Although not one of the most important dog training, teaching your dog how to stop barking can be beneficial. Given that dog’s behavior can get you into a lot of trouble with general public and neighbors, you need to teach your dog how to stop doing it in certain situations.
Now, have in mind that barking is a bit different from other habits.
While some of the habits should be completely avoided (like peeing and pooing inside of the house), barking should be allowed to a certain degree.
Always remember that barking is one of the best ways for a dog to communicate. If you prevent it from doing so, it can lead to stress and counterproductive behavior.
Why do dogs bark?
Besides the fact that barking is one of the best ways of communicating with you, it is also part of social behavior. Given that they are pack animals, howling, barking, yelping can be used for a wide range of emotions. These sounds are used for expressing themselves.
Different sounds have different meaning though.
Yelping is a sound that is often used for begging or showing discomfort. It is especially common when an animal is below you in social hierarchy.
On the other hand, we have growling which is more aggressive and challenging. It is also used to show discomfort but in this case there is no trace of submissiveness. Instead, dogs use it as a way of showing that they are ready to fight unless said behavior stops.
Lastly, common bark is used as a notification. It shows excitement and notifies of impending danger. It is much more expressive in nature.
How do you prevent barking?
Use basic training
Like with everything else relating to dogs, it is possible to train your pet how to stop this behavior altogether.
You can do it by incentivizing silence. In other words, when a dog starts barking, find a way to stop it. When it does so, give it a treat.
Find a command that can be used in this particular situation. After that, it is all about adjusting to it and adopting it. Of course, like any other training, it is much better to start it when dog is young.
Affect dog with your own behaviour
As I already mentioned, barking is a really extrovert signal that usually shows us that a dog is stressed, upset, excited or wishes to warn us of something.
No matter the cause, dog will feel elated.
Your job is to bring it down a notch.
Influence a dog with your behavior; instead of yelling at it and getting it more excited or upset, try calming it down with your own demeanor. Dogs are very good at picking up our feelings and if you’re relaxed, they will get relaxed quickly after.
Give it a plastic toy
This is a basic solution that shouldn’t be your ultimate solution.
By giving dog a toy you are effectively preventing it from barking.
While it will shut up dog for a moment, it isn’t something you should use forever. Have in mind that as a dog grows older, it will get tired of toys and it will be a bad way of dealing with the situation. So, training is much better or at least calming a dog down.
Remove the stimuli
When dog barks as a way of warning you of a threat, you need to address it.
By simply checking out the source and showing it to dog, it will become mellow as it realizes that something that presents a threat for it, isn’t threat for you.
Get it used to stimuli
Another good way to reduce frequency of barking is for a dog to get adjusted to stimuli.
For example, if it barks when people come by, you can reduce barking if you constantly bring over friends. This will become regular occurrence for a dog and it will stop perceiving it as a threat.
Similarly, if some casual things get your dog excited up to a point where it barks, introduce these small things or toys over and over until dog gets adjusted and ultimately bored.