I’ve been researching expert tips to stop dog barking because my Goldendoodle puppy, Kai, has started a bad habit of barking out our front window. So I decided to turn to dog training experts to give me the best advice on stopping unwanted dog barking. To summarize everything I learned I created this video along with my summary below. After trying many techniques, I found a few that were especially helpful, and I wanted to share them here.
Because Kai is only six months old, I know I have time to address this problem early before this barking issue turns into a major problem. The problem started because Kai gets very excited by things that go on outside of our window on the street. I know this is a natural behavior because he wants to alert us. After my research, I learned there are many causes of dog barking, and many approaches to solving the problem of unwanted barking. They all take time and consistency, so we’re still in process, but I feel much better knowing I have a plan to follow.
So, here’s a summary of what I’ve been doing to help solve Kai’s barking.
Table of Contents
Alert Barking and How To Stop It
When the doorbell rings or when the postal carrier is approaching, it’s normal that your dog wants to alert you that someone is there. Dogs’ ears are so sensitive that even a small noise can make them want to alert you. But this can become a nuisance if you can’t get it to stop. One of the best tips I learned is that it helps if you reassure your dog by checking out what may be going on. When he sees that you’re protecting the area too, he’ll feel safer and won’t feel like he has to constantly alert you.
Give Your Pup A Smaller Area to Control Barking
You also may need to make your dog’s world a little smaller, so that there aren’t as many distractions that lead to barking. For example, I blocked off the area by our front window, so that Kai can’t sit there looking for something to bark at. This prevents those fits where he starts barking at a jogger coming by which can at least limit some of that behavior. By providing a safe and secure space, it gives him the space to relax and remain calm.
Teach the Leave-It Command
However, in order to minimize or eventually eliminate these kinds of outbursts, it’s also important to let him get acclimated to having people walk by the house. This is when anticipating barking before it starts can be one of the most effective ways to train your dog to stop barking. Here’s what I learned to do: When I see someone is walking by the house, I will have treats ready in hand. As soon as Kai’s ears perk up, and he looks like he’s about to bark, I’ll give him a treat and say, “Leave it.” I’ll keep giving him a treat and say, “Leave it” until the person is out of sight. The reason this works is that it’s almost impossible for him to bark when he’s smelling or eating. It also reinforces the positive behavior of being quiet. You can do the same thing when you’re out walking on the leash. It allows me to intervene early and get his attention on me before the outbursts occur.
Working with Kai in this way has put me in a much better position to work on other behavior issues in the future. I’ve found it to work really well! I know it will take a lot of repetition until he consistently learns good behavior whenever he encounters these triggers. I’m under no illusion that this particular technique is going to solve everything, but I feel like it’s helped so much. I also know that he’s still young and that he’ll grow out of this unwanted behavior as he becomes more socialized. It made me feel better to know that extreme barking with a young, unsocialized dog is very common.
The Best Time to Correct Unwanted Barking Is Before It Happens
It’s important to understand that the best time to correct unwanted barking is right before it occurs. I’ve learned some of the signs Kai shows before he starts to bark, and I’ve found it’s the ideal time to intervene, encourage him to look at me, and reward him heavily when he complies. It just takes being patient and consistent. I also make sure I use an enticing reward. This makes it easier to break his attention. I’ve found that having a variety of treats keeps Kai interested, Deli meat, especially bologna, works very well. The goal is to teach him to be quiet for just a split-second and not ask for too much. It’s important to reward any amount of effort. Since Kai already knows how to sit, I tell him to sit with the treat in my hand over his head. This gets the focus off of whatever is going on and onto me.
Does Your Dog Benefit From Barking?
A dog might bark because he’s learned that he gets something from barking. This is known as demand barking. For example, he may be in the habit of dropping a ball in front of you and barking until you throw the ball. Over time, he’s learned that when he barks, he gets that attention. One of the best ways to discourage this type of barking is to turn your back and ignore your dog. Eventually, he will learn that he won’t get that attention. So instead of picking up the ball and throwing it, you would just hold on to the ball and walk away. At first, he will bark again. As soon as there is any silence at all, you can throw the ball. Repeating that process again. He will eventually learn that when he stops barking, he’ll get the ball, and when he starts to bark, he won’t get the attention. It takes patience and practice, but it works.
Teach The Quiet Command
Another useful tip I learned was to teach your dog the “Quiet” command. This is similar to the “Leave-It” command. Here’s an illustration: If your dog barks when the doorbell rings, you pick a word such as “alert” that you’ll say every time the doorbell rings. Then before you answer the door, you say “Quiet” and hold out a treat in your hand in front of his nose. Because dogs can’t bark and smell at the same time, he’ll automatically stop barking. When the treat comes after you say the word “quiet” he will eventually associate being quiet with the treat.
Control Barking With Plenty of Mental and Physical Exercise
Preventing boredom with regular exercise and playtime will go a long way in getting barking under control. Dogs are a lot like children. If you don’t keep them busy and active, they’ll find a way to fill the boredom. Create a plan to make sure your dog gets the exercise and stimulation he needs. Leash walking, chasing a ball, playing tug-of-war with a toy, or active play with other dogs lead to a better behaved and well-adjusted dog. Dogs do well when they have a daily routine, so decide who will be in charge of making it happen and for how long.
I highly recommend all of these expert tips for controlling dog barking. Kai has been responding well to all of them, and I hope they help your dog too.