Sometimes, a dog’s incessant barking can be more than just annoying—it can make life in your home miserable. Whether it’s your own dog or the neighbor’s, nonstop barking is more than enough to drive anyone crazy. We’ve put together some tips for how to stop a puppy from barking that should help you solve this problem as quickly as possible.
Reducing a dog’s barking takes work and effort on both the part of the pet owner and the dog.
It’s important to understand why a dog barks in the first place. Dogs bark because it’s a natural part of their communication repertoire, and it can mean many different things. It’s how they greet you when you come home, alert you that someone is at the door or under your car, tell other dogs to back off, communicate with other dogs in general (they don’t speak English), or even just get their own energy out.
If your puppy has been taught not to do certain types of barking but continues doing them anyway—and especially if this behavior causes problems for neighbors or nearby pets—it may be time to take action. There are several ways that you as an owner can help change these behaviors from undesirable ones into ones that are more acceptable for both yourself and everyone else around you:
Know the common causes of barking.
There are many reasons why a puppy might bark. The most common causes include:
- Boredom. Puppies like to play and get a lot of exercise when they’re young, but at some point in their development, they’ll need less activity. If left alone with nothing to do, they might resort to barking as a way of entertaining themselves.
- Separation anxiety. If you leave your puppy alone for long periods of time (for example, if you work all day), he may develop separation anxiety and start barking excessively whenever he’s in the house on his own or when you’re away from him.
- Compulsive barking. This isn’t technically “barking” as much as it is noise-making; compulsive barkers make loud noises without any apparent reason or purpose—the noise just comes out of them like an involuntary reflex action. Some dogs may even grind their teeth as well!
Rule out medical issues.
- Check for ear infections. A dog’s ears should be clean and dry, with no odor. If your puppy has a smelly discharge, or if it seems to be scratching at its ears more than usual, this could be a sign of infection.
- Check for throat infections. You can sometimes hear an obvious wheeze or raspy sound when the animal breathes, which may indicate an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). An animal with URTI will usually have a fever as well as other symptoms like coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge. If you suspect that your pet has this issue but can’t see any changes in its behavior (like barking), take it to the vet so they can perform tests to confirm or rule out the problem.
- Check for dental problems: Your dog’s teeth should never look yellow-brownish in color — they should always appear bright white! If you notice any discoloration on their gums at all then we recommend getting them checked out by a professional right away!
Address the boredom.
- Even though you may not have time to play with your puppy every day, it’s important that he gets some exercise and attention every once in a while. If he spends most of his time alone at home all day long then he’ll have nothing to do but bark at people walking by or other dogs passing by outside.
- Give him an activity. If your dog is bored, give him something productive to do like training him to behave on command or give him toys or treat puzzles designed for puppies (such as Kongs). This will keep his mind occupied so that he doesn’t feel like barking is the only option left!
Use positive reinforcement to train your dog.
Using positive reinforcement to train your dog is the most effective way to teach it. This method involves rewarding the dog for good behavior with treats or praise. For example, if you want your puppy to stop barking at night, ignore any barking and only give attention when it is quiet.
In order for this method to work properly, you must avoid punishing the dog for bad behavior because punishment can actually make your puppy more aggressive and fearful in the long run.
Use negative reinforcement when all else fails.
If all else fails and your puppy is still barking, there are a few options for using negative reinforcement to stop the behavior. Deterrents include things like:
- Aversive collars, which deliver a strong electric shock when the dog barks
- Citronella collars that give off an unpleasant odor when activated by barking (the collar can be adjusted to only activate after three or four barks)
- Remote control collars that allow you to turn on and off an annoying noise when you press a button
Other options include using a collar with an electric shock. These types of collars are effective because they make the dog associate barking with something unpleasant, but it’s important to note that their effectiveness decreases over time as your puppy gets used to them.
Whatever barking problems your dog may have, with a little work and effort, you can help them be more well behaved and happy. Behavior training is an important part of being a dog owner. It’s your job to teach your dog that barking excessively is not acceptable.