To stop dog barking, you must determine why the dog is barking. If you cannot determine why your dog is barking, you may need help from an animal behaviorist or veterinarian.
The most common reason for consistent dog barking is boredom and loneliness. Have your neighbors told you that your dog barks all day long while you’re at work? If so, consider using doggie day care. Activities will keep him busy and he’ll have lots of other dogs to play with.
If day care isn’t an option, make sure that your dog has plenty of toys to keep him occupied while you’re away from home. You could also leave the radio or television on while you’re gone; hearing human voices might help your dog feel less lonely.
Dogs also back because of separation anxiety, which can occur if your dog is especially attached to you or has recently experienced change in his routine, such as divorce, move, or death in the family.
To stop dog barking because of separation anxiety, you need to follow a course of desensitization. Begin by taking very small trips, such as out to the mailbox and back, while leaving fun toys and yummy treats for your dog. As your dog learns not to bark while you’re gone, slowly increase the length of time you are away. To check and see if your dog is barking when you’re away, you may need to use a tape recorder or enlist the help of your neighbors.
Separation anxiety often needs to be treated with medication as well as desensitization. If you suspect your dog is barking due to separation anxiety, consult your veterinarian or animal behaviorist.
Another reason that dogs bark is for attention. You may have inadvertently reinforced this behavior if as a puppy your dog barked a lot and you gave him attention to stop the barking. As an older dog, he may be barking because he is left alone for long periods of time, does not have appropriate stimulation or exercise, or is an active dog who needs to have a job to be happy.
If you suspect your dog is barking for attention, you can start to retrain him by making sure that he is getting enough exercise. Take daily walks. If you have a local dog park, take your dog and let him socialize with other dogs and people. Take an obedience class, which is good mental stimulation and will help you communicate better with your dog.
Provide many interesting toys to keep your dog busy while you are not around. Make sure to spend one-on-one time with your dog daily and make it fun so that your dog learns that he doesn’t need to bark to get your attention.
Dogs also bark out of fear. Many dogs bark during thunderstorms or around unfamiliar people. If your dog is barking as a response to thunderstorms or other loud noises, give him a safe place to go in these situations, such as a crate to help stop dog barking. Make his safe place fun by providing treats to keep him occupied. Play a radio or the television at a low level to help mask the noise.
If your dog is barking at unfamiliar people, help him get over this fear with the help of your friends and neighbors. Have them walk by and approach your dog. Have them ask him to sit, and when he does so without barking, give him a treat. If your dog barks at people and noises that are coming from outside the house, you may want to limit his access to rooms with windows to help control this unwanted barking.
Never yell to stop dog barking; you will only increase the dog’s fear and anxiety.