Barking is a normal dog behavior. Cats meow, birds sing, and canines bark, whine and howl. Every dog will bark, some more, some less. It is unrealistic to think that you can teach a dog NOT to bark at all. It is desirable though to keep barking under control.
Dogs who are alone and locked up in crates or apartments for a long period of time will eventually start barking as a hobby. Nobody is there to control him, he has a lot of pent-up energy, and so barking becomes an enjoyable distraction. Many dogs that start barking actually continue with that habit, it looks as if they do this just for the fun of it.
Excessive dog barking might also be a sign of separation anxiety. To control barking you have to realize first that the barking is caused by something. Either the dog is bored, frustrated, lonely, frightened, each one of these reasons might trigger barking.
A happy dog that gets lots of attention and exercise is less likely to bark excessively. Spend time with your animal, include 10 minutes of daily dog training, and give him plenty of chances to exercise.
Obedience training is great exercise also. It is very tiring for dogs and can be exhausting also for humans. Most dogs enjoy these exercises with quick commands for come here, sit, stay, heel, down, and are happy to oblige. Don’t forget praises and treats! And change the routine, don’t make training boring.
If your dog is confined to a backyard long periods of time it certainly will need some socializing. Walk your dog in the neighborhood, let him enjoy different smells of different surroundings, meet different people and other animals.
When you are home let your dog stay with you in the house. Some dog owners think that a large yard means a well-exercised dog – wrong. Your dog will most likely sit and lay for hours at the same spot, bored to death. He might get into a digging frenzy and tear your yard apart, out of boredom.
Even in a yard, your dog needs chew bones, and toys to play with. Dogs prefer friends and companions so take your dog at least once a week to a dog park to meet his friends. Dogs who spend an hour in a dog park running and fetching, playing with each other, will be tired enough to forget barking and sleep all night long.
Some dogs go into a barking mode when the doorbell rings, the phone rings, or some stranger just walks by. Since dogs have no idea if barking is a “good” or a “bad” thing you need to teach him when to stop. Let him bark until you give the command “Stop Barking”?
When a dog announces a visitor who rang your doorbell let him bark two-three times and then give the command. This is one of the more difficult training your dog will go through.
You don’t really want your dog NOT to bark at all, you would want him to announce a burglar, a prowler. On the other hand, you allow him to bark but want to be able to stop barking at your command. Your dog can only learn the difference when you are very patient and consistent. Again, as with any training, don’t forget to praise him for a job well done.
I personally use clapping my hands as a signal for my dog to stop barking. He responds better to hand clapping then to a vocal command. You can try, maybe it works for you, and if your dog jumps up to people, check out this post.
If your dog does not at all respond to any commands and keeps barking like a maniac you have only one choice and that is to YELL at him, as loud as you can! Most dogs will be so surprised by your vocal attack that they will stop immediately.
Another way is to use a spray bottle to give the dog a splash of water into the face. Please use this method only when nothing else can stop your dog from barking. The reverse effect might be that your dog fears future bath sessions and gets scared of water.
Don’t expect that bark training will show success within a few days. Be patient, be more patient than ever! This is one of the hardest exercises you will go through with your dog. It sometimes takes weeks and weeks of continuous repetition, especially if the barking has already become a habit. Again, keep praising your dog for every little accomplishment, even if he only stops for 10 seconds at the beginning.
Some dogs, especially the ones with Separation Anxiety or new arrivals (puppies and older dogs) show improvement when you use the Farnam Comfort Zone® with D.A.P Plug-In for Dogs. This plug-in disperses dog-appeasing pheromone, which mimics a natural comforting pheromone produced by dogs. It reduces stress. boredom behavior and is calming. We have tested the product and it really helps!