How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking With a Whistle

Medium
1-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

The doorbell rings and the barking begins. A family is walking past your house, and the barking begins. A neighborhood cat walks by the front window, and the barking begins. Sound familiar?

A common problem that many dog owners live with is excessive or inappropriate barking from their beloved canine companion. Not only can this type of behavior quickly become a habit, but it can disrupt and interfere with your daily life, your neighbors’ peace of mind, and your dog’s mental health. 

While it is entirely natural for dogs to bark, frequent barking often signals underlying issues with a dog. How can you put an end to unnecessary barking quickly? Try using a whistle!

Defining Tasks

Ideally, you want to determine what is triggering your dog to bark frequently. Patience and careful observation may be needed to find the sources of a dog’s desire to bark loudly and consistently. 

Sometimes the dog’s focus on the object of his frustration needs to be broken. For some dogs, a new squeaky toy or treat puzzle may be enough to interrupt the barking cycle. But other dogs may require a more intensely directed audible noise to create an associative distraction. 

That’s where using a whistle can assist you in diverting your dog’s attention to promote healthier --- and less noisy --- behaviors. Whistles emit sounds between 23 and 46 kHz, making the high-pitched sound unpleasant to your dog's ears, and making whistles a potentially ideal way to manage your dog's barking habits. 

Getting Started

Identify and choose a source of your dog’s barking, such as a doorbell ringing or a person walking in front of the house. Have a whistle ready; a silent “dog whistle” that only canines can hear or a regular whistle will work equally well for these training exercises. Be sure to have plenty of treats on hand so you can teach your dog to associate not barking with a tasty goodie.

The Whistle-Stop Method

Most Recommended
5 Votes
Step
1
Initiate barking
If your dog doesn't bark on his own, trigger the barking. For example, have a neighbor or family member walk on the sidewalk in front of your home, or ring the doorbell.
Step
2
Blow the whistle
As soon as your dog begins to bark, blow the whistle. Only use one, sharp blow, not repeated or lengthy whistles. The one abrupt sound should distract or surprise your dog and stop him from barking.
Step
3
Praise your dog if he remains quiet
If your dog quiets down right away, give him praise and a treat.
Step
4
Blow the whistle again
If your dog does not quiet down right away, blow the whistle once again to startle him and stop the barking. Once you notice he is listening to you and has stopped the noise, praise him and give him a treat.
Step
5
Repeat and be consistent
Repeat this procedure every time your dog barks in an unwanted fashion. Remember to be consistent. Eventually, your dog will associate excessive barking with the unpleasant sound of the whistle.
Recommend training method?

The Automatic Whistle Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Buy automatic whistle device
Automatic high-pitched whistles can be found at your local pet store or online retailer.
Step
2
Choose a device that works for you
These whistles will automatically emit a high-pitched sound as soon as your dog begins to bark, so you don't have to stand around all day with a whistle at hand. A variety of options are available, from free-standing, battery-operated devices to whistles that can be mounted on your dog's collar.
Step
3
Redirect your dog's attention
After the first week of training, when your dog is distracted from barking by the automatic whistle device, begin to direct his attention to normal verbal or hand signals to indicate he should stop barking.
Step
4
Direct attention to a positive activity
If your dog begins barking again after the whistle blows, engage him in an activity such as playing with toys or games, or getting a brisk few minutes of exercise.
Step
5
Repeat as needed
Remember, it will take a few weeks of patience and consistency to teach your dog to stop barking. Repeat these steps as necessary over the next month.
Recommend training method?

The Speak-Whistle Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Speak on command
When your dog barks, give a "speak" command.
Step
2
Praise and treat
When your dog barks after you give the "speak" command, praise him and give him a treat. Use short sessions over a week or so to teach your dog this step.
Step
3
Use the whistle
Whenever your dog barks when you have not given the "speak" command, blow the whistle. Give one sharp blow, then praise and treat your dog if he stops barking.
Step
4
Use the whistle if necessary
Repeat this step every time your dog barks without the "speak" command. Remaining patient and consistent with this step is key to success.
Step
5
Keep training sessions short and positive
Another key to success with this training method is keeping the sessions short, no longer than ten minutes. You can have multiple sessions per day as long as they are short.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
MoonShine
Pit bull
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
MoonShine
Pit bull
5 Years

Does not listen. When we walk he is always tugging me down the street. I've tried choke collars spiked collars he will just let them stab and choke him they dont work.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiffany, First, work on teaching him what position he is supposed to be in by following this video below. First video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtgrUwkAy8E If he is still pulling after that, then check out the second video that I have linked at the bottom of this message and follow the instructions there. You said you have tried a prong collar before. Many people use the prong collars incorrectly or too loosely and they are ineffective. It sounds like your dog needs to learn to focus on you also. There are a lot of ways to train a dog to heel but it sounds like yours needs a lot of structure to learn. The method from the second video will add in more structure. In addition to following the instructions from the video I linked, when you put on the prong collar, fit the collar high on his neck, behind his ears. The collar needs to give even pressure, not bang into the front of the throat during a correction. To accomplish that the collar needs to fit tightly enough for all of the prongs to lightly touch the neck, with the collar up high so that it cannot slide up and down. You do not want any of the prongs digging into his neck while the leash is loose though. Tight might seem harsher than loose, but loose can actually damage the front of a dog's throat because it causes the prong collar to hit the throat forcefully, which is not what it's designed to do, and that bumping will encourage more pulling for some dogs. A tighter collar causes the collar to apply even pressure all the way around and it lets you use far less force to communicate with him. Pay attention to your body language, your movement, tone of voice, and general attitude during the walk. The video demonstrates how to do that. Also, for extra security you can connect your dog's prong collar to a regular collar with a carabiner to give it more strength Second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzfzVl2dwWA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Libby
Border Terrier
14 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Libby
Border Terrier
14 Months

LOVES to chase a ball, but barks like crazy at it when she returns it. Sometimes lunges at us when we go to pick it up, and doesn’t stop barking at is until we throw it then barks while she’s running after it, too! I can ask her to sit which she will do for a couple of seconds and I try to throw only when she stops barking for a couple of seconds, but can’t seem to make any further progress. Would maybe a whistle help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tammy, If you spend time teaching Libby that a whistle means quiet first. Work on that training until she is very good at that command when not playing fetch and will get quiet in anticipation of a treat. Once she is very good at becoming quiet when she hears the whistle by following one of the methods from the article you commented on, then practice it during fetch. https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking-with-a-whistle When she barks and you blow the whistle also put the ball behind your back and freeze. Removing what she is demanding and making the game more boring until she becomes can also help her learn that being quiet is what gets the ball thrown. The whistle helps by distracting a dog long enough that it breaks their cycle of barking, helping them choose another behavior instead. Teaching her that being quiet gets her rewards - treats or balls thrown, will teach her that the other behavior that she should do is be quiet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Guido
Morkie
11 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Guido
Morkie
11 Years

Guido barks incessantly and now has our other dog (yorkie) barking! They go crazy when someone comes to our door....when someone goes by or when they see a squirrel in our yard. The barking has escalated in the last couple years and it’s keeping us from enjoying them as much :(

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Debbi, I suggest combining a few things in your case. First, 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 an important part of the puzzle for the overall strategy I will suggest below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - which will be a form of punishment - neither too harsh nor ineffective. An e-collar or Pet Convincer are two of the most effective types of interrupter for most dogs. 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!). An e-collar, aka remote training collar, uses stimulation to interrupt the dog. Only use a high quality e-collar for this, such as E-collar technologies mini educator, Dogtra, SportDog, or Gamin. A good collar should have at least 40 levels, the more levels the more accurately you can train - finding the lowest level your dog will respond to, called a "Working level" so the training is less adverse. You can also try a whistle but if the barking is as bad as it sounds like it is, you may need to use a pet convincer or e-collar instead. You could always try the whistle first. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), 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. 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. Most bark training only gives part of that equation. Fitting an e-collar - it should be put on while she is calm, just standing around - Ideally have her wear the collar around for a while before starting any training so she won't associate the training with the collar but just with her barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding the level to use for her (sometimes you will have to go 1 or 2 levels higher during training while the dog is aroused but once she improves you can usually decrease back to her normal level again) - this training level is called a dog's "Working level": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing her a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever she DOESN'T bark around something that she normally would have, calmly praise and reward her to continue the desensitization process. An automatic bark collar can also be used during times when she likes to bark while you aren't there after the initial training is done - so she understands that the correction is for her barking at that point in the training. While you are not home, confine the dogs in a crate or room(s) that don't look out the windows right now - barking at things out the window lets them practice the bad behavior over and over again and barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the arousing chemicals released in a dog's brain - so once a dog starts she is encouraged naturally to continue it and stay in that state of mind if you aren't there to interrupt. You can also try using the whistle in place of the e-collar or pet convincer, but you may need a harder-to-ignore interrupter than the whistle - such as the Pet Convincer or e-collar stimulation collar. You can always try the whistle first. Finally, make sure you don't skip the rewarding aspect of the training. The interrupter helps stop the initial barking so that you can teach quietness instead, but the rewarding is what will help with long term results, so both are important together, used correctly. If you aren't sure how to proceed on your own, I do suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues, comes well recommended, and uses multiple methods to tailor the training to you and find what you need. Finally, whichever interrupter you use, do NOT use citronella. It is harsher than anything I have suggested above actually because of how sensitive a dog's nose is. The scent can also linger for up to an hour - meaning that the dog continues being corrected long after their bad behavior stops, which makes it not only unfair but also super confusing for the dog. Stimulation based called when high quality brands with at least 40 different levels, can be adjusted down to the minimum level the dog needs to feel the collar and the correction is instant, then over, so it can actually be a gentler tool IF it's used correctly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rudy
Standard Poodle
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rudy
Standard Poodle
2 Years

Excessive barking in car. Especially when he sees other dogs

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dean, I suggest using the Whistle Stop method but instead of using a whistle (due to the dangers of that distraction while driving) use a stimulation or vibration collar. At first, practice this in your driveway and have a volunteer walk their dog down the street past your car, as a distraction. Have the car in park and practice the training. Once your dog is showing improvement while the car is stationary, have an assistant drive you around while you practice the training from the passenger seat of your car. Finally, use an automatic collar that will vibrate or give stimulation in response to the bark - at this point your dog should understand that they are supposed to be quiet - because of the rewards for staying quiet while riding, and the corrections given before, so the collar will be a reminder while you transition to being the one who is driving by yourself with your dog in the car. Also work on teaching your dog to lie down while in the car - this prevents a lot of car issues to begin with. Use a car dog seat belt tether and riding harness to keep your dog stationary, sitting or lying on the ground or seat, and practice down in the car while the car is not moving. Once your dog can stay down in a stationary car, have a friend drive you around. Sit in the back with your dog if your car is safe to do so, and work on their down while driving places like side streets as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tiny
Mutt
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tiny
Mutt
1 Year

Constant barking will stop when he sees me but as soon as I am out of sight he starts barking at anything

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Liz, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him 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 - which will be a form of punishment - neither too harsh nor ineffective. An e-collar or Pet Convincer are two of the most effective types of interrupter for most dogs. 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!). An e-collar, aka remote training collar, uses stimulation to interrupt the dog. Only use a high quality e-collar for this, such as E-collar technologies mini educator, Dogtra, SportDog, or Gamin. A good collar should have at least 40 levels, the more levels the more accurately you can train - finding the lowest level your dog will respond to, called a "Working level" so the training is less adverse. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), 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. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. 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. Most bark training only gives part of that equation. Fitting an e-collar - it should be put on while he is calm, just standing around - Ideally have him wear the collar around for a while before starting any training so he won't associate the training with the collar but just with his barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding the level to use for him (sometimes you will have to go 1 or 2 levels higher during training while the dog is aroused but once he improves you can usually decrease back to his normal level again) - this training level is called a dog's "Working level": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T bark around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. An automatic bark collar can also be used during times when he likes to bark while you aren't there after the initial training is done - so he understands that the correction is for his barking at that point in the training. While you are not home, confine him in a crate or room that doesn't look out the windows right now - barking at things out the window lets him practice the bad behavior over and over again and barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the arousing chemicals released in a dog's brain - so once a dog starts he is naturally encouraged to continue it and stays in that state of mind if you aren't there to interrupt. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buster
Pomeranian foxy cross
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Buster
Pomeranian foxy cross
2 Years

Buster barks inappropriately, he will bark at my husband and kids even once he realizes its them. Also visitors or strangers that come over he will keep barking even after I have told him no, he will go hide around the section and continue to bark. When we are out he his fine. It's just at home. It's very annoying and causes resentment. Sometimes he will bark and jump up at seemingly nothing or a noise from the next room.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicole, Check out the videos linked below on desensitizing a dog to things that trigger their barking - it sounds like pup has become overly sensitive to triggers and it's become habitual now. Barking at guests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Barking at noises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Donna
Treat
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Donna
Treat
1 Month

Adonis

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Question
Tesla
German Shepherd
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tesla
German Shepherd
3 Years

Tesla goes to our neighbors fence and barks incessantly. She will turn around and look at our back door to see if we are going to let her in. We play with her outside, she relaxes when we are in the house. The neighbor kids will kick a soccer ball around in their backyard and that gets her going also. We are at our wits end. When we are outside with her and the neighbors are out in their backyard, she doesn't bark at them hardly at all. I feel the barking is to get our attention and to let her back in the house. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ed, There are two routes to take here. The first is to desensitize pup to your neighbors. This will be considerably easier if your neighbor likes dogs and is willing to help. If not, you will just have to be vigilant to work on this whenever the opportunity is present, and recruit a friend the dogs don't know to be a stand-in neighbor at a different part of the fence (obviously not in your neighbor's yard), but still outside the fence, so that you can set up training sessions often. The second option is to use a bark collar so that pup is interrupted for their barking, then reward for a calm response instead barking once pup gets quiet - including both types of training. Check out the article linked below on desensitizing pup to something behind a fence. The article is about a dog barking at another dog behind the fence but the basic method is the same whether it's a person or dog behind the fence. If your neighbor is willing to help, they can toss treats over the fence instead of you handing them to pup when pup reacts calmly and quietly - that way your neighbor can reward the quietness when the barking tends to happen and you watch from inside. You can additionally reward pup by walking outside when pup gets quiet for a few seconds, instead of while pup is still barking - since it may be attention seeking. Do not reward the reactivity or barking though - only calmness and quietness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n_fPKPLA2g&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=11&t=51s If your neighbor wouldn't be willing to help, recruit a friend to be outside your fence and practice with that friend's help. I also suggest rewarding pup for being quiet around the neighbor while you are outside, and pup is making the good choice of not barking while you are out there and the neighbor is present - even though additional training will also be needed since it tends to happen most when you are inside. You may need to take pup potty on leash in the front yard, or just go outside with pup since pup is usually quiet when you are there, for a bit to prevent poor reactions during potty trips at times when you aren't prepared to train - so that you don't undo your training efforts. Keeping treats on hand for all potty breaks (by having a small ziplock by the door that you can grab quickly), will help you be prepared to train in real life scenarios that come up whenever you take them potty and the neighbor happens to come out though. Finally, since the issue is happening while you are inside and may be attention seeking, in addition to rewarding the quietness - which is more than half of the training needed, so don't skip that part, you may also need to use an interrupter like a high quality stimulation or vibration bark collar - don't use citronella though, it's tends to linger and be overly harsh because of how sensitive a dog's sense of smell is. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cinders
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Cinders
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months

Cinders will bark loudly at other dogs if she can’t be close to them, not everyone wants her near there dog even though if she could get close she only really wants to play

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gail, See if there is a puppy class that you can join in your area to help with socialization if you are able, especially a fenced outdoor class. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Check out the article linked below and see if you can recruit friends with well mannered dogs to practice the passing approach method and walking together method with pup to desensitize pup to other dogs as well. Passing approach and Walking together method: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Finally, check out the article linked below and work on teaching pup the Quiet command. After pup learns that command well, use the Quiet command to instruct pup not to bark before they begin or after they start and reward quietness at those times, but ALSO reward pup for a calm response around other dogs when they stay quiet in the first place. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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