August 26, 2021 4 min read

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Is your dog’s incessant barking driving you crazy (and your neighbors, for that matter)? You aren’t alone. Nuisance barking frequently tops the list of dog behavioral complaints among pet parents. All dogs bark to some extent, though some dog breeds are known for being more vocal than others (looking at you, beagles.) But if your dog’s barking is excessive or starting to become a problem, don’t worry! There are plenty of training techniques that can help you keep your pup’s barking to a minimum.

Want your furry friend to be a little quieter? Grab your pup’s favorite dog chew treats and get ready for some training sessions—because we’re dishing our top tips on how to stop a dog from barking.

Why Is My Dog Barking?

Like humans, dogs use vocalization to communicate their needs and wants. If your canine pal is barking, they might be trying to tell you something important. Common reasons why dogs bark include:

  • Illness: Nuisance barking can be a sign that something’s not right with your pet. For example, if you have an older dog, excessive barking (particularly at night) could be a sign of cognitive dysfunction.  
  • Excitement: Just like people, dogs often express their excitement through vocalization. This type of barking is most likely to occur when you’re getting ready to feed your dog or take them for a walk.
  • Warning: Anyone who delivers packages for a living is all too familiar with this type of barking. Dogs that display this type of barking will often make a series of rapid-fire barks to alert their owners of potential danger.
  • Anxiety: Excessive barking is a common sign of separation anxiety. If you’re getting noise complaints from your neighbors, chances are, your pet is lonely.
  • Boredom: Dogs get bored, just like us! If you suspect your dog is barking because they’re bored, try giving their brain a workout with mental enrichment activities.

 dog howling on beach

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How to Stop a Dog From Barking

Keep in mind that it’s not reasonable to expect a dog to remain quiet its entire life. Think about it—that would be like asking a human never to utter a single word ever again! Instead, focus on teaching your dog when it’s acceptable to vocalize. Here are a few tips to help you train your pup to be quieter. 

  1. Give Your Dog a Daily Workout

First things first—make sure your pup’s daily exercise needs are being met. Beyond boosting their mental and physical health, giving Fido regular physical exercise can aid your training sessions by reducing behavioral problems (like excessive barking). Take your four-legged friend for a long walk or play a game of fetch to help them blow off steam, and your training sessions are sure to go by more smoothly. Mental stimulation for dogs is as equally as effective as you can help channel their energy into something productive and educational. 

  1. Curtail Boredom Barking with Long-Lasting Treats

Along with giving your dog plenty of physical activity, offering your pup a tasty chew treat to nibble on can go a long way in reducing boredom and anxiety-related barking. We recommend reaching for long-lasting chew treats, such as bully sticks for dogs. These all-natural beef sticks are a great way to distract your pup while keeping their teeth nice and clean. Other long-lasting treat options to consider include frozen Kong toys, collagen sticks, and marrow bones for dogs.

Browse Our Bully Sticks

dog holding chew toy in paws

  1. Remove the Stimulus

Another simple strategy for getting a dog to stop barking is to simply remove the stimulus (i.e., the thing that’s causing them to bark in the first place). For example, if your dog reacts to people passing by the window, keep the blinds closed during the busier parts of the day. If you can’t remove the stimulus, consider creating a quiet space (think a crate with a blanket draped over the top) where you can take your pup when they become overstimulated.

  1. Teach the “Quiet” Command

Another way to control your dog’s barking is by teaching them the “quiet” command. When your dog starts barking, wait for them to calm down before giving them a treat and saying “quiet.” Slowly increase the length of time your dog has to wait for a treat. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you can say “quiet” before your dog starts barking.

  1. Desensitize Your Dog with a Rewards-Based Approach

If your dog barks in response to fireworks, thunderstorms, and other scary noises, try acclimatizing them by playing audio recordings of these sounds at a low volume. When your dog stops barking and settles down, reward them with a treat. Once your dog stops reacting, gradually increase the volume of the stimulus until your pet is no longer bothered by the sound.

  1. Avoid Matching Their Energy

Even if your dog refuses to stop barking, resist the urge to yell “quiet!” at them. Your dog will think that you’re barking along with them and will feed off your energy. Instead, wait for them to be quiet and reward them for good behavior.

Consistency Is Key

Training your dog to stop barking won’t happen overnight. It will take a lot of time, consistency, and patience. Make sure that everyone in the family is on the same page and using the same commands. In time, you’ll be rewarded with a quieter, happier pup.