We’ve all had our night’s sleep interrupted by the neighbor’s dog barking like crazy at three in the morning. Some of us may even own a dog like that. It’s not a behavior that anyone wants to endure, but we must understand that dogs bark for a reason. It may be a reason that only a dog can truly understand, but it’s a reason nonetheless.
So one trick to curtailing a noisy dog’s barking is to understand why he/she barks and then acting accordingly. Keep in mind that one of the best training methods for dogs is positive reinforcement. That is, reinforce your dog’s positive behavior, and try not to punish the negative – it doesn’t work nearly as well. When your dog is quiet, even for a few seconds, reward him/her for their calm behavior. It may take some time (e.g., weeks) before your dog catches on every time, but we can guarantee that it works better than shouting “Shaddup!!!” at the top of your lungs.
When you shout at your dog to stop them from barking, you’re probably just reinforcing their noisy behavior. To a dog, “Shut it, Fido!!!” sounds like you’re barking along with them, so of course they’re going to carry on barking.
Teaching your dog how to be “quiet” and how to “speak” on command can be very useful (and save your nerves). It takes time, and you may decide to enlist the aid of a professional trainer, but it definitely helps to keep the barking under control. There are also a number of behavior modification collars on the market that administer anything from a squirt of citrus to an electric shock when your dog’s barking gets out of control. While these can work, please consider them as a last resort. How’d you like to be shocked just because you said hello to a friend walking down the street!