Help! My Dog Won’t Stop Barking

Training - Dog Barking
Training - Dog Barking

There are many different problem behaviors that a dog can exhibit; one of the most annoying is a dog barking problem.  There are many reasons that a dog might start to bark, and these reasons are important to analyze so that the dog barking problem can be stopped.  The barking is always triggered by something in the environment.  The dog might be trying to assert dominance over another dog or animal that it is around.  It may be trying to stake out its territory or it may be just barking for the fun of it.  There are some dogs that have a barking problem because they are not socialized to other dogs and others that are barking to get what they want from their owner.

What Not to Do

There are many owners that escalate the barking problem by rewarding it in some way, even if it is through negative attention.  The dog needs to be clear that barking is not acceptable behavior and will never be rewarded by the owner.  When the owner yells at the dog for the problem barking, he is only negatively reinforcing the behavior by giving it attention.  If the dog is barking outside and the owner lets it in, this is also reinforcing the negative behavior and it will continue and escalate.  If the dog is comforted when it barks or given a treat to ‘calm it down,’ this is also reinforcing the dog barking problem and it will continue.

A Few Tips That Will Help

There are several methods to training a dog to correct problem barking behavior.  One of these is to not react when there is a barking issue, such as the dog barking at the phone ringing or the doorbell.  If the phone rings or the doorbell, the owner should sit there and not react to it, thus showing the dog that there is not anything to be stressed out about or alert to when those sounds occur.  It is helpful to ring the doorbell or the phone regularly when training the dog to get used to the noise so that he can see that there is not a reaction needed when those sounds are heard.

If the dog barking problem occurs when the owner is not in the home, there are also ways to prevent it.  One is to make sure that the dog gets enough exercise and has enough things to play with so that he is not bored or stressed out.  If the dog has been barking when the owner is away, he should not be greeted when getting home, only being greeted when he has calmed down.  When the dog is not barking, he should be praised and when he is barking, there should be a negative association created with the barking, such as a loud noise or a bark collar.