Those big chocolate brown eyes captured your heart when you first laid eyes on that irresistible puppy begging, “Take me home!” But it wasn’t long before the whole neighborhood knew there was a new addition at your house. Even worse, you couldn’t get your new dog to stop barking.
Why is Fido Barking?
Before trying to silence your barking dog, check the source. Although it’s probably just his annoying habit, there’s also the possibility he’s barking for a good reason. Look for any clues such as cars parked in your driveway or another dog taking a walk across his property.
Tips for Silencing Fido
Don’t shout back. Shouting at your dog to stop barking only intensifies the problem. That’s the advice top-notch dog trainer Victoria Stillwell gives owners on the popular Animal Plant hit show, “It’s Me or the Dog.”
Use one-word commands. Because dogs only recognize a few simple words, they can’t relate to sentences. They may be your best friend, but they’re not human. In other words, you have to talk dog lingo to your dog. Rather than talk in sentences or even a few words, narrow the message to single commands. Firmly say, “Hush!” or “Enough!” Use a strong tone when speaking.
Look forcefully into his eyes. When saying it, look at him, keeping your stare without blinking. Then when he stops, praise him with a “Good boy!”
Reward with a treat. When your dog stops barking, reward him with a treat. Just be sure to time your treat well, making sure he’s stopped barking before giving the reward. If you reward prematurely, he may think you’re rewarding him for barking.
Use whistles or other noisemakers. By startling a dog with a sudden, high-pitched noise, you can usually stop his barking. Besides whistles, try musical instruments such as small gongs, or triangles. Weird noises on electronic keyboards are also good if the keyboard is portable or within reach of your dog’s ears. Hopefully, your dog will stop barking when he sees you approach with your noisemaker.
Spray water. If none of these approaches work, fill a spray bottle of water and mist his eyes, saying, “Stop!”
Use electric shock or spray collars. These are usually last resorts and aren’t recommended when first trying to correct the behavior.
If you are debating on adopting a new dog, study the breeds first, so you’ll know which ones bark more than others. Dogs range over a wide spectrum, from the noisy fox terrier to the barkless Basenji who communicates with other noises, such as howls and yodels. If you live in a quiet neighborhood where houses are close together or in an apartment or condo, perhaps you need to choose a quieter breed. Some of the top five breeds known for their quietness include whippets, basenjis, borzois, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, and Swiss Mountain dogs.
Dogs Known for Excessive Barking
On the other hand, you might want to avoid breeds such as the Yorkshire terrier, Cairn terrier, miniature schnauzer, West Highland white terriers, beagles and fox terriers.These breeds have the reputation for barking when there’s no need to bark.
If all else fails, seek professional help from a qualified dog trainer. Most importantly, do not use bodily harm, swatting your dog. This only leads to an aggressive dog who, most likely, will strike back either at your or someone else.