Five Ways to Stop Excessive Barking

Dog owners may encounter the problem of excessive barking at some point during their dog's lifetime. Though this behavioral issue can be a symptom of a health or mental problem, excessive barking is usually caused by something in the dog's living environment. A pet owner can often resolve barking problems by making a few changes in their dog's daily life.

Environmental Enrichment

A busy dog is a quiet dog. Dogs need a variety of toys and chews, so keep 20 or so on hand and give them to your dog in groups of four or five. Change them out every two or three days and add new ones as the old ones wear out. Feeding your dog his daily food portion from interactive food dispensing toys is a great way to keep him busy. You may even wish to hide them behind furniture or shrubbery so that he can have the fun of hunting for his food.


A tired dog is a happy dog. Sometimes excessive barking is caused from a lack of adequate exercise. Adding a few extra blocks to your daily walk or twenty minutes of playing fetch to your dog's exercise routine can make him feel calm and satisfied.

Do not Allow Barking Practice

If your dog barks at people passing by, restrict his access to windows, gates and doors where he practices this behavior. This may sometimes mean that you will need to kennel train your dog. By keeping your dog away from the things that cause him to bark, he will bark less often and find other things to do with his time.

Keep the Environment Calm

When a dog barks at people entering your home, ignore him and insist that others do not acknowledge him while he is barking. Praise him and pet him when he is quiet. Do not encourage the barking by yelling at your dog, or speaking to him while he is barking.

Train a "Quiet" Command

You can teach your dog to be quiet on cue by teaching him the word when he is not barking. Say "quiet" and then give him a treat. Do this training exercise in sets of five three times per day. The next time he has a barking episode, say the word "quiet" and give him praise and a treat when he is silent. This method requires time and patience, but is well worth the effort if it helps your dog to behave properly.

When All Else Fails

If simple solutions do not eliminate the problem of excessive barking, you may need to discuss the issue with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. A professional can help you figure out the cause of the issue and offer a solution appropriate for your dog and individual circumstances. It can be dangerous to use aversive methods such as shock collars for dog barking problems without knowing the motivation for the barking. If your dog has anxiety, aversive methods may stop the barking but can cause new behavioral problems such as destructive chewing, self-mutilation or aggression.