Even though barking is your dog’s natural way to communicate with you, it can be utterly frustrating. So how to get a dog to stop barking? 

Imagine it’s Friday, and you’re back from work. All you want is to watch TV with a glass of wine and enjoy a peaceful evening. And then your dog starts barking uncontrollably at seemingly nothing.

As much as you want to close the door and pretend not to hear your pooch’s lullaby, you can’t. What do you do? How do you change this nuisance behavior without ruining your relationship with your doggy?

To find a solution, you should first know the basics:

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Strangely enough, dogs didn’t always bark. When they were first domesticated, 20–40,000 years ago, canines behaved largely like their wolf cousins. They would howl, growl, and whine. 

Since people needed dogs to guard and warn them of danger, generation after generation, dogs were slowly bred to bark.  

But what about now? Most pet owners no longer keep their dogs for guarding. And that’s why barking has turned into an issue. If you want to learn how to get a dog to stop barking, you should first understand the cause behind the behavior.

Greeting Barking

It’s usually triggered by your puppy’s excitement to see you and means: “Hello, I missed you! Now come here and pet me!”

Greeting barking is harmless, typically accompanied by a wagging tail, jumping, and sniffing. It’s the same reason dogs bark at other dogs in the park — a simple way to say hi.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Other Dogs — Socially Facilitated Barking

It’s similar to the greeting barking. But instead of greeting you, your doggie’s greeting their dog pals.

Socially facilitated barking is induced by the dog’s need to connect with its species. It usually starts when your pooch hears the barks of another doggie. Their lively exchange quickly transforms a quiet night into a party.

Play Barking

If you often wonder how to get your dog to stop barking while on a walk or playing with other dogs, your pet’s probably a play barker. It’s a typical behavior in breeds historically bred for herding. They love being in control of the situation.

Play barking is also a lot similar to greeting barking. Both come from excitement and joy. It’s harmless but can be embarrassing at times.

Boredom Barking

This type of barking is among the common dog behavior issues owners face. Unfortunately, it’s monotonous and can go on for hours. If that’s happening, your dog probably doesn’t get enough exercise, attention, and mental stimulation. Your puppy barks just to pass the time. 

Attention-Seeking Barking

You’re quietly working on your desk and enjoying the afternoon sun with a cup of coffee, when out of nowhere, your dog starts barking at you, jumping, or chasing its tail.

Attention-seeking barking is a learned behavior. It means your puppy thinks the only way to get you to play is by yelling at you. If you want to stop attention dog barking, ignore your pooch when it barks at you and play with it when it’s calm.

A chained dog barking in from of its dog house

Territorial Barking

Dogs are territorial animals. They’ve been bred to protect their owners’ homes. A territorial barker would alarm you every time a person or animal is walking by or entering your house.

But if your dog wasn’t socialized properly in the first few months of its life, this behavior can get aggressive.  

Compulsive Barking

Does your dog bark at falling leaves, mirrors, or the rain? Do repetitive movements like spinning and jumping accompany that? Then, your dog is most probably a compulsive barker.

It might be caused by loneliness, boredom, lack of exercise. or proper socialization

Demand Barking

If your dog won’t stop barking at you when it’s mealtime or when they want you to take it outside or to pet it — your dog is a demand barker.

It’s a behavior usually reinforced by owners. If you’ve ever rewarded your dog’s demands with attention, food, or walks, be sure that next time it’ll bark even louder at you. Vocalization is your pet’s way of telling you to do something for it.

Frustration-Induced Barking

Frustration barking is usually induced by miscommunication between an owner and their dog.

If you’re constantly telling your puppy what not to do without giving it a task, your pet won’t know what you want. It leads to confusion and subsequent frustration.

Doggies also bark in frustration when they can’t get something they want — like the chirping birds on the window or a squirrel in the park.

Why Do Dogs Bark at People?

Barking at people can be a greeting, demand, or cry for attention. But if your doggy looks fearful or aggressive, it might be a more serious problem that needs immediate attention.

In a fearful situation, your pup has three options — fight, run away, or freeze. Most dogs don’t like fighting, so they try to escape. But if your pet is confined or on a leash, it has no choice but to bark and bite.

Over time, such situations could stress your dog and result in aggression. When you’re already past the barking stage, it’s best to contact a professional animal behaviorist for advice.

A black dog standing on rocks and barking

Separation Anxiety Barking

When training a dog to stop barking, you should first analyze the situation that makes it act out. If your puppy starts barking, whining, or destroying shoes immediately after you leave it alone, you’re probably dealing with separation anxiety.

Many dog owners were forced to spend a lot of time at home during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While this wasn’t ideal for us, our furry companions had the time of their lives. Since they were with us non-stop, our doggies got used to having company.

When we finally got back to work, they felt lonelier than ever. Separation anxiety can strike in such cases. It’s difficult to treat, so it’s best to contact a specialist for this issue.

Health Problems

If your dog won’t stop barking for no reason, it might be trying to tell you that something hurts.

A bee sting, arthritis, undetected wound, or even brain disease might cause a dog to bark. It’s always worth checking with your vet if you suspect your pet’s in pain.

How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking

Trying to stop a dog from barking entirely isn’t a good idea. After all, it’s their “language” and a way to express emotions.

But all dog owners can agree that excessive barking can be incredibly annoying. So, how do you teach your dog not to yell every time it’s startled, excited, or annoyed?

Remove the Trigger

The best way to stop a barking dog is to remove the trigger causing the unpleasant behavior.

One way to achieve that is to move your dog’s bed to a different room or take it on a walk during a less busy time of the day. You can even install a fence to prevent it from barking at the window.

Teach the “Quiet” Cue

Among the different ways to stop dogs from barking, a very effective and not too complicated one is to teach them the “Quiet” cue.

Every time your dog starts barking, tell it “Shh” or “Quiet.” If it stops, even for a second, quickly praise it and give it a treat. Then, assign your pet a task, like “Go to your place,” “Lay down,” or “Bring me your toy.” If you don’t give it something else to focus on, the barking will just resume.

Over time, your pooch will learn to obey, and you’ll be able to enjoy your book or movie without the vocalization of your beloved fluff. 

Acclimate Dog to Sights and Sounds

When you’re training a dog to stop barking, exposure therapy is one of the first things to consider.

It’s highly beneficial for your puppy to get exposed to as many people, places, animals, and situations as possible early in life. That’s how your pet will see there’s nothing to be afraid of and get enough interactions.

Acclimating your pup to different sounds is also essential. You can use YouTube videos of doorbells, birds, dogs, and children. Turn them on and off throughout the day, and watch your puppy become less and less bothered by them. 

A sad looking brown puppy lying on a bed.

How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking When Left Alone?

Set up a safe space for your dog to use when left alone. That will reduce your puppy’s anxiety caused by your absence.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to leave your bestie with something to do while you’re gone. Dog toys that are chewable or stuffed with frozen peanut butter or yogurt are both yummy and entertaining. 

Ignore the Barking

If you’re dealing with a demand barker, try and ignore the barking as much as possible. Don’t look at your dog, don’t talk to it, and, most importantly, don’t give your pet what they’re barking for.

To stop demanding dog barking, reward your puppy while it’s calm. If your pet’s barking to let it out of a room, ignore that and open the door only after it stops.

How to Train a Dog to Stop Barking

A smart training tip is to ask your dog for an incompatible behavior. If Pooch is barking at the door, tell him to come to you or to lay down.

Barking would also be difficult if your dog is carrying a toy in its mouth. Just be careful if you’re in the park with other dogs — sometimes puppies become overly protective of their toys.

Exercise Your Dog

An exhausted dog won’t bark. They’ll also be more prone to sleeping at night instead of howling at the moon.

Exercise is vital for dogs and humans alike and should not be overlooked. Take your pup running with you or play fetch in the park. The options are endless.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Compulsive Barking?

Playing mental enrichment games like “Hide and seek” or “Find the treat” can be highly beneficial for your compulsive barker. Attention and toys for mental stimulation can make a huge difference.

The balance between physical and mental exercise is key.

Stay Calm When Trying to Stop Dog Barking.

If your dog’s barking with excitement, shouting at it won’t work. It might think you’re joining the song and continue even louder. 

By staying calm, you’ll show your doggy that you’re in control of the situation. The chances of your pet listening to your “Quiet” cue is much higher if you’re not emotional.

How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking at People

My dog would bark at my friends when we hug and laugh because he thinks we’re about to start fighting. So how can you teach your pet not to do that?

Stake your claim to show it these people are your friends and not a threat.

But if your dog’s barking at strangers, you should contact a specialist and try to modify the behavior through positive reinforcement.

How to Stop Your Dog From Barking At Other Dogs

The first step is to identify the reason why your pet does that.

If it’s barking out of fear, try to find some dogs your puppy feels safe around. Then, slowly start introducing other dogs to the “pack.”

If your dog’s barking from excitement, give it the “Quiet” cue and don’t let it near the other dogs until it calms down. That’s how your dog will learn that barking won’t help it get what it wants.

How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking During Crate Training

Crate training is a fantastic tool for dog house training. But some dogs don’t like being left alone in their crates at the beginning, so they’ll bark and whine just to get your attention.

One way of dealing with this problem is to ignore them. If you reward the behavior, your dog will know that shouting results in attention and freedom from the crate. That’s one of the most effective tips on crate training.

How to Get a Scared Dog to Stop Barking

Some dogs, especially the small breeds, often start barking when scared. The behavior usually results from improper socialization or a traumatic experience. It’s a defense mechanism aiming to remove the threat.

If that’s the case, work on desensitizing your puppy by slowly confronting the fear-inducing situation, person, or animal. Take your time, and don’t force your pet to go near the object if it’s still not ready.

Dog barking remedies such as CBD oil, calming music, and anti-anxiety clothing can also help to prevent fear barking.  

Do Bark Collars Work?

These collars react to the vibrations your dog produces when barking. Then, they spray your dog’s nose with citronella, which is highly unpleasant for them. Other collars might make high-pitched sounds or shock your dog with electricity.

Either way, bark collars are a cruel way to make your dog stop barking. Punishment is never the answer to behavioral problems and can only escalate them. 

If you can’t manage your dog’s barking, contact a certified dog trainer. They’ll help you find an effective and humane solution.

How to Get a Guard Dog to Stop Barking?

A guard dog’s job is to alert you when someone is getting near or inside your home. But sometimes, dogs take their job way too seriously and start barking at everything that comes closer to their territory. 

To make your pet stop barking excessively, you could block their view of the front door or window. Another trick is playing some calming music to diffuse the outside noise.

Visit the Vet

If you’ve tried everything and your dog still barks way too much, maybe it’s trying to signal you that it’s in pain. Also, your pet might not fully realize that it’s barking. Some mental conditions like canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) can cause this. So if you can’t stop dog barking, visit the vet.

Debarking Surgery

While surgically disabling your dog from barking is a way to decrease the noise, it should never be your first choice.

Debarking doesn’t deal with the problem. It only disables your dog from showing the symptoms. Barking is your pooch’s way to communicate, and it’s inhumane to take that away from them.

Surgical interventions also come with many possible complications, so it’s best to avoid them if not necessary.   

Two white dogs barking angrily at each other.

What Not to Do

Barking can be frustrating. Still, if you want to learn how to prevent a dog from barking, don’t do the following:

  • Punish your dog. It’ll only worsen the situation by making your pet more anxious. In some dogs, that can even result in aggression and lifelong trauma.
  • Yell at your dog. Your pup doesn’t speak human. It won’t know what you’re saying and will feel threatened. You don’t want to risk ruining your friendship. 
  • Imprison them. You can’t stop dog barking this way. Loneliness and lack of exercise will only lead to more issues. 
  • Put on a muzzle. As soon as you remove the muzzle, your pup will start acting out again.

Conclusion

Dogs bark when they’re excited, sad, bored, or lonely. It’s their way of telling us they’re in pain or happy to see us. So when wondering how to get a dog to stop barking, it’s vital to understand the reason for this behavior first.

You can train your dog not to bark every time it sees something new or frightening. Teaching the “Quiet” cue and ignoring your furry companion until it calms down is among the most useful tactics for dealing with barking.

That said, when barking results from deeper issues like separation anxiety or improper early socialization, it’s crucial to contact a specialist. They’ll make sure you know exactly how to overcome your doggy’s problems.

Q&A

How to get a dog to stop barking at night?

First, exercise your dog before bedtime to tire it out. It’ll also help it fall asleep more easily.

Second, ignore the barking. Reward your pup immediately after it stops barking to show that’s the desirable behavior.

Last but not least, give your dog a snuggle toy with a warming pad to keep them company.  

How to get a dog to stop barking at the door?

Give your pet something else to do. Tell it to bring you a toy, or lay down. You should also try and teach the “Quiet” cue by rewarding your pup every time it stops barking.

If your dog is crate trained, you can also tell it to go to its crate.

How to get a dog with separation anxiety to stop barking?

In most cases, providing a toy stuffed with tasty frozen peanut butter right before you leave will help your doggy make a positive association with your absence. It’s an example of counterconditioning, where your pet learns that scary situations can be beneficial, too.

But if this doesn’t help, you should contact an animal behavior specialist.

How to get a dog to stop barking during meal times?

Start by taking your dog to another room for the duration of your meal. When you’re done, go to it, and reward it for staying quiet.

After a while, allow your pet in the same room on the condition that it stays in its bed. As always, don’t forget to reward good behavior.

How to get a dog to stop barking in the car?

If your dog lacks exercise, it might bark more than usual. Use exercise to drain some of its energy before a car ride. Then provide a food puzzle to keep it entertained and occupied.

Go for a short drive first, and then slowly start increasing the time spent in the car.

How to stop excessive barking in old dogs?

Seeing your dog get older can be heartbreaking. Its hearing and sight worsen while its hair starts changing color. Besides, barking, howling, and whining become more frequent.

Calming treats for dogs in addition to a healthy diet and daily exercise can work wonders in decreasing excessive barking. So learn how to get a dog to stop barking early on and avoid dealing with excessive barking later.

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Miglena loves spending time with friends and talking about science over a glass of wine. Born and raised in a small town, she’s always been surrounded by animals. Cats, dogs, chickens, cows, and goats have all been her companions from an early age. Her passion for the animal kingdom became even stronger after she went to study microbiology in Scotland. Miglena’s love for writing, combined with her curiosity, makes her a valuable member of the pawsome advice team.