How to Stop Dog Barking in a Few Easy Steps

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 11, 2023

Archie and Donna - How to Stop Dog Barking in a Few Easy Steps

For this Santa Monica dog training session we worked with 5 year-old Pomeranian Archie and his 11 year-old Chihuahua roommate Donna, sharing tips to stop dog barking.

Archie gave me an awesome demonstration of his barking superpowers as soon as I walked up to his door. I started out the session by ignoring his barking and recommending that his guardians do the same. This seems counter intuative for people with barking dogs, but telling your dog to stop barking can actually train a barking behavior. This is because when it comes to dogs, all attention is validating and therefore reinforcing. That means if you have a dog that barks and you tell them to shut up, you just taught your dog that barking is a great way to get your attention.

Before we could work on the dog’s barking problem, we needed to cover some fundamentals first. I went over the concept of marker words and clickers and showed the guardians how to use them after we did a loading exercise. We¬†followed that up by showing the guardians how to do some hand targeting to help them practice using their marker words and go over the proper way to introduce a cue (command word).

Of course, I stressed the importance of rewarding desired behaviors; something that I like to call celebrating. I also shared some tips on how to teach the dog’s manners since Archie liked to use demand barking to get attention. Dogs bark to demand attention because it works! Its just as humans, we dont realize that even telling your pup they are a “bad dog,” is rewarding as the rebuke comes in the form of attention.

How to Stop Dog Barking

Both Archie and Donna had gotten into a bad habit of barking at sound they hear outside of their home. Archie was by far the worst at this but Donna also liked to chime in when Archie starts so both dogs can bark in harmony.

I pulled out my camera and handed it to one of the guardians so that I could share a secret to stop dog barking. This is a much better technique to stop dogs from barking than yelling at them or any other suppressive method like a bark collar (which often turns the barking aggressive).

If your dog likes to bark, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

By using desensitization and counter conditioning I was able to quickly get the dogs to stop barking as I knocked on the door. This is an easy way to stop dog barking because we flip the dog’s emotional response. Instead of the dog barking to make things go away, we are helping the dog understand that the sound actually means they are going to get a reward. That’s nothing to bark at.

To use this tip to stop barking its crucial you proceed slowly and at such a low level of intensity that the dog is aware of the stimulus (in this case door knocking) but not so intense that they feel the need to respond. If your timing is good and you have some high value treats, you should be able to train your dog to stop barking at sounds fairly easily. It just takes time and practice (3 or more 1-2 minute practice sessions every day for a week or three). The key is to practice often and gradually work up the intensity level until the dog no longer parks when the sound occurs independently and at the normal intensity.

Anther pro tip is to do everythig you can to have the sound the dgs bark at not happen while you are using this way to stop dogs from barking. Hanging a sign saying call or text instead of knocking on the door, walking the dogs elsewhere when the lawn mowers arrive, etc takes a little forsight, but will increase the spped the dogs learn not to bark.

Since we covered so many other dog behavior tips in this in-home Santa Monica dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success summary video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr