. Once he knows the Quiet command, then take him to places where he can see or hear some thing that typically would cause him to bark. Stay far enough away from that thing though for Bentley to still be able to focus on you and to remain calm enough to receive a treat or a toy from you. Practicing giving him the quiet command at that location whenever you see or hear the thing he dislikes. If he remains quiet when told or when he quiets back down after barking, then praise him and give him a small treat that he loves or a favorite toy. You can even toss a ball to him or let him tug on a toy with you for a second, as a reward, if he responds better to play than food. Practice doing this until he no longer seems to be bothered by the thing anymore, but instead seems happy and relaxed at that distance from it. Once he is completely happy and relaxed, then decrease the distance between you and the thing that triggers the barking. Repeat the training until he can remain quiet and calm at that distance too, then continue repeating the exercise at gradually closer and closer distances to the barking trigger. Once he can be around that trigger and remain calm, begin the exercise all over again with his other triggers, one at a time. Gradually decreasing the distance like you did with the first trigger, until he can remain happy and calm. It is important to both build his quiet command and to pair the presence of the trigger with something positive and fun like treats or toys. Pairing the barking triggers with something fun will help him to overcome his fear and suspicion of them, which will help solve the potential root cause of the barking. Practicing the quiet command will help him to break his habit of barking, and will give him something different to do instead. This process may take time, so be patient and do not give up. It took him a long time to learn how to bark that much, so expect him to need time to learn how to behave differently. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
malibu
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6 Years
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Question
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malibu
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6 Years

i had to have new windows fitted and the dog barked non stop for the 6 or so hours the workmen were here she does not respond to treats and totally ignores us she behaves like this anytime anyone comes to the door until they leave, she was rescued at 5 weeks (we were told she was 11 weeks) and was very ill for a few months and by then refused to listen to be trained, had 1 prof trainer spent 15 mins and left saying she was untrainable also will not walk on lead without pulling, she tore my chest muscles with pulling

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jacqui, The barking sounds like it may stem from a lack of socialization given her history of being sick and isolated from strangers while she was a puppy. If this is the case, then both the lack of socialization and the lack of obedience need to be addressed. I would suggest for the socialization, to work on exposing her to different, new people from a distance, and at a location that she does not feel that she has to defend. Having people come to her home to work on the training at first might make the training more difficult for her if she is territorial, so a neutral place might be more successful. Is she interested in toys, games such as tug of war, or retrieving tennis balls? You can use something called drive train to motivate some dogs that do not respond to treats. Many military and police force dogs are trained this way. When the dog sees the person at a distance close enough to get her attention but far enough for her to still remain calm, you can reward the calm behavior by tossing her a tennis ball to catch in her mouth, or letting her tug on a rope for a second, or handing her a favorite toy to play with for a second. As she reacts less and less to people, you can decrease the distance you are from people gradually, until she is alright with all people who are out in public,. When she reaches that point you can find volunteers, typically friends or family, to come to your home, and practice having the person come to your door. Reward Malibu as soon as she calms down, and repeating the exercise until the person's entrance becomes so boring that she remains calm the entire time they are enter your home. You may have to have the person enter and leave several times before they become boring enough that she will give you even a second of calmness that you can reward. At first all you are looking for is a second of calmness. Once you reward that second she should gradually begin to realize that it was the calm behavior that got her what she wanted and she will be more likely to offer it again. As she learns all this, the amount of time that she is calm should very gradually increase. Once she can handle that person, have a different, new person repeat the process all over again. It will take several people doing this for her to learn to trust people more in general, and not just that specific person coming to your home. If she has ever bitten someone or shown signs of attacking someone, then I would hire someone with experience in dealing with aggressive dogs who does not depend only on treats for their training, and I would also practice the training with Malibu wearing a basket muzzle when possible. For the obedience, I would begin to do what is called "No free lunch". It is a practice where you control all of the dog's life rewards such as food, walks, affection, toys, and anything else that your dog enjoys. You require your dog to work to receive these things. The work can be as simple as having your dog sit, look at you, lay down, or generally do anything that it understands when asked. This practice can help build a foundation of respect, needed for more specific bark and heel training. I would also seek a second opinion from another trainer who uses different methods of training than the one you hired before.There are many different types of trainers out there, who have learned different methods and have different experiences from each other. What seems impossible to one trainer, might be workable for another. It could be that your dog's issues are simply beyond the skill level of the previous trainer. Look for someone who has experience in dealing with reactive dogs. There are positive reinforcement only trainers, who often utilize treats heavily, balanced trainers who combine methods, dominance theory trainers, clicker trainers, science based trainers, and many trainers with experience in multiple forms of training. A trainer with varied experience, who depends more on drive type rewards, with experience working with reactive dogs might be able to help you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Geller
Terrier mix
8 Months
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Question
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Geller
Terrier mix
8 Months

When I try to bring her to my son's baseball and other outdoor activities she barks, and pulls on her leash and won't sit still! When I give her a chewy treat it keeps her calm and quiet for the 15 minutes it takes to eat it, but once it's gone she's loud and crazy. Also, if there is another dog at the park than her behavior is even worse. I'd like to continue to take her so she doesn't have to sit home in the kennel but she's so poorly behaved in public that I can't stand take her! Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andriana, It sounds like Geller needs to move onto Intermediate Obedience and simply practice doing her commands in the presence of distractions. In Basic Obedience, whether taught at home or in a class, a dog learns the meaning of various commands and how to perform those commands in a calm location. That is typically all they learn though. In order for a dog to perform those commands in other locations while distractions are present, they need to have Intermediate Obedience skills. You need to spend time taking her places when you can focus on training her and work on her commands with her. Start by taking her to places with slight distractions, and as she improves, gradually take her to more and more distracting locations .Other dogs and baseball games are large distractions that need to be worked up to. You can also enroll her in an Intermediate Obedience Class and work on her obedience around distractions there. All of this applies to the barking as well. Teach her the "Quiet" command at home where there are few distractions first. Once she has mastered that, then practice it around distractions that she tends to bark at. Choose mild distractions that are easy to get her attention away from and back onto you, at first. As she improves, then work on her performing the Quiet command around harder distractions like dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rocky
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year
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Question
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Rocky
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year

My dog barks at everything when someone comes to the house , knocks or even slams the door from outside. When we have someone over he won't stop barking until they leave. I need help, I got a letter from the city for his barking.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, I do not always recommend this because there are slower ways to deal with barking, but since you have gotten a letter and the barking is so severe, I highly suggest purchasing a high quality static/stimulation bark collar. Do not use the citronella spray ones because the scent lingers long past when the barking stops, making the correction unfair and confusing. Check out brands like PetSafe, dogtra, Garmin, and e-collar technologies. I do not know how much your dog weighs so I cannot recommend a specific one. Do your research, and make sure the collar you choose gets good reviews and will accommodate his small size. When he does not bark at something that he normally would bark at, praise him calmly but genuinely and offer him several treats. Be sure to reward his quiet behavior. The training will be far more effective with rewards. Also, it will teach him that the thing that he was barking at is not the reason for the correction but his barking is causing the correction. That is an important lesson for him to learn to help him long term and to keep his confidence level at a good place. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Benji
Chorkie
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Benji
Chorkie
8 Months

So my dog barks at random people some family members and ect. And it’s really difficult for us to calm him down he tries to get aggressive and we carry him and try to cal him down but he bites when we carry him and won’t quit barking until the person will go away I really need the help !!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Melany, It sounds like he needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have him work for everything he gets for a while by having him perform a command first. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, look at you before you take him outside, ect.. If he nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, make him leave the room. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A The trainer above also has a ton of other videos about fear aggression. Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog also has great videos, such as the one below: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/good-dog-transformations/the-good-dog-minute-111913-kellan-nervous-fear-aggression-case-comes-for-rehab/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Teddy
Maltese
25 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Teddy
Maltese
25 Weeks

My dog, when he barks I say “ quiet “ or “ no” and he just keeps barking back. We got him neutered a few weeks ago, hoping it would stop but I guess not. What do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, First, have you spent the time teaching him what Quiet means? If not, then check out the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, I suggest working on desensitizing him to the things he is barking at. Pay attention to what triggers him and make a list, then check out the videos linked below for how to desensitize him to the things he is barking at most often. Video 1: https://youtu.be/Jp_l9C1yT1g Video 2: https://youtu.be/X5BjvNScFPs Video 3: https://youtu.be/DxPrNnulp5s Third, once he understands what Quiet means, if he continues to bark even though you told him Quiet, then you need to use an interrupter to snap him out of it. I suggest spraying a small puff of unscented air at his side using a Pet Convincer (NOT at his face) while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then reward when he stays quiet for at least five minutes. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Teddy
Maltese
25 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Teddy
Maltese
25 Weeks

My Maltese just randomly starts barking at everything, and everyone even if they walk from another part of the house. I tell him to be quiet and he just keeps excessively barking. What should I do? I don’t want to use a barking collar on him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, Check out the videos linked below. It sounds like he needs to be desensitized to noises around your home. Video 1: https://youtu.be/Jp_l9C1yT1g Video 2: https://youtu.be/X5BjvNScFPs Video 3: https://youtu.be/DxPrNnulp5s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mya
Terri-Pekapoo
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mya
Terri-Pekapoo
8 Years

Mya has started barking every time we go to open the front door. We do not use that door unless someone is dropping off or visiting. Even if I go to grab the mail, as soon as she hears the click of the lock she starts up. I've tried to distract her from it and teach her to go to her bed when I open the door but she does not listen anymore. She is also starting to bark at everyone when she comes into my work. She has been coming in for a year and has just recently started this. She even barks at people she knows when she hears the door open. She knows the command "Quiet" but is no longer listening to it. I used to be able to get her to stop with saying the command but not anymore. I am unsure what else to do to make it stop.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
459 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicole, Check out the videos i have linked below on how to desensitize: Barking at door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Barking at strangers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=11 If there is aggression, check out this video - notice the use of correction during aggressive outbursts, rewards while calm (tossing treats not reaching toward), and safety measures to keep people from being bitten. This needs to be done with a ton of different people - recruit people you know that your dog doesn't know to pretend to be strangers in a variety of locations. If the issue seems to be her guarding you, also work on building her respect through things like Place, structured heel, having her work for everything she gets, like food, walks, pets, and toy by doing a command like sit or down first. Aggression: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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