Barking communicates a variety of emotions to the family. Whether it’s in play or guarding the home, learning how to control your dog’s barking behavior can help bridge the communication gap and better understand your dog’s needs and interests.
If your dog barks at the window
- Block the window to avoid temptation whenever you aren’t home or are unable to reinforce good behavior. If the window cannot be completely blocked, try moving the dog into another room while you’re away or blocking access to the window.
- Desensitize the dog to people and other dogs passing by. To do that, start by choosing a command that you can use to ask your dog to stop barking (such as “enough,” “thanks”). Practice standing near the window with your dog and saying the command. In the first few tries, give the dog praise and a treat immediately. As they learn the game, stretch out the amount of time that it takes for the dog to receive the reward. As your dog continues to understand the command, start including distractions. If a dog walks by or a sound is made and the dog barks, use the command to communicate that the dog should stop. If the dog stops, even for a second, give praise and a treat. Lather, rinse, repeat until the dog has the command down to a science.
- Teach your dog an incompatible behavior, such as retreating to his bed with an antler/chew toy whenever someone knocks at the door.
If your dog barks during play
- Stop all play when the dog begins to bark. Only return back to the game when the dog stops barking.
- Give the dog an alternative behavior in order to resume play. You can teach your dog to go get a ball, lay down, or sit rather than bark for attention. Always reward the preferred behaviors with praise, treats, or play.
For all scenarios
- Increasing your dog’s exercise will almost always help the problem. If your dog tends to bark while you are away, try switching up your routine and taking your dog on a long walk before you leave the house.
- Give your dog something to keep them occupied. A food treat or puzzle-toys will help your dog stay distracted.
- If you find that you have tried all of the above suggestions and you are unable to resolve the problem, seek professional help. Your dog could be facing bigger issues with anxiety or aggression that require one-on-one training.