Puppies are very eager to ask for your attention and talk to you. However, a chatty puppy may not mellow out with age, so it’s important to teach them how not to wake up the whole neighbourhood at 2 AM when they’re still little. So, how to train a puppy not to bark? It’s a process, and you will have to have a bit of patience. However, you can do it without the help of professionals. So let’s learn a couple of simple methods that may help.
Understanding Why Puppies Bark
Just as we humans use different forms of language to communicate our feelings, thoughts, and desires, puppies also have their unique way of expressing themselves – barking. Understanding the reasons behind your puppy’s barking is pivotal to effectively address it and shape appropriate behavior. Here’s what your puppy might be trying to communicate:
- Fear or Anxiety: The world can be a big, scary place for a little puppy. They may bark out of fear when exposed to unfamiliar environments or sudden loud noises. If they are left alone and start barking, they may be experiencing what’s known as separation anxiety. It’s essential to ensure that your puppy feels safe, secure, and loved in their home environment.
- Attention-Seeking: Puppies crave your attention, and barking is one way they know how to get it. Whether they want you to play with them, they’re hungry for some treats, or they just want a good head scratch, barking is their way of saying, “Hey, look at me!”
- Boredom: Puppies are bundles of energy, and they need adequate outlets for their energy. When they don’t get enough physical exercise or mental stimulation, they can resort to barking out of sheer boredom. Regular playtimes and exercises are key to keeping your puppy happily engaged.
- Alerting/Alarm: Dogs are naturally protective creatures. If your puppy sees someone approaching the door, hears an unfamiliar noise, or spots an unknown object, they may bark to alert you. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, something’s not right here.”
Remember, barking isn’t inherently bad—it’s a part of your puppy’s communication toolbox. However, when barking becomes excessive or is used inappropriately, it can disrupt the peace in your household, which is where understanding the cause and implementing effective training comes in.
How To Train A Puppy Not To Bark
Say No To Yelling and Punishments
Unlike cats, dogs are less likely to turn on you if you punish them for bad behavior. Still, you must drop the urge to yell back at your pup when they get a bit too loud.
Not only will they react better to positive stimuli, but they may also think you are barking with them and get fired up to make some more noise.
Find your inner zen master for the challenging times, and bring plenty of treats for rewards. Let’s keep moving on how to train a puppy not to bark.
Ignore The Barking
If the puppy is barking because they are trying to communicate with you, ignore it. Simply turn your back and maybe even leave the room. Once they stop barking, give them a treat and a cuddle.
If they were barking to ask for attention, teach them they can get it even without the noise. Make sure to acknowledge them every time they enter your space, even if it’s just a quick ear scratch.
Give Them Plenty Of Exercise
A tired dog will not have a lot of energy left over for barking. Yes, a puppy seems like it runs on infinite power, but they can be tired out too.
Some dogs actually bark out of boredom, so if you want to keep the neighbours happy, keep them active with regular walks and plenty of interactive toys. I hope you are learning more about how to train a puppy not to bark.
Remove The Cause
Out of sight, out of mind A lot of puppies bark at strangers and people passing by your yard or window. Some may bark at that haunted doll you’ve brought back from that estate sale. Whatever it may be, remove them from what’s causing them to bark, and they will (eventually) stop.
Don’t think they will tyre of barking if you leave them to it long enough. The only thing they will learn is that it’s okay to make as much noise as they want since you’re not doing anything.
Once the pup is a bit more mature, you can start working on teaching them not to bark at specific things. Speaking of…
Teach Them How Not To Bark At Specific Things
Treats and cuddles are key when teaching a puppy not to bark at other dogs and people. Both translate to “good” in your puppy’s head, so if you have them on hand when you’re introducing them to strangers, they will think those strangers are not so bad.
However, don’t overdo it. If they start thinking that they will get treats whenever they start barking at someone, they’ll make an effort to make as much noise as possible. The trick is to reward their willingness to get to know this new creature or thing, not just shut them up.
Redirect Their Behavior
If you’ve progressed well with other basic commands (like “stay” or “sit”), they may become useful when the pup starts barking. Obedience has been bred into dogs for thousands of years, and a command can temporarily confuse them enough to stop barking.
Once you get that break, fall back on one of the previous two tips by either removing the pup from the situation or getting acquainted with the cause of the barking. Whatever you go for, don’t forget to reward them for being good dogs and listening to the command properly.
Possible Medical and Trauma-Related Reasons For Barking
If nothing helps, there may be a more complex reason for the pup’s consistent barking. It’s one thing to be a bit chatty; it’s completely different when they don’t react at all to your attempts to correct their behavior.
First things first, take them to the vet. Dogs tend to be more vocal when they are in pain or when they have hearing issues. If that checks out, it may be time to see a canine behaviour specialist (aka trainer).
If you’ve adopted a puppy from a shelter, contact them to get their full history. Something in your environment could trigger their trauma, so it’s better to prepare your home to become a safe and happy place for them.
Training a puppy not to bark unnecessarily is a fundamental aspect of responsible pet ownership. Remember, your puppy isn’t barking to annoy you; they are trying to communicate.
By understanding the reasons behind their barking and implementing consistent, positive reinforcement training techniques, you can guide your puppy towards better ways of expressing their needs and emotions. It may take time and patience, but the result—a peaceful coexistence with your furry friend—will be more than worth the effort. Remember to always consider professional help if the barking becomes unmanageable.