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Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Training Tip: How to Control Excessive Barking Behavior in Dogs

Owning a pet brings great joy to your life, but every animal can always use a little bit of extra help in how to behave properly. We want to make sure you have the necessary resources to build a happy relationship between you and your pet.

Does your dog ever bark excessively? Though barking may be an annoyance, occasional barking—at appropriate times—is positive and healthy for your dog. When barking becomes non-stop or excessive, it’s important to gain control of the situation before it gets out of hand. Assess your dog’s situation and take the proper course of action from there. Dogs may bark excessively for one of the following reasons:

  • Boredom: If you leave your dog outside for hours she may bark to amuse herself. In this case it may be an easy fix; try to spend more time engaging with your dog in outdoor activities to relieve her boredom.
  • Separation Anxiety: If you have a new dog, try to slowly build up the time you are away. Providing your dog with a crate is a good idea because she will see it as a safe hideaway when you are not around.
  • Guarding Territory: The presence of strangers, including the mailman, other dogs, or the neighbors next door, can all trigger barking.

As previously stated, barking can be okay at times, like when a stranger enters your home, but other times it should be discouraged. In order to control excessive barking, you dog needs to learn when barking is acceptable and when it is not. This takes consistency in training on your part. The folks at the Humane Society of the US recommend using a “Quiet” command, in which your dog will learn that it is OK to bark, until you command him to stop by following these steps:

  1. When your dog begins to bark, praise her for alerting you, but follow with the “Quiet” command.
  2. At the same time, hold out a treat and praise her for not barking. After a few seconds of no barking, give her the treat.
  3. The next time she barks, require her to stop for a slightly longer period before giving the treat.
  4. Reward her each time she is told to stop barking and succeeds.
  5. If she barks even after you have issued the command, reprimand her immediately. This can be a splash of water in the face, or a very loud command of “Quiet.”
  6. Your dog will most likely be startled by your reaction, and…stop barking. As soon as she stops, immediately reward her.
  7. After enough repetitions, your dog will learn the meaning of the command, “Quiet.” Treats and training props will no longer be necessary.
  8. Maintain consistency and patience to get the best results. If the problem persists, you may want to consult a professional.

By following these steps it is possible to control excessive barking with your dog, and maybe you can reward them with a new toy or treat. Do you have any tips that have worked for you in controlling excessive barking? Please let us know in the comments section.

If there are any training tips you would like to see covered on our blog, let us know. We would love to help!