Are you getting complaints from your neighbors about your dog barking all night?
Do you get embarrassed because your dog won’t quit barking when visitors come to your home?
Does your dog just plain old not know when to shut up?!?!
Having a dog that continuously barks can be not only frustrating, but annoying as well.  The good news is if you are willing to consistently work with and teach your dog some basic training techniques there is hope for your dog to quiet down and bark less.  Let’s review four strategies to help your dog cut out the yapping.

  1.  Why are they barking?
Many owners will attempt to treat the symptom as opposed to the cause of the problem.  If your dog is barking, in his mind he has a good “reason” for it.  See if you can find out the cause that is resulting in the symptom of barking.  It could be anything from trying to get your attention or maybe it’s just his way of saying hello.  Whatever the reason, don’t overlook the very important step of finding out why, when, and where they bark.  If you can determine this, it will help you solve the real problem.
  1.  Silence is the key
Often times you’ll see owners yell at their dog to stop barking.  This is a mistake!  When your pet barks, he is attempting to have a conversation with you, and by yelling back you are making the dog think you’re having a conversation.  Not being able to differentiate between your excited loud voice and your angry loud voice, he may now think you’re agreeing with him.  The proper technique is to approach your dog calmly and gently and use hand gestures to quiet him down.  Now your dog can associate your quiet reassurance with the signal to stop barking.
  1.  Punishment will do the trick
For actual training during the silent approach, punishment will be your tool.  Nothing harsh, simply a negative consequence to be associated with barking.  One good idea is to hold your dog’s mouth closed.  Dog’s hate this, and if you consistently do it every time he barks, it won’t take him long to learn that barking equals getting his mouth held shut.  Remember though, it’s important to follow that up with some positive reinforcement as well.  After your dog stays silent from you holding his mouth shut, reward him with a treat.  Now he will associate barking with mouth being held shut and then I get a treat for being quiet.
  1.  Change the environment
The last trick for getting your dog not to bark is very simple:  change the environment that is making him bark.  If your yard faces a street or pathway that people or dogs frequent, your dog may feel it’s his duty to bark at everything that passes, asserting his territory, and warning you of danger.  If this is the case, simply move the dog away from the fence line when you aren’t home.  Perhaps your dog barks out the window.  If this is the case, close the blinds so they can’t see what’s outside.  Take away the distractions, and you may find he’ll quiet down significantly.
So there you have it.  Four simple strategies to stop your dog from barking.  Give them a try to see if your dog can break the bad habit of constant barking, saving you and your neighbor’s sanity.  Enjoy your peace and quiet!

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