Whether you live in an apartment or a house, excessive barking can be a real pain to live with. Not only does it give you a headache, but it can also lead to complaints from both your neighbors and your landlord. If you’re sick of listening to your pooch bark every single time a leaf falls or the garbage truck passes, our list of eight tips to curb excessive barking will help teach your beloved pet that silence truly is golden.
- Identify your dog’s triggers. Our pets tend to have different triggers that cause them to bark their heads off. For example, if my dog Zoe either sees or hears the street cleaner, she’ll start barking like a maniac because she’s afraid of it.
- Which leads us to our next tip- figure out why your dog is barking. Dogs bark for many reasons, from boredom to attention seeking to excitement. Many dogs bark because they’re scared of their trigger. If this is the case, you can use counter conditioning to teach them that their trigger isn’t so scary after all.
- Teach your dog the “quiet” cue. One of the first things I taught Zoe as a puppy was how to “speak” and how to be “quiet” on cue. You can drill both cues so that they become second nature. That way, the minute you say “quiet”, your pooch will know instantly that it’s time to hush up. See the bottom of this page for a helpful tutorial
- Give your dog something to do when you’re not home. If your dog is barking out of sheer boredom while you’re at work, make sure that you give them something to occupy their mind. For example, you can stuff a kong for your pet or hide treats all around your house before you leave. If your dog is social, you might also consider dropping them off at a doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker to take them out for long walks while you’re gone.
- Engage in a bit of physical exercise. If you know your dog barks because they’re bored, try to give them a good workout before you leave. For example, if you know that you’re going out to dinner and won’t be home until later, try to take your dog out for a quick jog or play a rousing game of tug-o’-war so that they will be ready to relax while you’re gone.
- Increase mental enrichment. While it is important that dogs receive a certain amount of physical exercise every day, they also need mental exercise too. Instead of feeding your pooch in a bowl, use their dinner to train cues. Clicker training is a great way to tire your dog’s mind while also building your bond together.
- Get heavy-duty curtains. If your dog has certain visual triggers, it’s a good idea to get heavy curtains for the windows and rearrange your living quarters so that their favorite chair or doggie bed isn’t right by the window.
- Play soothing music. If you have unruly neighbors who make a racket and set your dog off into a howling fit, you can also drown out outside noises by playing soothing music such as Through A Dog’s Ear or use a white noise machine (or a free app for your smartphone) such as a Tibetan singing bowl.
Just remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it takes time to curb excessive barking. As long as you are patient and employ a bit of management, you’ll be able to curb your dog’s love of singing the song of their people.