My Dog’s Barking Is Driving Me Crazy!
How do you stop your dog from barking?
My new dog, Jazz, is quite a barker. I think she barks for the fun and excitement of it. If anyone walks by outside, she will dash madly from one window to another, barking constantly.
To make matters worse, I found a parakeet in my back yard a couple of weeks ago! So now I have a bird for Jazz to bark at. The bird doesn’t mind; he even seems to like the attention. But the barking drives me crazy.
So I read a lot of advice on stopping your dog from barking — some good, some not so helpful. I will tell you what worked for me.
1. Stay calm, and don’t yell.
This actually is the most important thing. Yelling at the barking dog just makes things worse. It charges up the atmosphere even more, causing more barking.
After all, to a dog, what is the difference between her barking and your yelling? They are both loud. You are not teaching the dog anything by yelling.
At first, I used to yell “Quiet” every time Jazz barked. The more she barked, the more I yelled “Quiet”. After a while, I realized that it was a lot better to just ignore the barking.
Ignore the barking, and ignore the dog. She needs to learn that she does not get attention from barking. The attention is part of the attraction. In fact, sometimes I would catch her barking, then looking at me to see if I would react. The best thing for me was to continue to read the newspaper or whatever, and ignore her.
2. Give the dog attention when she is being quiet.
This is the flip side of #1. They go together. Sometimes I tend to get busy, and only pay attention to the dogs when they act up. This is teaching them to act up!
I consciously decided to pay more attention to both dogs when they were being good. This included petting them, calling them to get petted, talking to them, giving treats once in a while, etc. Only do this while the dog is being good and quiet. The more you reinforce the quiet times, the better.
3. Give the dog other outlets for her energy.
Take the dog on a long walk every day. This will take up some of the energy, so she doesn’t have to let it out in barking.
Also, I give the dog a rawhide to chew on once a day. This seems to help too. Besides the rawhide, they also have plenty of Nylabones and toys to chew on.
Anything that takes energy is good. Training or giving your dog jobs would probably help too, although I have not tried that yet.
If you just follow these three steps, you will see an improvement very soon. In my mind, these are the best tips. However, there are a few more things you can do too.
4. Reduce the stimulus that makes the dog bark.
For example, I closed the blinds on one of the windows that Jazz can see out of. I had to leave the other one open so that Bunny (the other dog) can still see out. Bunny lives to look out of the window. I couldn’t deprive her of that.
But at least, with one window covered up, Jazz can’t do the routine of running back and forth between the two windows, which always keyed her up for more barking.
See if you can eliminate some of the things that cause your dog to bark.
5. Put the dog in the crate for a while.
I have not found that this helps much in teaching the dog not to bark. She doesn’t bark in the crate, but when she comes out, she barks to make up for it. But it does help my sanity when she is barking too much. It gives me a little break from the noise. And keeping your sanity is good. It will keep you calm to do the other tips.
6. Try an anti-bark collar.
I have not tried this myself, but it could be a last resort. It is certainly a lot better than having to give a dog away because you can’t stand the barking any more.
The receptionist at my vet’s office has a large black dog that sits under her desk. Last time I was there, the dog was barking, so she put this collar on him. She said that it releases citronella when the dog barks. Evidently they don’t like that. She told me that the batteries and citronella were all used up, but the collar still works. The dog is conditioned now so that just the feeling of the collar reminds him not to bark.
Some breeds of dog are naturally more barkers than others. It would be good to research this before you get a dog. But once you have a barker on your hands, try some of these tips. You might just save your sanity and end up with a better relationship with your dog, too.