Barking is a totally natural behaviour for dogs, but humans don’t always appreciate it. In your dog’s head, however, there’s a good reason to bark, so the first thing to do is figure out why he wants to bark in what you consider the most inappropriate times.
If you are not home while the barking is going on, you may need to stage a scenario over the weekend to find out why. Pretend that you are leaving and then sneak back to spy on the dog.
Does he bark at every movement he sees through the window and every sound he hears? An simple fix for this is to block the view. Close the curtains. Confine him to a part of the house that doesn’t have windows he can see through or if he a kennelled dog, or fenced-in garden, keep him indoors rather than leaving him outside all day. He won’t bark at what he does not see. Play some music or the television, loud enough to cover outside noises, but not so loud as to annoy the neighbours!
If the dog seems to be barking at nothing, he’s probably bored. Boredom, is normally due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation, and is possibly the biggest reason for excessive barking. Be honest about whether your dog is getting enough. How would you feel if you were locked up at home all day with nothing to entertain you? You’d get bored pretty fast.
A young, energetic dog craves lots of exercise and attention from you. Half and hour to an hour of vigorous exercise first thing in the day will go a long way toward helping your dog settle. For the first couple weeks, you may need to have someone come halfway through the day to exercise him again.
Food puzzle toys and hollow rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats are great amusement for dogs. They give your dog something fun to do while you are gone. Keep a couple on hand so you can leave one for him every day. It’s okay if he gets most of his meals this way. He’s working for his food!
Does your dog bark for attention? Don’t give him any! Ever! – even reprimands count as attention. He has no idea yet what “quiet” means; and yelling “quiet!” will only make it worse. He’ll think you’re joining in the barking game and warning the rest of the pack. Reward him with your attention when he’s calm and not making any noise. Teach a trigger for being quiet. It’s a good trick to have in your dog’s bag for when he’s out with you and barking isn’t welcome.
Here’s How to Teach Your Dog a Trigger To Stop Barking:
Have some high-value treats ready – small and soft so they can be eaten quickly. When the dog is barking, just wait for them to stop. When they do stop, wait a bit, praise, and give them a treat. Gradually increase the time they must be quiet before rewarding them. If they start barking, take a few steps backward and make the duration less. Once they seem to be understanding, add a word – hush, quiet, whatever works for you, just use “No”, but be consistent with what you use.
It is unreasonable to expect your dog to never bark as barking is the way they communicate with the world, but you can teach them some control.
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