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Stop dog from barking!
Common mistakes and effective solutions.

Stop dog from barking by avoiding common mistakes. As humans, we can't help but try to communicate with our pets with our own language. However, most times dogs do not understand us or even understand the complete opposite of what we are asking.

Dogs bark for several reasons and each one has a different solution but there are a few common things people do that make dogs bark even more, no matter what they were barking for to begin with. 

If you identify yourself with any of the examples given below, don't feel bad. Like I said...these are VERY common mistakes because they seem to us like the right thing to do. All you have to do is stop doing them and follow the alternative instructions.

If your pooch has serious barking issues, stop dog from barking by read through the main Dog Barking page for more solutions, tips and advice.

Stop dog from barking by not rewarding bark behavior

Basset Hound dog surprised face by Viorel Sima

I see this happening all the time. Dog parents inadvertently reward their hounds for barking with attention. They ignore their pets when quiet and well behaved but rush to it as soon as they see misbehavior.

Attention is a reward to your furry friend, so give it to him wisely! Attention is any form of interaction with your pooch: petting, talking, eye contact, pushing, shouting, body contact of any kind.

Some dog parents, with their best intentions, try to softly pat their pets while talking slowly to stop dog from barking. This is a mistake, because you are rewarding the hound while he/she is actively barking. Save it for when he is silent!

On the other hand, other dog parents think they are punishing their pet by yelling or even hitting. Your dog might see this as attention or encouragement. If that is the only way your pooch can get attention from you, guess what? He will keep on barking.

Instead make sure you give plenty of attention to your pet when well behaved and silent. You will be surprised to see how he starts being quiet more and more often!

Give attention to your hound only when he is quiet!

For example: If your furry friend is quietly looking out the window, walk by and pat him gently. If he is resting on his mat give him a relaxing massage. When your canine friend is laying at your feet while you work, look at him with kind eyes and speak softly to him.

At the same time you must ignore him when he is being loud. It's a tough thing to do and it requires a lot of patience. Learn about extinction, a learning principle that can be applied to get rid of unwanted behavior.

Stop dog from barking by using punishment properly

French Mastiff dog down with sad face by Viorel Sima

If you have been punishing your pet all this time, it is time to accept the fact that the technique is not working. Why? Because it is being used incorrectly and because punishment is not reliable.

  • You might be rewarding the dog if he is just looking for attention (see point 1).
  • If your pet is barking, he is trying to say something to you or it might be the result of inadequate living conditions. Punishing the dog or using bark collars to stop it altogether does not solve the underlying problem. Instead figure out the problem and learn how to solve it.
  • If you are personally punishing the animal every time it barks, he will learn to bark when you are not present. Needless to say, this becomes an even worse problem.
  • If you are like me, a human, you are most likely punishing your pet inconsistently. There might be times when your pet is loud but you are in a mood in which you can tolerate it. However, when you are busy on the phone, or just tired you might be more likely to punish sounds from your hound. This, unfortunately, makes your dog's life really hard because he can't figure out when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to bark.

I do not endorse the use of punishment, but if you are set on keep on using it then at least give your dog a warning signal. Tell your dog "Quiet" and then punish every single bark after the warning signal. This will teach your pet to be quiet before getting punished. You must also reward quiet times for it to work properly.

Note: never physically punish your pet. A loud and startling noise should be sufficient.

Learn about the effectiveness of punishment vs rewards here.

Stop dog from barking by not shouting with him

If you are shouting to your dog to make it stop barking, he might think you are barking too! Whether he thinks it's a barking contest or that you are simply helping him scare the enemy from your territory, this method won't work.

Your dog can hear you clearly, even when he is barking, so get him used to your soft commands. This will improve his attention as well!

First, I recommend you teach your pet some basic commands like sit, down and stay. Teach him these commands in a reliable way.

Second, start asking your pet to respond to these commands when you say them softer…and softerand softer….
This will improve his attention and will help him react to you without you having to scream to make yourself heard.

Third, teach your dog the commands "Quiet" and "Settle".

If your pet is still not improving after making all of these changes, go to the main barking page where you will find more ideas and solutions!

If you have specific questions about how to stop dof from barking, feel free to ask! This link will take you to a form where you can write a detailed explanation of your particular problem and even upload pictures. This will help me greatly when trying to help you find the right solution!

You can also leave your thoughts and comments below.

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