How to train a dog not to bark – A few tips
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Every dog barks, it is only natural and it can be a way for them to communicate what they are feeling. Excessive barking, however, can be disruptive to your home and to those around you. If your dog is an excessive barker and it is causing problems, here are four tips on how to train a dog not to bark.
Tip 1: Identify the problem
In order to correct excessive barking, it is important for you to learn your dog’s triggers. What has your dog so worked up? This will require you to pay close attention to when and why your dog is barking. For instance, if your dog barks at people or dogs passing by your house then that is his trigger. If the doorbell rings and your dog goes on a barking spree, that is his trigger.
Once you have identified the cause, you can begin working on a solution. To correct this behavior it is important that you are patient and consistent. If you live in a household with multiple people, everyone within the household needs to use the same commands and methods in order to create consistency.
Tip 2: On-the-spot correction
Dogs do not have a strong short-term memory. This is why punishing or scolding a dog long after he has done something wrong is utterly useless and, in some cases, even harmful to the dog’s confidence and training. Simply put, when your dog barks, correct him immediately.
One effective way to do this is to remove your dog from the situation as soon as the barking occurs. For instance, if your dog sits by the window and barks at someone passing by, start by using the command, “quiet”, and move your dog away from the window. Having a doggy bed or mat is a great way to center your dog. After giving the “quiet” command, have your dog lay in his bed and wait for you to give the command that it is ok to get up. Repeat this step as many times as you have to in order to teach your dog the new command and to remove him from the trigger.
Tip 3: Catch your dog before he barks
This is an important step that can make training your dog not to bark much easier. It will require a lot of close attention to your dog’s behavior but will be well worth it when you have a quiet, calm dog. If you observe your dog, you will probably notice that he has the same behavior just before he starts barking.
If he sees something he may get up, focus on the object and begin barking. The key is to catch him just before he barks. When you notice that he is being triggered, redirect him immediately. You can either make a, “tsk” sound to refocus his attention on you or physically have him get in his bed. The reason that this method is so effective is that it addresses not just the barking behavior but also the moment just before he barks. It will deter him from having the urge even before it occurs.
Tip 4: A calm environment is a bark-free environment
Remember that dogs can feel our energy and derive their own responses based on our state of mind. In all of the tips above, remember to be calm and patient. The idea is to create a calm environment for your dog where he doesn’t feel compelled to bark. When you correct behavior, do so in a relaxed manner. It can be extremely frustrating at times but remember, the more worked up or excited you are, the more excited your dog will be.
If you have a dog that barks at night or when you are away, it might not be a bad idea to invest in crate training. Though this method is most commonly associated with potty training, it can be a wonderful tool for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, a leading cause of barking while you are away.
If you introduce your dog to the concept in a positive way, he will learn to love his crate and will eventually view it as his own little sanctuary. This is a great way to give your dog a safe, secure place for him to be when it is bedtime or you are away from home and will make him much less likely to bark.
Excessive barking is one of the most common and frustrating behaviors dogs exhibits. Remember that time, patience, consistency and a positive environment will make it much easier to turn your barking dog into a happy, quiet dog.
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