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Training Dogs To Bark Less

It’s a fact of life that dog’s bark.  And the list of things that cause a dog to bark is long and glorious:

- Intruders to Your Yard:  It could be anything from the neighbor’s cat to a squirrel or even someone coming to your door.

- Alarm Barking: This is often related to sounds like thunder, fireworks, children playing, package and mail delivery vehicles and trash trucks.

- Getting Your Attention:  Sometimes dogs bark when they need to go out, want their food or water bowl filled up or if they are just bored.

- Hello:  Your dog may bark in the form of a greeting when you come home, regardless of the length of your absence.  

- It’s Just What They Do:  Sometimes barking is simply compulsive barking for no apparent reason.

- Other Dogs:  Sometimes barking may be triggered by other dogs barking in the neighborhood.

- Anxiety:  Dogs that are frustrated by separation and the anxiety associated with it will bark in response to that separation.

For most of the causes on this list, there are a few simple techniques that can help.  Regardless of the technique you use, it is important that you exercise patience, consistency and a calm demeanor.  

A few tips to try:

- If your dog is barking at outside stimuli, consider the following possibilities:

o Close the shades or blinds so that visual stimuli are limited.

o Consider keeping a TV or radio playing in the background to reduce the temptation to bark at outside noises including other dogs in the neighborhood.

o Practice using the “quiet” command with a calm voice along with the use of treats each time your dog stops barking.

- If your dog is barking as a greeting when you come home, to get your attention or for no apparent reason:

o Practice the “quiet” command with a calm voice along with the use of treats each time your dog starts barking.

o Ignore your dog until he/she stops barking and then reward with treats.  

o Be consistent with both of these techniques.  Do not continue talking with your dog, yelling at your dog and providing treats while it is barking.

o In the event that your dog continues to bark for no apparent reason, it may be due to pain or illness.  If your dog is normally not given to random barking, a trip to your veterinarian may be in order.

- If your dog is barking due to anxiety or separation, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian.  There is likely more of an emotional issue involved than can be solved by using the “quiet” technique or ignoring it.

We have just mentioned a few simple techniques here.  We have referenced three articles in the sources below that go into more detail and we recommend that you read each of them to get more detailed information to help you teach your dog to lead a quieter lifestyle.


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