I try to write my posts as unbiased as possible and recommend the products I consider to be useful and the best. I use affiliate links, this means that–at no extra cost to you–I can make a commission on a purchase you make after clicking on them. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Stop a Dog Barking to Alert
with 7 Positive Steps

A Dog Barking in Alarm! Your canine friend is warning you of a possible threat. To stop an alarm barker you need to acknowledge him first.

Nobody likes to be ignored and that includes your hound. After telling your pooch how important his barking is to you, use obedience training to teach him how to show his concern in a different way and settle down in a short period of time.

Your dog may be barking for other reasons too. Always try to understand why he is being loud before implementing a training program. If you think your pooch barks for other reasons (fear, boredom, guarding, etc.) or are unsure, then go to Stop Barking main page for more advice, tips and step-by-step tutorials.

A dog barking in alarm is warning you...

If you have a nuisance barking dog that wants to warn you of a possible threat, don't despair. He is just trying to be helpful and protect his family. Many dog parents would love to have a canine that warns them of danger. If you are reading this though, it is probably because these warning barks are getting out of control.

Unfortunately, the first thing you need to understand is that your pet is not doing this to annoy you, on the contrary he is trying to please you. The sooner you understand this, the calmer you will get…and the calmer you are…the easier it will be to solve this barking problem.

So, let's take a deep breath and plunge into training!

Accept and recognize a dog barking in alarm...

a dog barking behind a fence in alarm, a dog barking at strangers

Yes, it might seem a little silly and even counter intuitive to give attention to a dog barking. Why would you acknowledge something that you don't want your furry friend to do? Isn't ignoring it a much better strategy? Not in this case.

Imagine you are trying to warn a friend of a danger, but he just ignores you. How do you react?

You will probably start feeling stressed and preoccupied, you will try to warn your friend even harder, making your behavior worse. This is what happens when you ignore a dog barking to alarm you.

Barking is a normal canine behavior, it only becomes a problem when it starts being too frequent. This often happens stressed dogs, and stress can come from many places. In this case we can reduce your pet's stress levels by just letting him know that we heard the warning and we will take care of the problem.

Learn more about different dog barks and their meanings and understand your pet better than anyone else!

Place yourself in between
your dog and the "danger" and let him know you are in control now

The "danger" may be anything that your dog decides is dangerous: another canine you come across when walking to the park, a person at the door, a truck stopped in from of your house, a kid running towards you, etc.

Whatever the "threat",  just step in from of your dog, face the danger and use a hand signal or a word to let him know you are in control now, he can relax again.

A good option for a hand signals is an open hand showing your palm, or your hand in a fist. You can also use any other gesture that your dog can see and that comes naturally to you. It can also be your body posture; for example, stepping in front of him.

For a word, you can use a simple "Thank you, Fiddo, quiet now".

To teach your pet the meaning of this hand signal or words all you need is REPETITION. Imagine that your pet has to figure it all out based on the sequence of events, so also be CONSISTENT.

Training STEPS to stop a dog barking in alarm

  1. Your dog sees a threat and barks.
  2. Step in front of your dog and immediately show him the hand signal or say "Thank you, _____ (your dog's name), quiet now".
  3. Wait until your hound stops barking, you may talk to him in calm voice and try petting him with slow and long strokes to help him relax faster.
  4. As soon as he is calm and quiet give him a dog treat.
  5. Wait until he moves away or give him another command to help him think about something else.
  6. Repeat all steps EVERY time your dog barks to warn you of danger.
  7. With time and practice, you will notice that your furry friend will start relaxing faster and faster. At that point start using the hand signal or words from where you are (without stepping in front of him) to tell him there is nothing to worry about and reward him when he is quiet.

dog barking in alarm, stop dog barking, dog barking at everythingNo matter how silly you think the "threat" is. Just put yourself in between. Let your furry friend calm down and take him away.

Teaching a dog a new command takes time, patience and LOTS of practice.

Read this article to teach a reliable dog command, that is, a command he will respond to now matter what!

To stop a dog barking to alert, you should avoid…

  • Punishment: If you punish your pet for barking at everything in alarm, you will only be increasing his stress levels, which will make the behavior even worse. Instead be a caring and confident leader. This will make your hound feel secure and relaxed.
  • Yelling at your pet to BE QUIET! He might just think you are barking in alarm with him. Instead teach him the "Quiet" command with positive methods.
  • Rewarding for barking: There is a fine line between acknowledging your dog for barking and rewarding this behavior. You need to stay on the side of acknowledgement and avoid rewarding your pet for barking. Remember to always praise your pet for quiet behaviors, to make these happen more often.
  • Further stressing your dog: Stress in dogs can be mild or severe, acute or chronic. Mild and acute stressors are OK, however severe and chronic stress could affect your pets health.

If you have a question about your particular problem, please fill out the form on this link and be very detailed about it. The more you tell me, the better I can help you. Write at least 150 words and upload a picture of your dog for your question to be answered and published. I want to help you find the best solution!

You can also type your comments and thoughts in the box below.

Did you find this tutorial to reduce a dog barking in alarm useful?
Share your experience below!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

More on dog barking and training

dog liver treats

Train your dog with highly motivating treats! Ideal for dogs with stress and fear to help them focus on you.

Try these dog liver treat recipes!

clicker training, stop dog barking

Learn clicker training to speed up communication between you and your dog.

Your dog will love the click!

Understand the principles behind dog training to make you a better dog trainer to your pet.

Learn about the best positive dog training methods!

> >

New! Comments

Questions? Anecdotes? Tips? Leave me a comment in the box below.

CCPDT KA logo new orange
CGC logo
PPG logo