Before you get your first dog, it is important to learn how to train a dog not to bark. When you first get your puppy, it might be cute to see something so small try to look scary and bark at another dog.
It might be cute to see your little puppy howl a tiny “awooo” when the doorbell rings. However, when your cute little puppy grows up to be a 120 lbs dog with a louder, more aggressive sounding bark, these situations won’t be so adorable anymore.
Maybe you have a dog that barks like it’s dying every time you put him in the crate. At some point you can’t take it anymore so you let him out just to get some peace and quiet. Your neighbors might even have begun complaining about the noise and your dogs barking has become a real problem in your life.
The good news is that any dog can learn to follow their owners commands with proper guidance. The greater news is that today I will be teaching you how to train a dog not to bark. This skill does require patience and perseverance on your part.
Since your dog has already formed this habit, it may take some time to break. But anything is possible with persistence and a few treats!
Teach Your Dog a “Quiet” Command
You can teach your dog to be quiet on command just as you would any other trick. However, in order to learn to be quiet, one must learn how to speak first. (Morgan Freeman Voice)
If your dog needs to learn how to speak, you can start saying the command “speak” while he is barking and after he barks you can reward him with a treat.
Another way you can teach your dog to speak is by sitting on the floor with him while he’s calm and saying the command “speak”. After dangling a treat in front of him for a few minutes he’ll probably get pretty distressed and let out a frustrated whine. Say, “Yes! Speak!” and give him a few treats. Repeat this process until your dog speaks every time on command.
After your dog knows how to speak, you can teach him how to be quiet. Ask your dog to speak and right after he barks say “be quiet” or “shh” and follow with a treat. Do this a few times in a row and test him throughout the day.
The next time he’s barking at the window or in the crate, give him the “be quiet” command and as soon as they stop barking, reward with treats. They should pick it up within a few days to weeks depending on how long their barking habit has been going on for.
Desensitize to Noise
If your dog always barks at the same noise such as the doorbell or a dog barking outside, you can desensitize them to the noise. This works especially well for a puppy or a new dog that you have brought into your home recently.
You may look crazy to your neighbors for a few days, but I can tell you that this worked with my puppy, who would bark even at a doorbell sound from the TV.
One morning after most of my neighbors left for work I took some training treats and brought my puppy to the door. I told him to sit and stay as I opened the door and rang the doorbell. Immediately he started barking.
But after a few seconds when he saw that there was nobody at the door but me, he stopped barking. I told him he was a good boy and gave him a treat.
After repeating this process a few times he stopped barking whenever I rang the bell with the door open. The next thing I did was ring the doorbell with the door closed. He soon got bored barking at the door, so I gave him lots of treats for being quiet.
I even went as far to play doorbell noises from YouTube on my TV so he wouldn’t bark at those either. Now when the doorbell rings, we only get one small “wfff” from him under his breath, which I consider a 95% improvement.
When we first got Cali we knew we were going to crate train her. The first day we brought her home we put her in the crate while we were eating dinner. Boy, did this puppy have a set of lungs on her!
I remember telling my husband that if we stuck it out and ignored her until she was quiet, we would win this battle for the rest of her life.
Sure enough, after an hour and a half of Mariah Carey high notes from our 12 week old puppy, she finally stopped wailing. After five mins of being quiet, I let her out and gave her lots of love and treats. This was the last time Cali ever barked in the crate.
Tell Your Dog to Leave the Scene
If your dog runs to the source of a noise while barking, it can be a major problem. Both of my dogs had a major issue with running to the front door and blocking my way whenever anyone rang the bell.
Not only is this embarrassing, but it can also be dangerous if your dog escapes and doesn’t listen to recall.
To solve this problem I trained both of my dogs to go sit on their beds while I answer the door. I started by having my husband go outside and ring the bell. Before they even took their first step to the door I told them to go to their bed.
At first they didn’t listen and went right to the door. I gave them the command again and led them to their beds with treats. As soon as they sat on the bed I gave them a treat and told them to stay.
After this I went to open the door. If they began to get up I would stop and tell them to sit and stay. Do not open the door until they keep their butts on the floor. After a few weeks of doing this they should master the “go to your spot” command.
Stop Yelling When They Bark
A simple solution to learning how to train a dog not to bark is just by not yelling at them. That’s right. Your problem might be that you should stop yelling at your dog when he barks.
When you yell as he barks, he thinks your barking along with him. This is fun for him!
I remember when I was younger my childhood dog would start howling whenever my parents were fighting and yelling at each other. (This situation was a little funny because it was impossible to yell in my house without having a 100 lb pitbull howling at you with direct eye contact, so it was sort of a solution to a different problem.)
Many people yell at their puppies when they bark in the crate. In your dog’s mind, they hear:
Dog: “I don’t want to be here! Let me out!”
You: “I hear you! I’m also upset about it!”
Dog: “Ok, so let me out!”
You: “I wish you were out of there too! I guess we’ll just keep barking about it!”
Dog: “Yeah…I guess we will!”
Tire Them Out & Keep Them Busy
Always make sure that your dog has proper exercise. If your dog doesn’t get out their excess energy by running, playing at the park, etc, they will get it out by barking. I love taking my dogs for hikes on the weekends. They’re exhausted for several days afterwards.
Dogs also bark when they are stressed, so keeping them cooped up all day with minimal exercise could be a reason a dog barks all day.
If you can’t get outside because of time or the weather that day, you can stimulate your dog’s mind by using a dog puzzle or teaching them a new trick.
Studies show that mental exercise can tire your dog out more than physical exercise. (This doesn’t mean you should stop walking your dog, this is just as important!)
Lastly, if you want to learn how to train a dog not to bark, socialization is key. it is critical that you socialize your dog with other dogs to avoid aggression in future encounters. My puppy was petrified of other dogs when we first got him.
Before we could take him to the park we had to take him to the vet to get his vaccines. He barked at the other dogs from the moment we sat down to the moment we left.
The other people in the waiting room let their dogs walk up to Archie to sniff him and say hi. But he continued barking and backed into the corner with his tail in between his legs.
He was fine with my other dog Cali, but he also knew her since he was 8 weeks old. As soon as the vet told us it was ok we took him to the dog park.
At first I held him and sat on the bench so he could get a look around without being surrounded by snouts sniffing him. After that I took him to the far corner of the park so he could soak in the smells and mark his territory.
Letting your dog smell is important because it lets a dog know who was there and when and even what that dog’s energy is. After about 20 mins a few of the friendlier dogs came up to sniff him. At first he barked. But after one of the more playful dogs bowed and wagged his tail, they both wrestled around the park until they were both brown from dirt.
If we hadn’t taken him out to socialize, he would’ve become a 120 lb nightmare that barks and leaps at other dogs whenever he sees them.
If you train your dog properly when you first get them, they will be a pleasure to own for the rest of their life. Always remember that dogs don’t have the same thought process as humans. You need to take your emotion out of the situations and put yourself in your dog’s mind.
I hope that one of these tactics that I’ve used help you learn how to train a dog not to bark. Training a puppy is always easier than training an adult dog. But with the patience and treats, you can train any dog anything. Have any other tactics? Let me know in the comments below!