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How to Stop a Dog from Barking

 how to stop a dog from barking header

One of the biggest advantages that pugs have as a breed is that we’re not big barkers.  However, this is definitely not the case with most other dog breeds, and I’ve been told many times how much excessive barking can bother humans.  If your dog is an excessive barker, what can be done about this?


The first thing you need to understand is why your dog is barking in the first place.  There could be many reasons, but the most common are attention, anxiety, boredom, aggression, and hunger.  You need to analyze your dog’s temperament, as well as its environment to determine what exactly is causing the barking.  This is the only way that you’ll be able to figure out the best way to temper it.


Let’s say that your dog is very territorial, and is constantly barking at the dog next door.  In this situation, you may want to consider reworking your yard so that your dog can’t see the other dog (admittedly, re-working the yard may require a bit of work).  Another case may be that your dog is simply bored outside.  This may make him anxious, which causes him to bark.  In this case, it’s important to let your dog inside so that it can interact with your family.  This should lessen your dog’s boredom and anxiety, which should result in less barking.


If your dog is barking for attention, it is important not to reinforce this behaviour.  If your dog is barking, give him a command such as “quiet” or “enough”.  When he sits, at this point try and figure out what he wants and give it to him (it could be hunger, attention, desire to get out of a crate, etc).  The key thing is that you don’t want to reinforce the direct link between the barking and what the dog wants.  The reward should only come after he has obeyed one of your commands and is quiet.


One thing you will never want to do under any circumstances is to yell at your dog when he is barking.  Your dog will thing you are joining him in barking and are in fact encouraging it.  Not a good idea.pugs don't bark


Ultimately, it is not possible to change your dog’s nature.  It’s not possible to transform a yappy dog into a hush puppy.  What you can do, however, is to teach them to stop barking on command.  One good technique is to let your dog bark a couple of times, and then grab onto their snout so that they can’t bark.  At this point issue a command such as “quiet” or “enough”.  Once your dog is quiet, try and figure out if he wants anything.  If you do this consistently, it won’t be long before grabbing the snout will be unnecessary.


Another useful anti-barking training method is to get a plastic spray bottle and fill it with water as well as a spoonful of something distasteful, like lemon juice or water.  If your dog starts barking, issue the stop barking command (either “quiet” or “enough”).  If your dog does not stop, give him a spray of the water mixture in the face.  Try and do it by holding the bottle close to your waist, so that your dog is not completely sure where it is coming from (he should be looking at your face after you issue the command).  It should not take long for your dog to figure out what he needs to do to avoid that spray.


If you try this spray technique, make sure the water bottle you use does use a spray, and not a forceful stream.  A stream can be very painful if it hits the dog in the eyes and is not necessary to achieve the desired result.


- Grover


PS - If you are still having trouble getting your dog to stop barking, you will want to check out the dogClick here to check out Dove's program training program that Dove Cresswell has put together.  Dove is a professional dog trainer working in Hollywood North (otherwise known as Vancouver, my hometown!).  She's trained dogs for television and film, and her course uses online training video's to make things really clear.  Click here or on the picture to the right to learn more.