How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking on Command

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Do you love your four-legged friend to bits, but just can’t stand how overexcited, and therefore vocal, he is sometimes? Maybe he annoys the neighbors to the point at which they start knocking on your door and asking you to keep him under control. Or maybe you have relatives or friends with small children, and although you know he only wants to say hello and is excited to see a small person, maybe his barking scares them off and makes the parents distrust your friendly pooch. If these situations sound familiar to you then it’s time you taught your pooch some manners and relieved those bark-induced headaches, by training your pup to stop barking on command.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your pooch to stop barking on command is an important and rewarding endeavor. Especially if your pupper is keeping you up with his noisy barks, or just interrupting your well-deserved quiet time after a hard day at work. Imagine how relaxing your home environment will be when you teach him to respect quiet time. Your pooch's barking could even be jeopardizing your living situation if you’re a tenant in rented accommodation, and your neighbors can’t stand your dog's barking. 

Teaching your dog to stop barking can vary in difficulty, depending on the severity of the problem. For some pooches, it will only take a few weeks and they’ll stop speaking when not allowed in no time. However, if it’s a learned behavior, there could be an underlying behavioral problem, in which case consulting a behaviorist may seem necessary. Also, if you notice a behavioral change in your pup, causing them to bark more than they used to, they could be telling you they’re in pain, in which case it is always a good idea to take them to your vet for a quick check over to check nothing is wrong. This command is suitable for dogs over 3 months old.

Getting Started

To start to teach your dog how to be ‘quiet’ you’ll definitely need a calm environment without any distractions so that his focus is on you. It might be a good idea to teach him how to ‘speak’ on command at the same time. That way he will be more disciplined in general when it comes to using his bark and you won’t be relying on him barking randomly to train him to be ‘quiet’. If you’re using clicker training for your pooch, grab his clicker and some tasty treats for a reward, but if not tasty treats will do. If you’re not teaching him the ‘speak’ command first, make sure you have a method of getting him to bark ready, such as knocking on the front door. An assistant may be useful for this. 

Other than that, training should be in short to medium length bursts, being no longer than 20 minutes per go. Be sure to come ready with a patient attitude and don’t get frustrated, just keep trying and seek the help of a professional if it gets to be too much.

The 'Speak' and 'Quiet' Method

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Step
1
Use the leash
Popping your pooch on a leash will give you better control over him when he gets excited and starts barking.
Step
2
Bark and 'speak'
Wait for your pooch to bark, this shouldn’t be difficult if he’s an excessive barker. Each time he barks ,say ‘speak’ and give him a treat.
Step
3
Consolidate
Keep doing this. This in itself will take a few training sessions, spread these out over a few days.
Step
4
Tell him to 'speak'
Your pooch should now speak on command.
Step
5
Tell him to 'quiet'
Give the 'quiet' command a few seconds after the ‘speak’ command. Wait for your pooch to stop barking and give him a treat.
Step
6
Repeat 'speak' and 'quiet'
Keep repeating the ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ commands until your pooch knows exactly what to do.
Step
7
'Quiet' without 'speak'
Your pooch should now listen to the ‘quiet’ command during regular barking, keep praising him when he listens.
Step
8
Remove the treats
After a few weeks, the command should become a learned behavior and treats will no longer be required.
Recommend training method?

The Distractions Method

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Step
1
Use a halter
Put a halter on your pooch when out on walks, which will apply gentle pressure on his mouth when you pull on it. Now when he starts being a nuisance and barking, pull on the halter to remind him he’s being naughty.
Step
2
Noise distractions
You can use household objects such as loudly closing cupboard doors to interrupt his bark, or why not invest in a dog whistle? That high pitched sound is likely to put him straight off.
Step
3
Drop a large object
Every time your pooch barks, you could try and drop a large object in front of your pooch, this might make him think that every time he barks a large object will land in front of him and scare him off barking. Be careful to drop it far enough away that it won’t hit your pupper though!
Step
4
Collar control
You can purchase bark collars from a pet store that may help discourage your pooch from barking at the wrong time. However, be careful to listen to his necessary barks--he might be telling you he needs the bathroom.
Step
5
Crate training
If you crate train your puppy when he’s a couple of months old, this will establish a relationship where he knows you’re in charge and will reduce the stimulation of needing to bark when he’s in his crate, as there will be fewer distractions.
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The Using Cues Method

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Step
1
Make him bark
Ring the doorbell or knock on the door to get your pooch to let out a bark.
Step
2
'Quiet' and signal
Get your pooch to be quiet by telling him firmly, but don’t shout it. Pair this with a hand signal, such as waving a finger.
Step
3
Reward him
Give him a treat when he stops barking.
Step
4
Everyday life
Be sure to use ‘quiet’ and give the hand signal every time he barks and is being a nuisance, to let him know it’s not just when the doorbell rings. Remember to keep rewarding him when he stops barking.
Step
5
Repeat and stop the treats
Keep doing this until he has a firm grasp on the ‘quiet’ command. At this point you can stop giving treats.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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