Dog Barking Problems

Dog barking problems can be annoying for both you and your neighbors. Excessive barking can be caused by fear, territoriality, stress or boredom, and the best way to treat it is to solve the underlying problem.

Fear of Noises

Many dogs bark because they are afraid of noises. If your dog is barking at a window or fence, reduce access to that spot when you're not home. Give your dog a quiet room in the back of the house where he can go to relax. Play the radio or television and install a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheromones into the air.

When you are home, teach your dog to respond to a no-bark command. When a scary noise starts, feed your dog special treats for remaining calm and focusing on you. In between treats, give a command, such as "watch" or "quiet" or "stop." If your dog ever starts barking, stop giving treats.

Once you have practiced this frequently, start saying the command first. If your dog responds, give treats and praise. If not, lead him to his quiet place and leave him in there until he is calm. Repeat this each time your dog barks until he can stop barking on command.


Working with territoriality works much the same way. However, before saying your command, look out the window to justify your dog's instinct. Say "thank you" for guarding you and then give your command. If he listens, give him a treat and more praise. If not, lead him to a timeout spot.

To practice this, you can play with him in a way that gets him barking. When he stops, say the command and reward by continuing the game.

Stress and Anxiety

If your dog gets nervous when you leave, give him something fun to do right when you leave and desensitize to your leaving cues.

True separation anxiety is rare, so stress barking can often be solved by distracting your dog when you leave. Throw his food across the room so he has to hunt for it or give him a special bone or hollow toy stuffed with treats and peanut butter. This should be a treat he only gets when you're gone.

If he is too stressed to eat, get him accustomed to relaxing in a room where he can't see you leave. Do this when you are home and continue watching television. Start small and build up time slowly. Once he can tolerate that, add your leaving cues, such as picking up your keys and purse and then putting them back down and staying home. Slowly build up to walking out and then back in. Then leave for short periods of time.


If your dog is barking out of boredom, give him something to do when you're gone, such as hunting for his food or toys stuffed with treats that you have hidden or giving him toys that spit out kibble or are stuffed with treats and frozen.

If he is barking for attention, ignore it. Do not talk to him. That will validate the barking. Either lead him to a timeout without talking or just walk around as if he doesn't exist. When he is quiet, praise and pet him.

There is always a reason why your dog is barking. To solve a barking problem, solve the underlying behavior issue.