top of page

Managing Dog Barking: Practical Solutions

Updated: Jun 24

Here's why your dog barks:

Dogs communicate through barking, just as they do with their body language. Barking can be positive, such as alerting you to danger, but it often becomes what we term “nuisance barking.” Here are the main reasons dogs bark:

1. Alert Barking: Your dog warns you about someone or something outside.

2. Boredom Barking: Like singing in the shower, dogs may bark to entertain themselves.

3. Attention Barking: Dogs bark to get your attention for treats, play or other needs.

4. Protection Barking: Some dogs bark to protect their territory or person.

5. Fear, Anxiety, Stress: This includes reactivity or separation anxiety-related barking.

For seriously good tips on putting an end to your dog's nuisance barking, download my free e-book 8 Game-Changing Tips to Stop Nuisance Dog Barking for Good!

How to address nuisance barking:

You need to take a 3-pronged approach to effectively stop nuisance barking: 1) environmental changes, 2) enrichment activities & 3) training alternative behaviors specific to the reason your dog is barking.

Here's how a training plan might look:

Environmental Solutions

First, assess your dog's environment and make changes that encourage your dog to bark less. For instance, if your dog barks at passers-by through the window, block their access with curtains, furniture or window film to reduce visual stimuli.

Enrichment Solutions

Enrichment activities are essential for preventing nuisance barking such as boredom related barking. Provide toys, puzzle games & other stimulating activities. These not only occupy your dog but also reduce anxiety and build confidence. Regular targeted enrichment can be an effective remedy for various types of barking.

Train Alternative Behaviors

Once you've addressed your dog's environment and enrichment needs, it's time to teach them a new behavior to use in place of barking when they wish to communicate something to you. For example, consider teaching your dog a "Quiet Cue" so that, when they do bark, you can ask them to be quiet to get them to stop. This cue works great for attention and boredom barking.

Dealing with Fear-Based Barking

For fear-based barking, such as reactivity to the UPS truck, it's important to start by desensitizing your dog and counter-conditioning them to the trigger. This is a complex process that you may be better off working with a professional trainer who specializes in this type of behavior rather than going it alone.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is also caused by fear and is a type of panic disorder requiring a specific approach whereby your absence is gradually increased over time while ensuring they remain calm. This is another area where I recommend working with a certified separation anxiety trainer as it's easy to make matters worse if you move forward too fast with training.

Managing your dog's barking involves understanding the emotional cause in order to implement an appropriate strategy. Practice working with your dog and carefully observe their responses. Remember, training should be fun and rewarding for both you & your dog. Short, consistent sessions are more effective than long, infrequent ones.

For seriously good tips on putting an end to your dog's nuisance barking, download my free e-book 8 Game-Changing Tips to Stop Nuisance Dog Barking for Good!


bottom of page