Dogs bark when they're excited, when they want to tell you something, and sometimes, when they're hungry. Unfortunately, barking dogs can disturb neighbors and may even get you into legal trouble in some places. If your dog barks unnecessarily, you can help him stop. Read on to learn what to do to put an end to unnecessary barking.
Start by figuring out what's causing your dog to bark. Most dogs bark for a couple of reasons. Dogs often bark when they are lonely, bored or frightened; other dogs bark to protect their territory or just to hear the sound of their own voices.
If your dog's barking is a response to emotional stimulus, try resolving the emotional problem another way so that he doesn't need to bark as much. For example, take your dog for more walks if he is barking because he wants to go out whenever you do or keep the family cat away from him if he barks at cats.
It's especially important to give your dog enough attention. Dogs who are lonely or bored tend to bark a lot in order to express their frustration and to comfort themselves with the sound of their own voices. Pet your dog frequently and play with him when you are home. If you have to be away for long periods of time, find out whether you can bring your dog with you or make arrangements for him to spend time with other dogs and people so that he doesn't get lonely.
Some dogs bark in order to get attention; in this case, ignoring a barking dog can sometimes get him to stop. Of course, you don't want to completely ignore the behavior if it continues, as it can disturb others. Try ignoring the dog when he barks if he seems to be barking for no reason; if that doesn't solve the problem, you may need to teach him a command for quiet or remove an emotional stimulus that is contributing to the excessive barking.
You may be able to train your dog to stop barking on command. Choose a command phrase like "Stop barking!" or "Quiet!' You'll want to use this same command every time your dog barks so that he can learn to stop barking. Train your dog not to bark by saying, "Quiet!" or "Stop barking!" in a firm voice. If he stops barking, give him a treat and pet him. Ignore him if he does not stop barking. This will help your dog learn to stop barking on command.
Your dog's barking can be a nuisance, but with proper training you can teach him not to bark unnecessarily. When your dog barks, first find out the cause of the barking. In some cases, he might be telling you something you need to know, like a stranger is coming up to your house. In other cases, he might be barking inappropriately. By rewarding quiet, calm behavior, removing barking stimuli and training your dog to stop barking on command, you can resolve excessive barking problems.