How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking for Attention

Medium
1-3 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You’ve sat down with the friend you haven’t seen in months, coffee in hand and gossip being exchanged. Your needs canine pal isn’t so pleased that Susan’s getting all the attention, though. He keeps barking, putting a damper on this relaxing catch-up. You’ve tried sending him out of the room but then he just barks from outside. You spend most of the day with him, don’t you deserve a little break every once in a while?

It’s exactly the same when you settle down for this week's episode of your favorite show. You can’t even hear the dialogue over the sound of constant barking. If you could get a handle on this attention seeking behavior, you could enjoy a few moments to yourself without having clinger level 100 barking in your ear.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog not to bark for attention is, thankfully, not too complicated. The biggest hurdle is showing him that attention-seeking barking won’t give him what he wants. You need to break that cycle of behavior, which will take resilience. You’ll also need to use obedience commands so you can instruct him to stop barking with ease. If he’s a puppy and this attention seeking behavior is relatively new, then training it out of him may take just a week or so. If this behavior has been years in the making, then you may need up to three weeks before you finally get peace and quiet.

Succeed with this new regime and you’ll never have to worry about having friends and family over again. You’ll be able to enjoy just their company for a change. You may also find you can instruct your dog to stop barking in a range of other situations too.

Getting Started

Before work begins, you’ll need a few bits. His favorite food or treats will play an essential role in training, so stock up! You’ll also need time each day to commit to training during times that trigger his attention-seeking barking.

A quiet room, free from distractions, will also be needed for obedience training. For one of the methods, invest in a citronella or water spraying remote-controlled collar. They can be bought from a variety of stores.

 Apart from that, just bring patience and a positive mental attitude and you’re good to get to work!

The Cold Shoulder Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Turn around
When he starts barking, turn away from him and completely ignore him. He’s barking because he wants your attention, so even looking at him may give him the satisfaction he wants. So make sure you give him nothing.
Step
2
Wait for him to stop
As soon as he stops, you can turn around and give him attention, but you MUST wait for him to stop. If you give in after 15 minutes, he’ll know next time that he has to bark for that long to get your attention, so be resilient.
Step
3
Reward
When he has fallen silent, turn around and give him a treat and some attention. Slowly, he will learn the quickest way to get attention is to be quiet.
Step
4
Increase the time before reward
After a couple of days, start to increase the time he has to be quiet for before you turn around and give him attention. After a week, you’ll find he’ll sit there silently for up to 10 seconds before you turn around and give him a treat.
Step
5
Be consistent
If you give in just once or twice half way through training, you’ll be seriously delaying results. You must stamp out giving him any and all attention. This is a case of being cruel to be kind, so stay strong!
Recommend training method?

The Quiet Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Induce the barking
Put him in a situation when he’s likely to bark for attention, so watch TV or ignore him. Once he starts barking, take no notice of him and carry on with what you were doing.
Step
2
‘Quiet’
Wait for him to stop barking, then when he does, issue the 'quiet' command and give him a treat. Say the command in a serious tone of voice, you want him to know you mean business. You can use any word or phrase you want, so feel free to get creative. You may have to wait 10 minutes for him to fall silent, so be patient.
Step
3
Treat
Once you give the command, give him a treat too. You can then give him some attention and some verbal praise. Over time, he will start to associate the ‘stop’ or 'quiet' command with falling silent and tasty rewards. Practice this each time he barks for the first few days.
Step
4
Give the command earlier
Now instead of waiting for him to finish barking, start using the command while he is barking. Issue it only once, you need to show him you expect results straight away. By this point he’ll know the command is a cue to be quiet and that food awaits him if he does. Then reward him with a treat and praise as before.
Step
5
Consistency
Now start issuing the command whenever he barks for attention. Be quick to issue it and he’ll fall silent straight away. Keep doing this for as long as it takes to cut out the barking altogether. You can also use this command to get him to stop barking in other situations, from barking at other dogs to people approaching the door.
Recommend training method?

The Routine Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Up the exercise
A tired dog won’t want half the attention a dog full of energy will. That means take him on an extra or longer walk. Alternatively, play fetch with him when you’re walking. The short sprints will tire him out. If he’s napping all evening he won’t be pestering you for attention.
Step
2
Tug of war
Get his favorite toy and play tug of war with him for 10 minutes each day. Not only will this help knacker him out, it will give him some solid bonding time and attention from his owner.
Step
3
Set play times
Establish a routine where you play with him at the same time each day. You may want to split it up into once in the morning and once in the evening. If he knows he’s got play time coming up after dinner he won’t be so desperate for attention the rest of the time.
Step
4
Be firm
If he does start barking for attention, remove him from your environment. Take him out the room, or leave the room yourself. Don’t talk to him, don’t shout at him, just distance yourself from him. If he doesn’t ever get the attention he wants, he’ll learn there’s no point barking in the first place.
Step
5
Consider a deterrent
If these steps don’t yield swift results, you can use a remote controlled collar as well. You can get collars that release an unpleasant burst of citronella or water. Just hit the button when he starts barking and this will be an added deterrent to keep him silent. Use all of these steps in conjunction with each other for the best results.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Dory
Lhasapoo
8 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Dory
Lhasapoo
8 Months

Dory is a quiet dog most of the time. I am an artist working from home and at least once a day she will just start barking at me for attention. I have tired walking away but she will follow me and gently nip my leg. I have tired calm voice commands e.g “quiet” but nothing appears to stop her until I pick her up or distract her with a toy, but I am worried I am teaching her to bark for my attention please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gemma, To get Dory to stop barking at you for attention first create a confined, safe area in another room, where she cannot see you. You can use an exercise pen for this, or a bathroom with the trash can and bath mats taken up and a baby gate across the doorway, or another small and safe area that she cannot escape from. Whenever she begins to bark at your for attention, calmly take her into that confined area, without speaking to her, and leave her in there until she has been quiet for at least five minutes. Also prevent the barking episodes by taking breaks when you are able, to before she gets too restless, and play with her, train her, or exercise her during those breaks. While you are busy working give her something to entertain herself with, such as a Kong toy stuffed with her dog food and a bit of peanut butter, or a dog puzzle toy filled with dry dog food, or a wobble toy that she has to push around to get food out of, Kong brand makes one. You can feed her entire food for the day in these types of toys if you would like to. Simply measure out her food for the day and fill all of the different toys with her dog food. This will give her a job to do too while you work. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dory
Lhasapoo
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dory
Lhasapoo
8 Months

Hello, I found this website so helpful for our family being a new dog owner.

Our Dory is doing so well, we are very happy with her progress. There are still small things we would like to sort out and would appreciate any professional advise.

We recently changed her lead and harness from a retractable lead to a standard length (it has a bit of bounce) she walks well.

But when we walk as a family (five of us) if a child walks away or someone is slow she starts to whine (she sounds very frantic) and pulls back or front. We try to ignore it and continue.

But how can I help curb this behaviour.

Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gemma, I am so glad that you have found the website helpful. Congratulations on your dog and the progress that you have made! When Dory is walking with the entire family, the family itself is a form of distraction, even more so than most distractions that you pass, and just like any other training, you have to practice and work up to a dog being able to do a command in the presence of distractions. It might not be ideal, but the answer is to practice your heel work during the walk, while other family members are present. To help this go faster you can try to go on extra walks that everyone expects to just be training walks. Whenever she begins to move her head past your leg at all, turn directly in front of her at a ninety degree angle, so that she has to slow down and adjust her walking to stay with you and not run into your leg. Whenever she lags behind you, go faster and hurry her up. Act excited to get her to focus back on you, and to keep her moving. Change directions frequently when she gets too distracted by one of the kids, so that she has to pay attention to you again in order to keep up. Also bring treats in a Zip-Lock bag in your pocket, and when she is looking at you and walking right beside you, instead of focusing on other things like your kids, praise her and reach down to give her a treat while you are walking. The more you practice teaching her to walk in the heel position beside you while walking with your family, the better she should get, so that walks will eventually be easy with her. The inconvenience of practicing on walks now with her can make walks for the rest of her life with everyone easier. Another option is to purchase a training device such as an gentle leader, or front clip harness, designed to help with the pulling. The harness or gentle leader itself will not train her, she will still need you to work on the training while walking with your family without the harness or gentle leader at other times, but during walks when you cannot train her, you can use the device to prevent her from pulling and developing worse habits. Doing that will give you options for each walk. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Thor and Loki
Labrador Terrier
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Thor and Loki
Labrador Terrier
5 Months

I am training two dogs at the same time. They do well separately but the minute they are together they do not listen to anything unless I say treat. I learned after the fact that I should not have resued litter mates but the damage is done.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Norma, Unfortunately another dog is a huge distraction, so it is not unusual for the puppies to only listen when separate. To help them learn, work on training both puppies separately every day, even fifteen minute training sessions every day for each puppy will help. Practice the commands that each puppy knows around distractions such as people, other dogs, smells, sights, and other animals, in addition to teaching new commands during the sessions. If you can recruit another person to help you, then have training sessions with both puppies together as often as you can as well. Have one person focus on one puppy at a time. Doing this should help the puppies to learn to listen when the distraction of the other puppy is there. You can also work on training the two puppies together on you own, but everything that you work on during those training sessions needs to be easier versions of everything that the puppies already know, since it will be harder for the puppies to focus around each other. Practice new commands and harder versions of the commands that they already know during individual training sessions, with just one puppy at a time, and practice commands that the puppies have already learned separately during training sessions with both puppies there also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dory
Lhasapoo
12 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dory
Lhasapoo
12 Months

Hello I found this website very helpful before so I wanted to ask again! Dory responded very well 4 months ago and after being crated when she barked. After so many days it eased. We had her spayed 3 weeks ago and 14 days after her recovery the barking for attention has started again and she growls (wagging tail and no teeth showing) when I go to place her in her crate she runs away. She is selective when she wants to sit on command too but I know she knows what I am asking of her! Is this dog adolescents? Will she grow out of this behaviour? Do I just continue the training I was doing before? Am I doing anything wrong? She is a wonderful dog otherwise lol. Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gemma, So glad you found the website helpful last time. First, make sure that she is not experiencing discomfort from being moved when you try to put her in her crate. If she growls when you touch her or push on her in a particular area, then she needs to be check out by your vet to make sure that she healed from her surgery alright. If she is alright physically and does not seem sore, then her recent behavior might be due to how she was handled while at the vet or after she got home. If she associates the crate with her bad experience for some reason, then she would likely act afraid and protest the crate. Be consistent and insist calmly but firmly that she obeys your commands, but focus proactively on getting her over her potential fear of the crate again. Go back to the basics of crate training and make the crate a really rewarding location. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow all of the methods. Especially placing a food stuffed Kong and treats in the crate with her when you put her inside so that she will look forward to being in there more. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If she seems to protest all touch but is not in pain anymore, then she might be afraid of being handled because it caused her pain after her surgery. Work on handling exercises with her. At every meal you can feed her her dinner one piece at a time. Gently touch an area of her body while you give her a treat. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch her paw and giver her a treat. Touch her tail and give her a treat. Touch her belly and give her a treat. Lift her up a bit and give her three treats. Repeat this will her whole body as often as you can for a couple of months, until she loves being touched everywhere again. Be extra gentle and spend extra time touching areas that she seems to dislike. When you command her to sit and she disobeys, then place the fingers of one of your hands on either side of the base of her tail, where her tail connects to her bottom and back. Cup your other hand underneath her chin, and gently but firmly press your fingers into the muscle on either side of the base of her tail while you carefully lift her chin up. This should cause her to sit in order to get away from your fingers and hand. If she sits on her own, then reward her with life rewards such as a walk, a pet, her dinner, a ball toss, or something else that she likes. If she will not sit, then follow through on your command by gently coercing her into the position with your hands. If you feel like she is struggling with respect for you in general, then check out this article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If all of this behavior is very unusual and new for her after being spayed, then visit your vet and make sure that she is not in pain or having hormonal issues. Those things could cause her to feel bad and act grumpy. If it is not unusual, then it is likely age related or experience related and it is time to work on enforcing her commands, practicing around distractions, and rebuilding trust of touch and the crate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dory
Lhasa Apso
12 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dory
Lhasa Apso
12 Months

Hello Thank you for your reply! No sorry I think I wasn’t clear! She is not in any pain, and likes her crate. But when she barks for attention she does not want to go in the crate willingly as excited! So I put her in there is that the wrong way? She had these behaviours before being spayed but she had overcome them. Now at 12 months they have returned. Do I just calmly be firm.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gemma, Yes, have her go into the crate even if she does not want to. When you put her in there put a Kong stuffed with food in there with her to help her learn to like her crate again, but put her in even if she does not walk in willingly. Since she is resisting you in some other areas too, she is likely just testing out the waters to see if you really mean what you say, so when you tell her to do something have her do it. If she is hard to catch or acting aggressive, then keep a drag leash on her, without a handle so that it will not snag on things, while you are home to supervise for right now. When it's time to go into the crate calmly go over to her and step on the end of the leash and pick it up, then quickly lead her over to the crate so that she does not have time to protest or stop. Use her forward momentum to move her into the crate with the leash without pausing. Tell her "Crate", "Room", or some other word that means go into your crate while she is going inside. When she turns around, take off her leash, give her the food stuffed Kong, and close the door. Ignore her protests. When you let her out of the crate, open the door a bit and if she tries to rush out close it again. Repeat this until you can open the door all the way and she will stay inside. When she is waiting for permission to leave and looking to you for direction, then tell her "Okay" and let her out. By doing that you are adding more boundaries so that she will learn that when it's time to go in the crate and stay in the crate she needs to listen, even without being forced and even when the door is open! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rose
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Rose
Labrador Retriever
3 Years

My dog is not letting me sleep at night. She barks for attention. I can't reward train her because she doesn't bark when I'm in the room so there is nothing to "correct". Shes 3 years old and spayed, her mom is a yellow lab, dad is a complete mutt. He looks chow and produces rottie patterned babies. She plays and runs and wrestles in the yard with my other dog before bed. Shes watered, fed, and sent to potty. She doesnt play with toys/chews because she eats them. And if she can't eat them shes not interested in them at all. She has to sleep in a crate because she is extremely destructive and will eat the walls and floor. She sleeps in a separate room because I'm a light sleeper and cant deal with the shuffling of having her in my room. We have tried having her in the same room and different rooms than the other dog, who is also crated for anxiety. She socializes with us all day but as soon as we lock her up for the night she barks. Non-stop for hours and hours. She paces her self. 1 quick bark every 5 seconds so she never gets tired. I'm losing my mind. She doesn't care about the sound boxes. She doesnt care about being shot with water. What do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sadie, First, teach Rose the "Quiet" command using the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once she understands what the word means and can stop barking while outside of the crate at other times, then check out Jeff Gelhman's Separation Anxiety protocol from the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk When you put your dog into the crate tell her "Quiet" and then follow Jeff's protocol from the video when she starts to bark. Jeff's protocol will involve correction but the point of it is to communicate to the dog and interrupt the anxious state of mind. It is done in a fair and well communicated way. Jeff can sound a little harsh and blunt on his videos but his training is very effective for anxious, rude, or demanding dogs. His type of training is not necessary for all dogs but dogs who are being demanding, struggling to be alone, have anxiety, or are generally just rude tend to need more structure and firmness, at least for a while, and he does train with structure and fair firmness. The video is a bit long but watch the whole thing. A text summary of the video to go back to for reference can be found here: https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2013/02/21/separation-anxiety-im-not-seeing-it-at-my-place Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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