Stop the barking!

Part of a dog's job is to alert us to unusual sounds or activities, so barking  is normal, and a little is okay. The problem starts when some dogs get carried away,  barking every time the wind blows. These dogs can quickly become annoying, to the owner and sometimes the neighbors.  

Here are some proven tips to stop the barking.  Hopefully one of them will work for your dog.

  • Try to find out why your dog is barking excessively.   If he/she is barking while you are away from home, you might try setting up a video camera to see if you can figure out the cause.


  • Most dogs bark because they are bored.   Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. A long walk or some extra play time can burn off excess energy and leave your dog relaxed.


  • Leave your dog with "educational" toys, such as toys that release food.  You can also soak dry dog food until it is mush - stuff it into a hollow toy and freeze it - that will keep him busy for a while.


  • Keep your dog inside.  If your dog lives outside because he/she isn't house broken or is  destructive then address these problems first and bring the dog in.

  • Something to chew on. Chewing takes a lot of time, reduces stress and it’s hard to bark and chew at the same time!

  • Distraction.   Leave the television or radio on  to mask outside noises that might cause your dog to bark.  It will also keep him/her from feeling alone.

  • Acknowledge him. Your dog may be trying to tell you something. Acknowledging him and praising him for a good job in a calm way may make him realize that he’s done his job and he can be quiet now.

  • Insist on quiet. If your dog keeps barking after you have acknowledged and praised him, tell him “quiet” in a sharp voice, but don't yell.  If he stops, praise him. You might even give him a treat once in a while when he stops barking. This takes his mind off of what he was barking at, and make him think  that something good might happen if he’s quiet.

  • Dampen his enthusiasm. Keep a squirt bottle handy. If the dog just refuses to shut up, squirt him; then calmly, but firmly say “quiet”. If he begins barking again, repeat the process.  Almost all dogs hate to be squirted. Even the most enthusiastic water dogs don’t like it that way. It doesn’t hurt and it sure gets their attention.

  • Change tactics. If you try one technique and it doesn't lead to improvement in a few days, try something else, until you find something that works.  Never lose your temper; it isn’t necessary, and it doesn't do any good.

If none of these things work you may want to consult a professional trainer or your veterinarian to help you determine the cause and help find a solution.