Excessive dog barking can be a real problem. If you live with an over-enthusiastic barker, not only may your nerves be frayed but so are those of your neighbors. Dog bark control is essential for neighborhood harmony, so here are 7 tips to control dog barking noise.
1: Acknowledge the Barking
You may not want to hear it, but barking is normal healthy behavior. However, too much of a good thing and it drives everyone barking mad! Key to dog bark control is understanding why dogs bark and acknowledging the message in the right way.
A dog barking is often warning their family of a possible intruder on their territory. Translate their bark into English and your four-legger is saying: “Hey Mum, there’s a stranger walking up our drive and I’m sounding the alarm to keep you safe.”
Your dog is obeying their doggy instincts and doing a job of protecting their pack. The wise owner lets their four-legged guardian to step-down, by telling them they got the message and simply saying: “Thanks for the warning, Rover; I’ll take it from here.”
The dog can then relax, as you heeded their warning and so it’s OK to resume their snooze. This works best for pups and dogs that haven’t already established an ingrained barking habit. For the rest, try the following techniques.
2: Teach the ‘Quiet’ Command
Try telling the dog what to do (as in ‘Be quiet’). One way to teach the quiet command is to wait for a break in the barking, say “Quiet” and then reward the dog with a treat. This way you reward the silence and the dog soon learns that falling silent earns a tasty titbit whereas barking doesn’t.
Sadly, dog bark collars are of limited benefit. These work by giving an unpleasant stimulus (such as a spritz of citronella) in response to a dog barking sound. However, many dogs simply learn to ignore the distraction and carry on barking regardless
3: Decrease the Trigger Factors
For many dogs the sight of someone walking past the window is an irresistible cue for barking. For these guys, something as simple as blocking the view can work wonders.
Try rearranging the furniture so that sofa back no longer provides a vantage point for a small dog to look out of the window. And if this isn’t possible, how about some pretty café type curtains to block the view? Or alternatively, a border of etched glass (there are spray-on version) to obscure the view.
4: Practical Sound Proofing
If you live in an apartment and need a quick fix to placate the neighbors, then look at sound proofing. The simplest form is to provide lots of soft furnishings such as thick rug, pillows, and blankets, all of which absorb and therefore muffle sound.
If you have a serious issue with sound, then there are professional companies which can assess and soundproof a room with special flooring and wall insulation.
5: Boredom Busting
A bored dog will make their own amusement. When left alone some dogs turn to chewing, but others develop a love of their own voice. With little to distract them they are often super-sensitive to the quietest noise which then triggers a volley of dog barking.
Prevent this by providing brain games for the dog. When you go out, try scattering their kibble around the house (instead of feeding it from a bowl) so they have to search it out. Or stuff a puzzle feeder with wet food and freeze it. Then when you’re at work the dog has a frozen popsicle that keeps them occupied for hours.
Other options include putting some treats inside a taped-up newspaper or a sturdy cardboard box. The dog then has to chew their way into the goodies, providing a tiring distraction.
6: Up the Exercise
A tired dog is a sleepy dog. Burn off excess energy by increasing their daily exercise. Then all they’ll want to do when they get home is snooze… quietly.
7: What NOT to Do
Don’t be tempted to silence dog barking by giving them a chew toy or the like. This rewards the barking, which makes it more likely to happen again. For a similar reason, don’t shout at the dog to shut up. To our canine friends your attention (even when angry) is a valuable reward.
And last but not least: Want to know what your dog does when you’re out? A PetPace collar tracks whether they’re asleep, sitting, or standing. Periods of activity (such as dog barking) will show up on their activity trace. This way you can know for sure whether your dog is disturbing the neighbors or…hopefully…sleeping peacefully.