Training a Dog to Stop Barking

A dog's incessant barking is an irritation to their owners and their neighbors. This page is about training a dog to stop barking.
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Catherine Forman
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?
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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.

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.

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

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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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Specifications:

  • automatic or manual (press a button)
  • no collar needed
  • table-top or mount
  • 25 foot range
  • portable (we take it camping with us)

The PetSafe Indoor Bark Control is activated when its internal microphone picks up the barking sound (or bark-like sounds) or when a button is pressed. When activated the unit emits a 2-second ultrasonic sound that can only be heard by animals (there is red light that comes on when it makes the sound). The sound is unpleasant to most dogs and startles them so they stop barking. They learn to associate its bark with the unpleasant noise.

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Our dog, Mason, had developed the unfortunate habit of barking out the front window. At first it was when people walked by, then when the neighbors were out front, then when cars drove by, and eventually he would hear some noise known only to him, go tearing across the house to bark at nothing (sometimes from a dead sleep in the middle of the night). We go camping a lot and he also started alerting when anyone would walk past our site (whether they had a dog or not). Verbally correcting him or tugging a leash (when camping) would stop him temporarily, but soon enough he'd be at it again. He gets plenty of exercise and attention so we checked with the vet to see if anything was wrong and they said he was fine and it was just an irritating bad habit. I remembered that back when we did his dog obedience training the trainer had talked about using an ultrasonic bark controller outside to stop her neighbor's dogs from barking, so I thought I'd see what the pet store had that might help. We found several options. There are shock collars (no thanks), citronella spray collars (messy), ultrasonic collars, and stand alone ultrasonic units (indoor and outdoor models). The gal at the pet store said that dogs do learn that the sound comes from the collar so the stand alone units are a little more effective (although the range is limited). I ended up selecting the PetSafe brand Indoor Bark Control Ultrasonic Correction device as a stand alone unit since it was the least expensive brand.

We've had the unit for about 6 months and have had really good success. Mason still barks occasionally and definitely when someone comes to the door, but overall there has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of barking and how long it lasts. It really helped with camping as well (along with a leash tug and verbal correction). I'm quite happy with it and have suggested it to several friends that have issues with their dogs barking excessively.

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Videos

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

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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.

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.

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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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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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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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

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August 31, 2002

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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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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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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September 3, 2011

How can I stop my dog from barking at everybody?

By Afrasiab

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November 12, 2008

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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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, 2012

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

By Collene

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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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