Frustrated by your dog’s barking? Here are some simple tricks to head off the behavior or taking the time to train the dog out of the behavior. Try these tips:
Offer distractions. Bored dogs will be less prone to bark if they are given toys to play with. If your dog is barking due to outside noises, playing the TV or radio while you’re away can drown out those sounds.
Keep your dog active. A tired dog is less likely to have a barking fit. Give your dog regular walks or play fitness games like fetch or Frisbee.
Work your dog’s brain. Obedience training, either in a class or at home, can improve your dog’s ability to discern threats. It also can lay the foundation for other anti-barking solutions that require more intensive training.
Teach the “quiet” command. Train your dog to respond to the word “quiet” by allowing three or four barks, then saying “quiet” in a calm, clear voice. When you say “quiet,” break the barking jag by holding his muzzle gently, dropping a loud object that distracts him or squirting him in the face with a spray bottle of water.
Don’t reward barking. Above everything else, don’t inadvertently encourage barking through your own behavior. Don’t reward barking by giving the dog a treat after he has barked. Only treat when the dog has been quiet. Also, don’t encourage barking at outside noises by asking, “Who’s there?”
Training can be a long process, but in the end you will improve your relationship with your dog and be better able to make sure his needs are met.