How to Train a Poodle to Not Bark

How to Train a Poodle to Not Bark
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Poodles and other small dogs often get a bad rap for barking. Sometimes this is due to truly excessive barking from a high strung, anxious personality, or it may be that the Poodle is confined to a small house or apartment, has excess energy to burn off, and is lacking in exercise and play opportunities. Sometimes your Poodle may legitimately be barking for the same reason that any other dog would bark. A dog may bark because something triggers him, like a strange noise or sensation, thunderstorms, other dogs or vehicle sounds, or because he is trying to protect you. Although he may be small in size, he has the same instinct as any other dog. Sometimes your Poodle may be excited about a guest or play, or may be anxious or bored because he has been left without exercise, play or attention for too long. A Poodle will bark, much the same as most dogs in these circumstances will bark. You can train your Poodle to not bark, especially if barking is inappropriate, for your peace and everyone else in your household and neighborhood! However, first make sure you address your Poodle's needs for exercise and recognize legitimate reasons for barking.

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Defining Tasks

When your Ppoodle is barking, it is tempting to yell “No!” However, your vocalization may sound to your dog like you are just joining in with him in barking!  It also escalates your dog’s mood and excitement, which seldom is effective at counteracting barking, so avoid yelling at your dog to deter barking behavior. Ignoring barking and not rewarding it is more effective to extinguish barking. Alternatively, you can put barking on command, which may sound counterintuitive. But in teaching your dog to bark for a reward, you are also teaching your clever Poodle not to bother barking if a reward is not offered. Remember that Poodles are very social dogs,that need positive interaction, attention, and exercise. Meeting your Poodle’s needs will be helpful in preventing unwanted barking behavior. Don’t forget to investigate possible causes for barking. Your Poodle may seem overly excitable sometimes, but he may legitimately be warning you of a perceived danger, or alerting you to something that has his attention.

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Getting Started

Use treats to reward and reinforce responses to commands to bark and stop barking. Be prepared to be patient and consistent when extinguishing barking, which will involve ignoring and not responding to barking. This will require some self-discipline, as it is tempting to correct a dog that is persistently barking. You will also need to be sure you meet your Poodle’s needs for attention and exercise, in order to decrease boredom and anxiety barking. Take some time to investigate possible legitimate causes of barking; is your dog trying to alert and protect you? Is he hearing or seeing something you are not, like an approaching storm or a high pitched sound? It may be that your Poodle is onto something. Be sure not to correct legitimate behavior as it can be confusing for your dog.

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The Extinguish Method

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1

Ignore barking

When your Poodle starts to bark, ignore him, turn away from him, or walk into another room.

2

Attend to quiet

When your Poodle stops barking, give him attention or start playing a favorite game or with a toy and your dog. Give him a treat.

3

Do not punish barking

Do not yell or respond when your Poodle barks, always ignore barking and continue to respond to your dog when he is quiet.

4

Repeat

Repeat, ensure everyone in household is consistent with ignoring barking and reinforcing quiet.

5

Establish

Eventually your Poodle will recognize that barking gets no results, while being quiet results in play, food, affection and attention. This will result in reduced barking behavior.

The Set Up for Success Method

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Check for legitimate barking triggers

Investigate the initial causes and triggers of barking, is there a legitimate reason your dog is barking? Is he hearing a far off siren, or sensing an approaching thunderstorm? If this is the case, redirecting or comforting him may be appropriate.

2

Burn off energy

Exercise and play with your Poodle. Poodles are high energy dogs and need to burn off energy to relax. If your Poodle may be barking from anxiety or elevated mood, make sure he has the opportunity to burn that energy off.

3

Socialize

Socialize your Poodle. Small dogs may have learned to be intimidated by large dogs or strange people. If owners hold small dogs like Poodles in their arms and tense up when approached, they can inadvertently be causing their Poodle to bark. Be sure to expose your Poodle to lots of situations in a calm, assertive manner, so your dog is comfortable with others and new situations to decrease triggers and anxiety.

4

Provide entertainment

Provide toys and chew items when you cannot give your Poodle attention to give him an alternative focus and prevent anxiety and boredom.

5

Desensitize

Desensitize your Poodle to triggers by gradually exposing him to them and creating a different association. For example, if the approach of a delivery person triggers your Poodle to bark, train your Poodle to be calm around delivery people by reinforcing him positively when delivery people approach, or meeting delivery people outside and walking alongside them. Whatever works to change your dog's response to the trigger.

The On Command Method

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1

Allow trigger

Wait for something to trigger your Poodle to bark.

2

Pair command

When your Poodle starts barking, say “speak,” and provide a treat. Repeat several times.

3

Command bark without trigger

Now use the command to speak without a trigger present. When your dog barks, provide a reward. Repeat.

4

Add 'quiet' command

Now ask your Poodle to 'speak', then say “quiet”. When your dog stops barking provide the reward.

5

Do not reinforce undirected barking

If your dog barks when not commanded to speak, do not reward him. Continue commanding “speak”, and “quiet” and giving rewards. Eventually you will be able to use “quiet” to stop un-triggered barking. Your Poodle will be less likely to bark when not commanded to, as no reward is forthcoming.

By Laurie Haggart

Published: 04/11/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Jett

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Poodle Cav

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2 Years

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If resting or sleeping next to us when/if woken frenzy and nips or bites Has possession aggression very protective of items and food

May 2, 2022

Jett's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sue, It does sound like you are dealing with resource guarding and possessiveness as well as some defensiveness related to being woken up. Addressing this is often done using a combination of building pup's overall respect for you so pup doesn't view you as something they can own and guard, and will listen to your rules. Teaching commands like Out (leave the area), Drop It, Off (like off the bed or couch), and Leave It, are also very important in cases like these. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite/ Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It – Exchange method: https://wagwalking.com/training/drop-it I would desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle too. If pup tends to protest rules like getting off the couch with their mouth, the muzzle is an important tool to be able to train consistently and calmly without pup being able to bite to get their way, helping pup see that aggression is no longer an effective response and allowing you to train without getting bitten. The desensitization is usually done gradually, using treats to encourage pup to put their face into the muzzle on their own and rewarding their cooperation, buckling and unbuckling while rewarding, having pup wear it for a few seconds, then minutes, while rewarding through the muzzle's holes intermittently, until the muzzle isn't viewed as all that different than other training tools like harnesses by pup, and it can be worn routinely during the training season when you are home during the day and interacting with pup on a daily basis as well as training times. If pup protests obeying rules like Drop It, Off, ect...I would keep a drag leash on pup too, so you can calmly pick up the end of the leash and enforce that command you gave that pup wasn't obeying, without a lot of fuss - with the basket muzzle pup was already wearing that day so you don't get bitten. The basket muzzle type should have holes and allow pup to open their mouth so you can pass pup a small treat when they do obey willingly and are tolerant of things they used to react toward. Additionally, pup needs to be counter conditioned to you being near when they have something they love, by practicing things like walking past at a distance where pup stays calm and tossing treats to pup, slowly decreasing distance and increasing interaction while pup is near the area/person/object they tend to guard. Again, with safety measures in place already. The goal is to build not just respect and consistency but also trust when it comes to resource guarding. Check out the working method also: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you This is something I recommend hiring a private trainer to work with you in person for. Someone who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and will come to your home for the training. Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from America's Canine Educator and Sean O'Shea Good Dog on Youtube to see some examples. This process involves good timing, training at a distance and decreasing that distance as pup improves, and your overall attitude and confidence being calm and confident. These are all things that are easier to learn with someone observing pup's reactions in real time, demonstrating how to interact and train, watching and guiding you as you do so, and taking safety measures like a back tie leash and muzzle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 4, 2022

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reesecup

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miniature poodle

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5 Months

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so there are a couple of things 1 my dog has separation anxiety and doesn't like being left alone, always sleeping in my room in my bed with me, and I'm trying to train him to sleep in his place in his crate. but my dog thinks its a punishment so when I close the crate and leave him he starts barking uncontrollably what can I do to fix this

April 25, 2022

reesecup's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jada, Check out the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. I would practice this during the daytime when you aren't tired first. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate A pet convincer can also be used in combination with rewarding quiet, to spray a brief puff of air at pup's side when they bark if pup isn't improving after using just the surprise method for at least a week. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU With puppies I recommend trying the Surprise method without corrections first though, and using corrections also if things don't improve with positive reinforcement alone. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 2, 2022


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