How to Train a Dog to Stop Barking at Sounds it Hears

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 24, 2017

Molly is a one-year-old Pekingese who lives in Omaha with two-year-old Yorkie Max. Their guardians called to set up a dog behavior training session with us to get them to behave better on walks and stop barking.

Both dogs were excited to meet me after knocking on the door; doing quite a bit of barking.

When I sat down with the dog’s guardians to discuss the dog behavior problems, I learned that the dogs didn’t have many rules to follow. This can cause a dog to think that they needed to contribute to the group. In this case, that resulted in a lot of dog barking and Molly thinking she needed to protect the baby.

After suggesting a number of rules and ways to add structure, I showed the guardians a few positive dog training tricks and exercises to start to modify a dog’s behavior.

One of the dog training tips I have learned as a dog behaviorist is something called counterconditioning. This is a process where you build a positive association with an activity or thing that the dog is reacting to in a negative way. I go over this technique in more detail in the video below.

Counterconditioning a dog this way is easy, but does take repetition. Ideally practicing for a few (1-2) minutes each time and with the dog sleeping or napping between practice sessions. Dogs file away what they learn while sleeping so prating after a nap is always a great way to go.

By the end of the session, we had taught the dogs to stop barking at sounds that used to set them off. Now the dog barking problem isn’t gone for good after one counterconditioning session. The humans will need to practice this a few times every day for a week or so until that is the case. They will also need to repeat the process with other sounds that cause the dogs to bark.

I summed up the highlights of the session in their Roadmap to Success. You can watch me detail all of them by clicking on the video below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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