Barking and dogs go hand in hand but excess barking will have you going barking mad.

Dogs bark for several reasons:

  • Warning
  • Playfulness
  • Excitement
  • Boredom
  • Attention seeking
  • In response to other dogs

The best way to prevent excessive barking is to try to remove any potential sources of the behavior. You also want to avoid inadvertently encouraging the barking. So give your dog better things to do besides barking.

  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so there is not as much pent-up energy to burn by barking.
  • Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if possible.
  • Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when her or she is barking for attention or out of anxiety – that would be rewarding the behavior, thus encouraging it.
  • Shouting at your dog to stop barking does not help. It may actually cause the dog to bark even more.
  • Try to get your dog’s attention with a clap or whistle. Once your dog is quiet, redirect his or her attention to something productive and rewarding – like a toy or treat.
  • After getting your dog’s attention, practice basic commands, like sit and down in order to shift their focus.
  • DO NOT let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason. You can hardly train your dog to stop barking by yelling at him or her across the yard. Plus, it is one of the fastest ways to turn neighbors into enemies and send an invitation to your local police.
  • Train your dog to Speak and Be Quite.

If you can’t stop the barking with the steps above, consult your vet and/or trainer for professional advice.