Dog Barking Training

If your pet's barking is driving you crazy, you may need to do a little dog barking training. The method you use will largely depend on the reason why your dog is barking, so try to determine a pattern before you begin training.

No Bark Command

No matter why your dog is barking, you're probably going to want to use the "no bark" or "quiet" command in your training. Many people try to use this command, but they do so without teaching their dog what it means. If you are just yelling out, "Quiet," but have not taught your dog what response you would like when you say it, he thinks you're just barking with him.

Start a game with your dog that will make him bark. Stop playing and say "Quiet" or "No bark." Stand still and wait for your dog to stop and look at you. When he is quiet, praise and reward with a treat. Be very excited that your dog listened. Repeat until your dog is starting and stopping quickly.

Next time your dog barks unprovoked, say "Quiet" just once in the same tone in which you trained him. When your dog is quiet, give a big reward of praise and treats. Once your dog is good at this, you can wean off the treats by only giving them every once and awhile.

Territorial Barking

If your dog is barking at perceived threats on the property, this may not be something that you want to discourage. Thus, when your dog barks, get up and pretend to look outside. Turn to your dog, say "Thank you, good boy" and go back to what you were doing. This sends the message that you have handled the situation.

If your dog does not stop barking when you say, "Thank you," then use the "No bark" or "Quiet" command." Reward when he is finally quiet.

Fear Barking

If your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety, just using the "Quiet" command may not be effective because it doesn't cure your dog's stress. Instead, you need to teach your dog an alternate response.

Teach the "No bark" command. When your dog barks, use the command. Keep a leash on your dog when you're home. If he can't stop barking, lead him to his crate or the quietest room in the house. Close the door. Let him out only when the barking stops. His reward is then rejoining the family.

Eventually, your dog will learn that this is his safe room, where he can go when he's frightened, and will choose this response rather than barking.

On-Leash Reactivity

The "Quiet" command is less effective on walks because owners don't practice outside. Dogs don't generalize as people do, so if you want your dog to stop barking on leash, you have to practice your commands outside.

To do this, stand as far from a dog as you need to for your dog to notice but not bark. Give a command to look at you and then "Quiet." As long as your dog doesn't bark, reward with treats. If he starts to bark, turn abruptly and walk the other way. Ignore your dog until the barking stops.

Gradually build up your distance to the dog. If you move slowly, your dog will learn the command well enough to walk past a dog without barking.

By practicing these methods at your dog's speed, you will be able to reduce or eliminate your barking dog problem.