Bijgewerkt: 24 sep 2020
For your dog, barking is a form of communication. Often they do this as a warning, to show their enthusiasm or out of impatience. In situations like these, this often stops fairly quickly. But when your dog starts barking excessively, this could be a nuisance. Both for you as for your neighbours.
Why does my dog bark excessively?
If your dog barks continuously, it’s important to seek the root cause of this behaviour. There is a big chance your dog feels incertain at that moment. By barking he might try to express his uncertainty or frustration. No matter what the cause of the behaviour might be, I advise you to take action immediately.
How do I teach my dog not to bark?
When your dog is barking, do not give him any treats to try and quiet him down. Though he might stop barking for a second to swallow the treat, you are rewarding the behaviour. This will then probably result in stimulating the barking.
So what should you do?
There are multiple ways to teach your dog not to bark. Depending on your dog and situation one method might be more effective than the other.
Marking the unwanted behaviour: When your dog is barking to, for example, try and claim your attention, you have the possibility to mark the bad behaviour. In this case, you could use a redirection word like ‘no’ or ‘quiet’. The moment your dog stops barking, you reward him. This teaches him a queue to be silent and gives you more control over the barking.
Barking on command: Another way is to first teach your dog to bark on command. You can do this by getting the dog excited and in a situation where he is likely to bark. Whenever he barks, you give the command, ‘speak’ for example, praise and reward him (something like: ‘speak, yes, good boy’). Once he gets the hang of barking on command, you can start using a ‘stop’ or ‘quiet’ command. This way your dog learns to stop barking when you tell him to. From that moment on it will be easier to communicate to your dog in which situations he is allowed to bark.
Ignoring: This method works fine when the behaviour isn’t too extreme. By ignoring the dog, he will probably stop the behaviour. You only give attention to your dog when he has stopped barking. Your attention will be the reward, stop giving attention will be the ‘punishment’. When the behaviour is already deeply rooted, this method might not be successful.
Exercise your dog
In many cases, the main root for the barking behaviour is an excess amount of energy within the dog. Because of this, walking your dog or playing with him more often might solve the problem.
Anti bark collars
In their search for a solution for excessive barking, some dog owners will come across the anti bark collar. This collar works by vibrating, sound, electrical shocks or spraying when your dog barks. Although there is a chance your dog might stop barking because of the negative consequence, this doesn't address the main cause of the barking. It will be important to get to the root of this behaviour and making it clear for your dog barking is not the solution.
My point of view is that you should always, in every situation, work towards a solution together with your dog, because of this I think there are better ways to solve this problem than an anti bark collar. This collar doesn't teach you, neither your dog to better understand one another and solve the situation. By working together to solve this problem, you will grow closer and future problems might get solved easier because of this.
If you are unable to teach your dog not to bark, I advise you to contact a professional dog trainer to help you.