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 Quiet Method

ribbon-method-2
Most Recommended
3 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

ribbon-method-3
Effective
4 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?

The Cold Shoulder Method

ribbon-method-1
Least Recommended
2 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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Frodo
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Frodo
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months

He barks whenever we go into the kitchen (he's not allowed in there, there's a baby gate).
Similar situations whenever we put a baby gate somewhere else in the house, also barks whenever he wants attention.

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Question
Sulley
Pointer x weinariner
18 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Sulley
Pointer x weinariner
18 Months

My dog is generally not a Barker. Is quiet at home, in the garden and when doorbell goes. However when I do the school run with my dog, he starts barking as soon as we get outside the school gates. It is a series of single barks every 30 secs or so rather than continued barking. How can we stop him doing this?

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Question
Obi
Australian Kelpie
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Obi
Australian Kelpie
8 Months

Hi!
Our pup constantly needs us there with him! If we are not he will bark until we come outside and if we do and ignore him - so dont reward the behaviour - he continues to bark until we do! It drives the us and the neighbours a little mad.
Thanks

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Question
Poppy
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Months
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Question
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Poppy
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Months

Poppy is our first ever puppy and she’s started barking when ever we try to nap during the day. And not a warning bark or pain bark, but an extremely sharp bark that just hurts. She doesn’t need to go out or eat, its seemingly for no reason other than to annoy us.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, I suspect pup is barking for attention or due to boredom while you nap. If pup is free roaming and going to the window when you sleep, pup might also be looking out the window and barking for fun since no one is there to interrupt her. If pup also barks at you when you sleep, and the barking is only ever happening when someone sleeps, it is likely for attention, but you might also want to investigate if there is something like sleep apnea, sleep talking, ect...that could be happening with a member of the family that makes pup nervous. I am not a doctor though. For attention/boredom based barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with her so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking, command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction at their side. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward them. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup understands the routine, wait until pup stays quiet for gradually longer and longer before rewarding them - so that they don't just bark and get quiet in hopes of a treat. At that point, reward pup just for staying quiet, like when you catch them nicely lying on their bed quietly while you work, chewing their own toy contentedly, ect...And just correct if they bark, without the treat reward right after when it's quiet. I would also provide pup with more outlets for their mental and physical energy to address the underlying boredom, if boredom is suspected. You can feed meals in stuffed chew toys, puzzle toys, ect...To help with entertainment. I find that the Kong wobble toys and similar device are quick ways to feed meals when you don't have time to stuff a chew toy. When you exercise her, instead of focusing on huge amounts of exercise alone, you can implement training that's a bit challenging into the exercise to stimulate her mentally too - that can be twice as effective as exercise alone for tiring pup out and helping pup feel calmer afterwards. For example, have pup practice a structured, focused heel during walks, practicing their sit and Down commands periodically throughout the walk. Have a fast paced training session instead of one of exercise times, with come, heel, doggie push-ups (fast repetitions of sit, down, stand commands in random order) and other commands that involve movement thrown in. Incorporate Sit, Down, Wait, Watch Me, and Stay type commands into a game of fetch. If you find that the pet convincer corrections is giving her too much attention still, so the barking continuing, you may need to use a remote training collar, like a vibration or low level stimulation based collar, so you can correct without having to re-enter the room where pup is. I would still practice the quiet command beforehand, to encourage that quietness, and provide other outlets, like a kong or wobble for pup to entertain herself with. E-collar fitting and finding the right stimulation level, or vibration. Many high quality e-collars have vibration and stimulation both, so you can try both. Some dogs actually find vibration more intense than low level stimulation, others will ignore vibration, so you have to experiment with whether pup will respond to vibration alone well enough. Only choose a high quality brand. Some well respected brands include Garman, E-collar Technologies, or Dogtra. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Moose
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year
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Moose
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year

Moose can be quiet if we're in his presence, but he sleeps in the kitchen each night and when he wakes up, even after having taken him out to the toilet and fed him will continue to bark and whine intensely as soon as we walk out of the room.
When he's put in the kitchen in the middle of the day when we go to the shops he will also bark and whine as we leave.
What do you suggest?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessie, First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, set up your kitchen so pup can't leave the kitchen without you letting him out, using things like baby gates if there isn't a door. During the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the kitchen while you are in another room, return briefly and quietly sprinkle some treats into the kitchen without letting pup out, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice confining him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the kitchen, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night in the kitchen before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night though, only during the daytime practice. If pup responds by destroying things or having accidents - but you know they can hold their bladder, then I recommend crating pup overnight in the kitchen until pup is used to sleeping down there quietly and calmly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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