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Training a Dog to Stop Barking

A dog's incessant barking is an irritation to their owners and their neighbors. This guide is about training a dog to stop barking.
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Catherine Forman0 found this helpful
May 12, 2006

A member of the ThriftyFun community asked for help on a barking problem:

Any tips on a loud barking Yorkie? Oso is so adorable, loving, and sweet but late nights he goes out to pee and then barks at the top of his lungs. I am afraid he will wake next door neighbors as it is pretty late when we go to bed. Also if he is alone in a room, my husband in bed and me in our office room, he will go sleep in the living room then wake to bark loudly, scaring me. He just got 'fixed', he did not spend the night at the vets. He loves to board with his Cookie/Jack Russell, so what's up with the bark?

There are a few things to consider here: Why is Oso (or any dog with a barking problem) barking? Is it something he sees, like a stray cat? Is it something he hears, like another dog?

Our neighbors across the street have a dog named Skittles. Skittles used to bark nonstop whenever he was outside. Day or night, it didn't matter. Skittles barked all the time. Our neighbors got a new fence, they switched from chain link to a wooden privacy fence, and all of a sudden Skittles stopped barking! He must have been barking at things he could see. When there was nothing to see, there was nothing to bark at.

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My dogs will go nuts at certain things they hear. For some reason, the sound of motorcycles drives them bonkers, and they both race to the nearest window to bark. During the summer, when the air conditioners are humming and the sounds from outside are muffled, they bark a lot less.

I'm going to suggest two things for you to try:

Barking is often caused by boredom or attention seeking (and the two go hand in hand). If Oso feels like he has been left outside too long, he may start barking to get your attention. It sure does get your attention, right? If you go out with him and try to hurry that last piddle break along, you may be able to get him back inside before the barking ever begins.

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November 17, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about my Pomeranian barks too much. Certain breeds and individual dogs tend to bark quite a lot. Training them to bark less can be challenging.

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Videos

By 4 found this helpful
January 30, 2013

The best way to teach a dog not to bark is to teach it to bark, and then reward it for barking. I have my Bruno, who is a Rottie mix who lives in the house, has just recently seemed to learn that I like him to mouth the word "Mama" and he gets lots of attention. It is really cute, and endearing to see them say words rather than bark.

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Here is one of my favorite videos, and I hope you will enjoy it. It all has to be fun or it is not worth it for you or your dog. I don't use a clicker, but just when we are spending time together, I will say "Mama" with a questioning voice, and when the dog tries to say it, I just act all happy and praise him.

Remember, if you do not always have treats somewhere (hot dogs, cheese, chicken pieces, etc.), you are not near as interesting as you could be and you won't get near the results. Life is a game of getting treats for fun things in training. If they don't get it after a little bit, back up to something they do get. It must always be fun!

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Questions

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By 0 found this helpful
April 6, 2011

I have a Welsh Corgi mix that barks at everything! When we first got her at 4 months she was very quiet, now she won't stop. It is getting to the point that my husband has told me give her away or take her to the pound. Does any body have any suggestions how to stop it? I have tried numerous things; one more won't hurt. She is very sweet and fun. I hate to give her away.

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By alicia from Johnson city, TN

Answers

April 7, 20110 found this helpful

You could get a bark collar. When used properly they will spray a bit of citronella into their face with every bark.

Another choice is a shock collar. You will have the remote, and when you push the button, they get a mild little zap. So if you say "quiet" and she barks, you zap her exactly that second that she barks.

A spray bottle. Again, if you say no and she barks, she gets a spray of water in the face.

Do those sound cruel? Sure beats having to re-home your dog, and with the exception of the bark collar she will soon learn to stop when you say so if used properly. When we moved to an acreage my dogs were well behaved most of the time but soon figured out they could run off if they choose, which turned out to be once a month or so. As we are near a highway that was just unacceptable.

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Having a shock collar has made it so I can have them off leash with me instead of tying them up all the time, and once they were trained we only get it out once in a blue moon to remind them if needed. Made a big difference for the better in our life.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 21, 2009

We have had a puppy for less than 48 hours and we can't get her to stop barking when left alone. Her crate is in the front room and when she is left she just barks the house down. We need help as were unable to sleep due to her barking. She was abandoned and found by the RSPCA and now we have her. She is 11 weeks old. Please help.

By JAMES from Christchurch, New Zealand

Answers

May 21, 20090 found this helpful

When we brought home our last dog at 6 weeks she cried at night when we put her in her kennel. I bought a sound machine with a heartbeat and placed it outside her kennel so she could not reach it. I found mine at Walmart but you might be able to find one at a Dollar General or Freds. I turned the volume up a bit to try to duplicate her mother's heartbeat. She adjusted rather quickly and she started sleeping (and so did we). After a few weeks I started lowering the volume a little each week to wean her off the sound and she continued sleeping peacefully. Hope this helps. Post a picture of your little fur ball as I always enjoy seeing all the pets.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 6, 2005

Our 18 month old boston terrier has started barking at any noise in or outside the house. It is an awful bark that makes you jump out of your skin. Is there a way to stop him from this behavior?

Susan

Answers

By Shirley (Guest Post)
April 6, 20050 found this helpful

There are many bark control products on the market. DrsFostersmith.com is a good place to view many options. I have, personally, used Lentek's Bark Free with great success with my pomeranian, indoors. Have not tried it for outdoors, but it is for indoor/outdoor use. It helps prevent annoying barking, is completely controllable by your preferences and in no way harmful to your pet. Good luck to you.

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By (Guest Post)
April 6, 20050 found this helpful

We set out last month to "debark" our pomeranian.

First, the most important thing is that you _want_ your dog to bark at strangers or if he/she wants to be let out, so make sure you go investigate whatever it is that he's barking at, at least initially.

Then, if our dog continued to bark after that, we told her "hush". After the second hush, we picked her up and held her over our head (which she hates) for about 15 seconds. After about five repetitions of this (over a couple of days) she now knows that if we say "hush" and point at her, she darn well better shut up! It's actually worked pretty well.

You could also pick the dog up and hold it like a baby, or bathe it, or anything else sufficiently obnoxious but not harmful to the animal.

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April 6, 20050 found this helpful

Some dogs just like to bark but most likely she's trying to tell you that something is wrong. I found with my Maltese who also liked to bark that if I told her "It's okay, thanks!" that she would stop. Like the Guest says, if you can find some way to let them know that it is Enough, you see what they are barking about, it will help. As little as they are, they feel they are your protector.
Susan from ThriftyFun

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April 6, 20050 found this helpful

I read on a dog training site that if you take a used pop can and put a few pennies in it and tape it up totally and when they start to bark for no reason,you shake it by their head.My daughter used it for her two Llaso Apsos and it seemed to work. Especially for breeds of dogs that like to bark alot,it can eliminate some stress for you .Give it a try.Hope it works.

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By Barbie (Guest Post)
April 6, 20050 found this helpful

We have labs and usually we can get them to hush by saying enough now it's ok....but when we first got our choc lab she barked at everything so we resorted to using a spray bottle.....we placed it on stream and when she barked excessively we would spray her with it and say no....eventually she learned to associate the two and now when ever she starts a behavior we don't approve of we simple set the spray bottle out and just saying no and showing her the bottle stops it.....

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By Someone that wants to help!!! (Guest Post)
April 22, 20050 found this helpful

Maybe you should go see what's wrong! After a little while, if it continues, then put it in a play pen (thats small) and tell it to be quiet. But ALWAYS make sure that it knows you love it!!!

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By Linda (Guest Post)
October 29, 20050 found this helpful

We have just purchased a rat terrier who is 3 months old. She is not barking at all. We purchased her as a house/alarm and for the children, but she is not barking. Something wrong?

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October 29, 20050 found this helpful

It takes a little while for a dog to know that you are their family. If you've just gotten her, it may take a week or two or even a month or two until she knows you are who she is supposed to protect. Just be patient and when she does bark at an appropriate time, praise her.

Once she knows you are her pack, she'll start to let you know when anyone is approaching.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

Linda. I had my 4 year old Pom for a month before I heard her bark. She is just acclimatizing herself to new surroundings and isnt sure yet if it's HER home.

Susan, it sounds like your dog just discovered his voice. I agree with those who say to just let him know that you have checked it out and that everything is okay.

She may be just bored too and there are things you can do so she can spend some time foraging for her kibble or digging a biscuit out of a doggie toy thingie--I THINK it's called a bong.

As for the products sold to stop dogs barking, why put out more money if all you need is some attention and communication with your dog? Some of them are effective but not so nice for the dog.

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By Melissa (Guest Post)
December 27, 20070 found this helpful

Here is the first thing I noticed about your comment... you said he's 18 months old. This is a magic age for dogs, and a hard time for the pet parents. This is much like when your child turns 18 and wants to be independent and grown up. They push boundaries, test limits, and of course test your nerves. Work with him on this barking. If you can, anticipate when you think he is going to bark and distract him with a "Psst!" or a little "bite" with your hand on his neck or butt. Generally, Boston's don't bark... but I've met a handful who do... I luckily have one who is silent, most of the time. Squirt bottles are also highly effective as are rattle cans. Most Boston's are also EXTREMELY sensitive, and therefore VERY responsive to this kind of positive punishment. You may also seek an obedience class. Bostons are super smart and easily bored. I teach obedience classes, so of course I'm inclined to suggest such activities... but you might find it really enjoyable for many reasons. Good luck!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 16, 2008

My chi pin barks at everyone. How do I curb her barking? She is 8 months old. Thanks.

Orab from Hollywood, FL

Answers

By Cindy (Guest Post)
August 17, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with the bark collars. Although you may think it is cruel, the bottom line is if it keeps her in a loving family rather than the local pound. It is tough love and works. We live in Australia and there is very little tolerance for barking dogs. We finally had to resort to shock collars and it made all the difference in the world.

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By Republichik (Guest Post)
August 17, 20080 found this helpful

If you aren't comfortable with a bark collar, there is a little device sold by pet supply places for about $30 that just sits on a shelf or wherever (9 volt battery, no outlet needed) and emits an ultrasonic noise that hurts their ears but that people can't hear, when the dog barks for more than a couple seconds continuously. The dog doesn't need to wear any equipment; the thing has a sensor that works for something like a 20 foot range. I use one and it works great- I have a small ranch house, so when I leave, I close all the bedroom doors so they can't see out those windows, and let them roam around the living/dining/kitchen areas, which still keeps them in range of the correction if they bark. This also works if your neighborhood's homes are squeezed close to the property lines and your neighbor's dog barks all the time. Stick it near a window close to the line and it will work on their dog if it's in range, without hurting the dog. Not sure if I'm allowed to post where it's from, but if so, I got mine from Drs.Foster and Smith online.(I don't work for them or receive endorsement comp.)

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August 31, 20020 found this helpful

Could anyone lend me some advice on how to tone down my barking dog. She barks when she sees people or when she's nervous. I haven't had alot of luck training her. Please Help..I think my neighbors are starting to get annoyed.

- Michelle

Answers

September 8, 20020 found this helpful

Go to your public library and look for dog training books and videos. Also go to message boards at dog sites such as allpets.com (their message board is called "community"). There are some dog breeds who are known to be barkers and people should do alot of research so that they do not end up with a dog who has characteristics that they do not want.

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September 9, 20020 found this helpful

Walmart sells bark control collars. One makes a high pitched noise when the dog barks and the other emits a mild static shock. My friend has used the one that makes the noise and she has had really good results with it. The one that emits the shock probably works better but it seems a little inhumane.

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September 10, 20020 found this helpful

I have a cocker spaniel with a big mouth also. Barks at anything that moves. I bought the barker which emits a mild static shock each time he barks, and believe me it works. It may be a bit inhumane, but he only got a shock twice. After that, as soon as he sees me approach with the collar, that's the end of the barking for a while.

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By jean (Guest Post)
April 25, 20050 found this helpful

I own 2 jack russell terrors and live in an apartment and barking is not a problem.I trained both of them through motivational methods and they will do anything I ask. Get a book search the internet or go to motivational classes.Dogs were not born knowing what we expect from them.
By the way jacks like many other hunting dogs were bred to bark.

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April 26, 20050 found this helpful

training is the key-take yourself and your dog to school-obience school-we hope it will work wonders for us-is your dog shy or scared? what type/breed si she? She just may need lots of love and reassurance-check out the topic entitled shy dog that has already been posted-it is about my dog faith and her struggles for confidence. I highly recommend school and do not yell or threaten her. Instead, correct her in a firm manner-offer her treats-each shy/scared dog is so different call your vet and ask to speak with a behaviorsit speacialist or recommend one. she may also miss you when you are not at home-do you kennel her? she may just need structure-there isn't enough information from your posting there is a reason why she doing what she is doing-her barking/acting out is how she is trying to tell you that something really bothers her. Get her help-she will be much happier and more loving-she is your baby-i wish you well
betty from ohio

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By 0 found this helpful
June 18, 2009

How do you break a dog of barking? He is well mannered and has been easy to train and minds well except for the barking?

Please help.

By Sonja Smith from Hemphill, TX

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By 0 found this helpful
October 26, 2012

We have a new rescue dog (part Pit Bull) who is the sweetest ever. He has to stay in a kennel in the house temporarily due to a respiratory infection and he barks all the time to get out. I feel bad for him, but I can't let him out with the other dogs yet. I can't seem to find a method to get him to quit barking and wining. Help!

By Pam B.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 3, 2011

How can I stop my dog from barking at everybody?

By Afrasiab

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

Help me with my pom! I recently adopted a dog from a local no-kill animal shelter. I love him, but he is driving me crazy. At the top of the list is his barking. He barks at whoever comes through the front door and won't stop when I tell him too. He barks at cars driving by and at people when I take him with me in the car.

Troy from Ely, NV

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By 0 found this helpful
September 1, 2014

My neighbors didn't want their dog. Their dog always came to my house and played with my dog for hours and sometimes just spent the night. Finally, one day after playing all day, he wanted to go back home, only to return to my home and would not leave. I let the dog spend the night (the owners knew he was at my house), the next morning I walked the dog back to his home, but the owners said they didn't want the dog and it would be better for me to have him. They said he seemed happier at my home and gave me his bed and said good bye to him.

Now, I have this beautiful, white, long legged, skinny Chihuahua. Only problem is he will not stop barking. If I'm not home, or if he feels unsecure. I take them (him and my dog) out for walks. Yesterday, I took him to Dunn Lumber in my truck for a one on one time. He is great when he is around me and I'm home as I can talk to him and he loves being around me. I have a room rented out and when the occupant is home and I'm not, the new dog barks non stop and the neighbors come over and complain. If I'm not home obviously I can't ask him to be quiet and district his attention.

Does anyone out there have any good remedy to my new friend's barking issue, please. My old dog is use to the occupant and only barks the hello bark.

Help, as I don't want the neighbors to have their anger turn into vengeance. I am a good caring neighbor and want to keep the peace all around. Life is way to short.

By Sharda B.

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January 17, 20120 found this helpful

I would like to know how to keep my Pom from barking so much.

By Collene

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By 0 found this helpful
November 15, 2011

What can you do with 2 dogs that bark all of the time? They hear anything move and they start barking. We have tried everything to get them to stop. We even got the barking collars, but they won't stay out if they have them on. Please help. It is starting get on the neighbors' and owners' nerves. Thanks.

By cookie17

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By 0 found this helpful
April 9, 2009

How do I stop my German Shepherd from barking in the car?

By marion holland from England

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By 0 found this helpful
October 17, 2016

I have a 10 year old purebred Pomeranian. I have had her since she was 7 weeks old. She is the alpha in the house for sure. I have 2 other dogs, a 13 year old Pom male and a new female puppy that is a Sheltie cross. My problem is that she never shuts up. She will not let me talk on the phone or if the other dogs are playing she barks at them to stop.

She is very aggressive and fights really mean. I'm afraid she will hurt my new pup. She has always been this way so it's not the puppy. It's just really driving me insane. I have sprayed her; that didn't help. I have smacked her behind with paper, but she could care less. Please help!

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January 9, 20150 found this helpful

Our female Corgi has a fit when we are leaving the house. She does it with anyone who's leaving the house. She runs around in circles barking. Is it an instinct of her breed for herding? How do we stop it? It is very annoying.

By Sue

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October 29, 20140 found this helpful

My son has a ten and 1/2yr old Chihuahua. My husband and I bring the dog next dog for 4 hrs every day, while our son is at work. When Chico barks I say "use your indoor voice" and I pat his head and say good boy. It works fine. My son has a new girl friend staying there and she sprays water in his face and yells "stop barking". I have noticed how jumpy the dog is and when he sees the bottle he goes into a crouching position.
Can you give me some advice? My son loves this dog so much, but she has him believing that's the only way to train him.

By Ann Marie

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By 0 found this helpful
April 28, 2013

Are there recommendations to lessen the outside noise of barking dogs? Our dogs go in and out. We don't want to annoy our neighbors and bark collars just don't work. We have a small yard and our neighbors are about 100 feet away, but the noise still annoys them. Any suggestions will be welcome.

By Cindy Post from Bayview, ID

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July 20, 20120 found this helpful

How do I train my dog not to run and bark at strangers?

By Patricia C.

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