If you are an owner with a dog that barks a lot, here are some things you can do to help keep them from barking.
- Give them regular exercise. Take them out on walks, go to the park, go on hikes. Often an barking dog is a bored dog.
- Increase their exposure to other animals. This is called desensitization therapy. Many dogs bark when they encounter other animals. If you work with your dog to introduce them to other animals, praise them when they don’t bark, and correct them when they do, they will start to learn that they don’t need to bark at everything that walks by their fence.
- Give them a chew toy. It is hard for your dog to bark with something in his mouth. Chewing is a natural stress reliever.
- Behavioral Training: When your dog barks, trying squirting them with water. Do not squirt them in the face because you don’t want to accidentally hurt them. Squirt them on the body. Tell them NO in a strong voice. You have to be consistent with this kind of training and obviously it wont work when you are not there. As soon as your dog stops barking, give them praise.
- Bring your pet inside. If you are not home, or it is night time, do not leave your pet outside. Your dog is more likely to bark if he is outside.
- White noise: If you have a dog that is super sensitive to sounds, try using a white noise machine to drown it out, especially when everyone is sleeping.
- Crating: A lot of dogs bark because they don’t feel safe. Putting your dog in a crate, and doing crate training, can help your dog feel a lot more secure. Many dogs who are crate trained will stop barking when they are in their crates.
- Bark Collars: Sometimes our dogs bark and there is not much we can do about it. There are collars called bark collars or no-noise collars. Some will give off a smell when your dog barks, and others will give a small electrical pulse. Make sure you know how to use these and what settings are safe for your dogs. But these can be viable alternatives if nothing else is working.
If what you are doing is not working, then change things up. You may want to consult with a trainer or your vet about some other methods. If your neighbor has complained about you, you should keep your neighbor informed about your efforts so they are more likely to work with you than be a problem for you. Remember, a neighbor who turns you in is not a bad person who hates dogs, they are just likely someone who wants to sleep. Also, if you neighbor comes and talks to you about it, keep in mind that it was likely difficult for them to bring it up. You may feel defensive and protective of your dog, but try to keep an open mind. They don’t hate your dog, they just hate her barking.