Preventing excessive barking

Dogs love attention. And they quickly discover that barking is a great way to get it. It’s even more fun if they can get you to shout back at them. Barking doesn’t use up much energy, either, so some dogs will keep on barking. And on. And on.

Alerting you to a burglar is one thing, but if your dog keeps barking at everyday things it can be very stressful for you and your neighbours. Fortunately, you can train your dog not to bark at certain sounds or events. And strangely, the first step is to train your dog to bark on command.

Training your dog to bark on command

Do whatever it is that usually sets your dog off – like making the phone ring or pressing the doorbell. When they bark, praise them while repeating the word ‘speak’. Once your dog associates the word with barking, you’ll be able to get them to bark on command.

Great, but how on earth do you make him stop again?

Once your dog has learnt about ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’, you should be able to say ‘quiet’ at any time and they’ll stay silent. Just remember to praise like mad when they get it right to keep your dog motivated.

Now repeat, reward and reinforce – and you’ll have a quieter dog. 

Training your dog not to bark when you go out

The final step is training your dog not to bark when you leave them at home on their own. To do this, you’ll need to be prepared to pretend to go out and return, over and over again.

Just before you pretend to go out, take your dog through their ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ routine and give them plenty of praise. Once you’ve left the house, come straight inside again and praise them for being quiet. Next time, stay out a little longer. And so on and so on.

Your neighbours might think you’re mad if they catch you practising this, but they’ll thank you for it in the end!

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