A new owner usually faces a barking problem, and often hopes and dreams for some kind of miracle that might help stop the dog barking its heads off for no apparent reason.
Quiet dogs, or to be precise, dogs that understand when their owners need them to stay still or quiet – and do so without a fuss – are generally regarded with some admiration, and are understood to be well trained.
Although such a bond between man and dog may seem distant and magical sometimes, it’s certainly not unattainable, and preventing something like excessive or pointless barking by your dog is often just a simple matter of you two getting to know each other better than you perhaps do right now.
The problem with barking isn’t the fact that it occurs – barking is, essentially, dog speech. Indeed, it would be cruel in the extreme to force your dog to be silent all, or even most of the time.
The goals of training here should be:
- To get your dog to understand that you hear him, and that barking beyond a point is not acceptable
- And importantly, to get him to understand when you need him to be quiet or still, or both.
Most of the challenge of training a dog usually lies in communication, in making the dog understand what you want. Dogs, almost always, want to do your bidding – they want to keep that love and affection, and those treat-rewards flowing.
The first thing to establish before you do anything is to understand whether your dog is, in fact, barking for no reason.
The tone of the dog’s bark, his body language, and general demeanor give you a good idea whether the barking is meant as a warning, is out of playfulness, excitement, insecurity, discomfort, or just plain boredom.
Take Care of the Basics
Could you pinpoint the reasons behind the barking? If it’s something that’s troubling your dog and needs taking care of, make sure it’s taken care of – be it an uncomfortable crate, an intruder outside or an upset stomach.
Often, dogs bark due to an overabundance of energy. Are you keeping a regular schedule of daily exercise for your dog? For growing dogs, you may need to consider stepping up and spreading out meals and playtime to keep them healthy and satisfied.
Training in the Quiet Command
The “Quiet” and “Sit” commands are extremely important commands you need to have your dog understand for basic discipline.
While training, it’s crucial to keep in mind that:
- You assert yourself calmly, and firmly as the one in charge.
- You deliberately reinforce good behavior through reward or affection or stop correcting bad behavior using the leash or other means, only after some moments have passed since the bad behavior.
It’s easy for the dog to confusedly associate the reward to his barking if you indulge him immediately.
Dealing with Barking on Walks
Barking at random animals, objects or people is a common problem with dogs on walks.
Taking lead when you walk, asserting your approval or displeasure, and redirecting your dog’s attention are the ways you deal with these situations.
Making full use of the leash to communicate with your dog is a vital skill for dog owners. Read up on more detailed advice and tips on leash walking for owners on our blog post here.
Keeping Quiet at Home
Staying indoors for extended hours can be frustrating for anyone, let alone energetic dogs.
Young pups, in particular, lacking discipline early in their training can be guilty of the odd outburst at home.
When you are short of options or time, or both, retiring your dog to his or her crate may be the simplest solution.
In these instances, covering the crate to give it a den-like feel, or having a favorite chew-toy inside can quieten things down quicker.
If your dog isn’t crate trained or prefers to roam around the house instead, having its attentions occupied by a toy it normally chases or fetches is another popular solution.
Keep in mind, though, that any training or solution you decide to implement should first have your dog’s safety and interest at heart.
Make sure your dog understands it when he or she is being corrected, otherwise the training is pointless and merely cruel. Also, always be open to seeking professional help when you need it.
We really hope these tips helped you out and made life more pleasant for both you and your dog. Lots more dog tips and training throughout our blog. Please do share this post with others, if you liked it, and post your comments in the section below.