Tips to reduce barking

Maybe they bark at the neighbor’s dog or people walking down the street. Or perhaps even at random sounds they hear in the house.
I’m sure you’re tired of scolding or telling your dog to hush. Maybe you’ve even tried a bark collar (which I do NOT recommend for several reasons).

Excessive barking can get annoying fast!

Barking can be a fun pastime for the bored dog. But it’s important to understand WHY your dog is barking to make lasting change. It’s also important to remember that dogs’ barking is a natural behavior. Some breeds even more so than others. And some dogs learn that barking at you gets your attention, making it extra reinforcing! However, the barking is often rooted in feelings of insecurity.

Like in the case of the German Shepherd puppy in the video we posted on our Instagram on May 15th, 2021. She fears other dogs, and the barking dog next door is frightening.

In the video, you’ll see the puppy respond to the verbal signal “leave it” even when she is in the middle of charging/barking at the fence. Pretty impressive! She turns on a dime and makes her way back to her handler for further instruction. But it didn’t start this way. She first learned the “leave it” skill indoors in various contexts before she understood it outside.

Additional tips to reduce barking

Increase mentally stimulating activities by feeding your dog with puzzles and food toys.
You can also hide food or treats in your house for your dog to find when you aren’t around.
Anticipate your dog’s needs and intervene before they bark.
Apply contact paper to your front window to prevent your dog from looking out and waiting to bark at something.
Give your dog daily exercise in the form of sniffer walks, structured walks, tug games, or swimming.
Build your dog’s confidence with various enrichment games.

Please do not give your dog attention when they bark. Instead, remove your attention from your dog immediately. When they are quiet, you may look at them again.