Teaching a Dog to Bark on Command to Teach it to Be Quiet

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 30, 2018

For this Los Angeles dog training session, we taught 2 year-old Pomeranian mix Spencer to bark on demand so that we can teach him the quiet command and shared other tips to stop dog barking.

I met Spencer outside his home as his guardian was taking him for one of the many daily walks he gets – lucky dog! I offered him a few treats and respected his wishes to not pet him which earned me some trust credit. Many people ignore a dog backing up or turning their head away, but these are often communications that the dog is asking you to respect its space.

When we sat down to discuss his barking problem, Spencer came over and laid down right next to me. His guardian was quite pleased by this as normally he barks at guests. His guardian described it as him saying “hey I love you,” but that is usually not the case when a dog barks at strangers. I think there was a lot of small communication misunderstandings that were related to Spencer’s nuisance barking problem.

I quickly saw that Spencer was stressed out when I tried to snap a pic of him. He started barking, backed up quickly and moved on the other side of his guardian as soon as I raised my phone, using her as a sort of buffer. I immediately put down the camera and started using a Conditioned Emotional Response to help him feel better about having a camera facing him.

While it’s clear that Spencer’s guardian loves him to pieces, I saw some thing that may be contributing to his protest barking and overall anxiety. I shared my petting with a purpose technique, how to reward desired behaviors via passive training, the importance of rules and other ways to help the dog start to see and respect his human as a leader.

I know its going to be hard for the guardian to enforce rules with her little guy, but he really needs it. I believe this barking behavior is related to his being stressed out thinking he needs to protect his human. In order for her to get him to stop barking, she will need to demonstrate to him through her actions that she has the lead covered. To teach a dog to stop barking, you need to address the root cause first.

Once the dog no longer feels like he is the responsible party, his guardian can ask him to stop barking using the positive dog training method I outline in the video below.

It’s crucial that the guardian remembers, this is how to ask the dog to be quiet, not guarantee it stops. If the dog does not see or respect her as a leader, her request will fall on deaf ears and the barking will continue. This is a challenge I face frequently working as a LA dog behavior expert.

It’s hard for some people to enforce rules as they think it’s being mean or they don’t want to upset the dog. But just like human children, it’s comforting to know someone else is in charge. They may say they don’t like it in the moment, but the rest of the time their confidence in their leader is why they are able to relax. Considering how anxious Spencer is, I really hope the guardian can see that some “tough love” will result in a much more relaxed, confident and content dog who doesn’t feel the need to bark at everything.

To help the guardian remember all the dog psychology tips we covered in this at home dog training session, we filmed a video summarizing everything.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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