All dogs bark, unless you’re the owner of a “barkless” breed. While there are breeds that are less prone to bark, they can still make noise. Certain factors in a dog’s environment or genetics can lead to more of this noisy habit. If you’re dealing with an incessant hound, there are ways to lessen the nuisance.
1. Apply Anti-Bark Accessories
When most people think of anti-barking tools, they think of shock collars. Some people may even have an aversion to these products. However, they are helpful in some cases. There are a variety of anti-bark collars to test. There are types available that can vibrate, shock, spray citronella, or emit an ultrasonic pitch. There are separate, non-collar tools that emit high-pitch noises that go undetected by humans. These are a great alternative if you are uncomfortable with the idea of the collar correction.
Regardless of which you choose, tools with negative reinforcement help the dog associate the unwanted outcome with the behavior. The collar or device is giving the correction via remote control or sound activation. If done correctly, the dog will learn quickly which behaviors lessen the negative effects.
2. Ensure Enough Exercise
A bored dog will find ways to entertain themselves, including barking. The amount of exercise your pup needs is dependent on its size, age, and breed. Generally, a half-hour to two hours of exercise daily should help. Some breeds require a more active lifestyle. Just be careful not to overdo it, because then your dog will up their stamina, requiring more and more physical activity or even harming their joints. Proceed with caution, and switch up the type of activity.
3. Secure Socialization
Socializing a dog with other dogs and humans is beneficial in many ways. It also helps with barking at unwarranted noises or distractions seen through windows. Supervised, controlled playtime is important to properly socialize a dog. Especially if you have close neighbors that have pets, try to desensitize your pup. Only do so if it is safe.
4. Obtain Occupying Objects
In addition to physical activity, your furry friend needs mental stimulation. Instead of barking at everything that moves, get them to search for treats hidden throughout your home. Purchase a maze feeder for more stimulating food time. There are many ways to distract from barking triggers.
5. Create Calm
If your dog is barking when you are away from home, they are probably experiencing separation anxiety. This is something that should be dealt with early on in training. Crate training is an option to get your dog used to be alone. Provide them safe blankets or soothing sounds while you are away. Leaving a dog-friendly video on for them could also provide relief from external stimuli. If you live in a busy apartment complex, consider a calmer environment for your next move.
6. Cultivate Commands
Commands should also be said calmly. Raising your voice will only raise the tension in the air and stimulate the dog even more. When you notice your pet gearing up to bark, give them the “quiet” command. Marking the behavior is important, so don’t repeat incessantly if your pup doesn’t comply. Instead, tell them “no”.
It may be frustrating at first. Keep with it, and stay calm. Not all barking can or should be stopped, but you will get to a level where you and your dog are comfortable.