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

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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.
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The Automatic Whistle Method

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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.
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The Speak-Whistle Method

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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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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