One of the most common behavior issues that pet parents encounter is barking. Which means one of the most popular questions I receive as a trainer is “How to stop excessive barking?”. Usually this is more common with puppies and younger dogs but does occur with older dogs as well.
Barking is understandably an irritating behavior since it is loud and can be stressful for all of those involved. However the answer to the question on how to stop excessive barking is not a simple answer.
To answer the question how to stop excessive barking or really any training behavior issue, there are a couple of more questions to ask. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when addressing this popular training behavior to make it more easier to manage and train.
Barking is how they communicate.
While excessive barking is what we want to address and get to the root of the issue. Shutting down their voice completely should be avoided. We want to teach them how to communicate in a healthy way. If we shut down their voice completely, meaning tell them not to bark, growl, snap, etc. Then they will go straight to biting. We need them to tell us what is wrong or stressful to them. If they are communicating that someone or something is in their space and needs to back up. If they are told not to do this, they will resort straight to biting which well no one wants. So while we don’t want the excessive barking and that can be addressed, we also don’t want them to lose their voice altogether either. Getting to the root of the problem is key. What are they barking and why.
One solution does NOT fit all Barking Dogs
There are at least 6 types of barks. Some are a hybrid of 2 or 3 barks. The answer to “stopping” these excessive barking dogs is not the same solution for each dog. Barks will sound different and even have different tempos. So the very first step I suggest to someone who is having issues with excessive barking. Keep a log. Yes, keep a barking log for a couple of days of exactly what they are barking at. If you have ever done a food log or exercise log, then you know what a difference it can be to see things written down. For this reason, I will email or give them a barking log with detailed information on what, when, how long, etc for the barking. I have attached it in this blog if you are having an issue with barking.
Sometimes when we things written down, it is actually very different than what we thought it was. It may be worse or it may be better. However it usually it isn’t exactly what we thought. The log will show you exactly what kind of barking they are doing by showing you what they are barking at. When we know this, then we can address the behavior with a more efficient management and training plan.
More Barking questions?
This is only the beginning of how to stop excessive barking. Once you know more by using the barking log provided below, putting together a good management and training plan that works for you AND your dog will be the next step. If you have more questions or would like to schedule a consultation. Please feel free to contact me or visit my consultation page to schedule today!