You can’t expect your dog to stop barking altogether.
Can you make a child stop talking? The same goes for barking in puppies. It’s a natural communication tool, so prevention is impossible and unnecessary.
However, some canines bark excessively, which can be a real issue in the home. And to reduce barking, you must determine why your puppy barks in the first place.
Below, I will discuss common reasons why dogs bark and share various techniques that can stop your dog from barking excessively, so let’s dive right in.
Why Do Puppies Bark So Much?
Most canines use barking as a communication tool. However, their barking can have different meanings, such as the following.
When someone approaches what your dog considers their territory, it often triggers excessive barking.
When other people or animals enter a dog’s site, they get protective and bark louder as the “threat” gets closer.
If puppies or adult canines feel threatened by someone or something at home, they look disturbed and even aggressive while barking.
Some dogs bark at unusual noises and objects that catch their attention and cause fear. And this can happen anywhere, not just in their territory. If your pup barks in a distressed state, they pull their ears back and tuck their tails.
Boredom or Loneliness
Dogs, like wolves, prefer family groups and companionships, so when left alone for long, indoors or outdoors, they often become depressed and bored and bark loudly or excessively.
Most puppies bark when greeting other animals or their owners. If your dog barks when you return from work, they’re likely barking out of happiness.
You can easily determine if your puppy is happy to see you by body language. Most dogs wag their tails and jump when they see their favorite human.
Sometimes, dogs bark when they want your attention or something else like getting a treat or food, playing, or going outside.
Canines with separation anxiety bark compulsively when left alone. If your dog has anxiety, their barking is typically accompanied by depression, pacing, inappropriate elimination, and destructiveness.
When dogs bark compulsively, they usually bark to hear their own voices. They also make repetitive movements like running in circles, chasing their tail, etc.
Do Puppies Grow Out Of Barking?
Barking in puppies has different purposes.
Most puppies bark when they’re hungry, playful, defensive, and scared. Some dogs bark when they see other animals or their favorite humans as a greeting.
Owners should consider their puppy’s bark as a natural alarm.
Your puppy can bark when something is interesting, exciting, or unusual, such as a stranger or friend’s arrival, weird or sudden sounds, or unexpected sights.
Therefore, instead of trying to eliminate barking completely, figure out why your dog barks in the first place and teach your pet the difference between appropriate barks and inappropriate barks.
How to Get Puppies to Stop Barking: 10 Techniques
Canines bark, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a natural reaction for dogs, but sometimes, barking can become a problem for you and your neighbors.
You can’t stop your puppy from barking altogether, but you can reduce it.
Most owners try to stop a dog from barking differently but don’t address the reasons behind their excessive barking.
Some even yell or hit their dogs when barking excessively, which isn’t acceptable by any means because violence never solves anything.
Also, dogs don’t understand why you’re yelling or expressing force, so what you will achieve isn’t less barking but a broken relationship with your pet.
When looking for a productive solution, find the source of the behavior first.
Sometimes, puppies bark when they lack amusement or companionship. If your canine is bored or lonely, you can solve this issue by providing a new type of entertainment or playing with your pet more frequently.
However, if your dog has separation anxiety, this can require a different approach.
The following solutions can help solve simple issues. If your dog has a more severe problem, you should seek help from trainers or dog behaviorists.
1. Install Sight Barriers Indoors
Many puppies bark at something or someone that draws their attention outside your glass door or window.
Other times, they could bark excessively at someone or something on the other side of the fence if they’re outside.
If your dog is doing this, they’re exhibiting territorial or alarm barking at what they’re seeing. You can quickly solve this problem by installing slight barriers.
For instance, you can close the blinds and curtains, install a fence or plastic window film, or something else that will eliminate visual barking triggers.
2. Provide a Safe Space for Your Puppy
If your puppy starts barking every time you leave your home, they might be suffering from separation anxiety. In this case, you can help your dog feel at ease when alone at home by providing a safe space.
For instance, you can set up a playpen, dog crate, or playroom where you can block out outside sounds and sights that can trigger excessive barking.
You can also use white noise like a TV or fan to help mask outside noises and make your puppy feel safe in their own home when alone.
3. Socialize Your Puppy
Dogs can bark at other people or animals if they haven’t been socialized enough.
If your canine has had plenty of pleasant experiences with people in many different settings, including people in wheelchairs, uniforms, on bikes, and small kids, they’re less likely to see them as a threat and bark at them.
You can ask your UPS driver or mailman to give your puppy a treat after they enter your property so your dog sees they’re not a threat and socialize better.
4. Food Dispensing Toys and Puzzles For Mental Exercise
If your dog barks because they’re bored, you can provide interactive toys or puzzles, so they have something to do when you’re at work.
For instance, place treats inside a dog puzzle toy and have your canine work for the treats. If you keep your dog’s brain active, they will bark less. The best part? They will have a creative outlet for their extra energy.
In my experience, chew toys keep dogs happy and active. So, if your dog barks out of boredom, provide mental stimulation.
Avoid toys that break easily. As puppies chew, smaller pieces can break off and end up in your dog’s throat or digestive system.
5. Try the “Quiet” Command and Positive Reinforcement With Treats
Most dog owners teach their puppies the “quiet” command to prevent barking.
Use a calm and firm voice to tell your new puppy to be “quiet” when barking and positively reinforce their good behavior with treats and cuddling.
6. Don’t Reward Their Bad Dog Behavior
If your new puppy learns that barking results in your attention, they might bark on purpose, but if you reward their barking behavior, you’re not doing yourself a favor.
So, next time they bark for attention, say “no” and redirect them to another activity, like lying in bed. If your dog stops barking, provide a reward.
If your keep on barking, don’t make eye contact. Ignore your dog and leave their side until they stop barking. Once they calm down, return and reward them with a treat or attention.
That way, your puppy will learn that less barking results in awards.
7. Provide Treats When Your Dog Barks At Other Dogs
If your dog barks at other dogs excessively, you can stop this behavior by providing treats in the presence of other animals.
You can ask a friend with a dog to stand far away, so your dog doesn’t see their dog and bark. As they come into view, start feeding your puppy treats, then stop offering treats as they slowly disappear from view.
Repeat the same process multiple times, and don’t move too quickly, as it can take days or even weeks before your puppy can notice the treats without barking at other dogs.
If this method doesn’t work and your dog barks around strangers and other dogs constantly, seek out the help of a dog trainer.
8. Train Your Puppy Not to Bark at Visitors
If your puppy constantly barks at visitors at the door, the next time someone comes into your home, toss a treat in their house and ask them to “go to bed.”
When they’re voluntarily going to bed to get a reward, take things further by opening the door while your puppy sits in bed. If they get up, shut the door immediately.
Repeat until they remain in bed while the door opens.
Once your puppy masters this part of the training, have someone ring your doorbell while your puppy is in bed. If they stay in bed, provide a reward and cuddles.
If nothing works, you should keep a leash on your puppy to help guide them to bed when visitors enter your home.
9. Try a Tone or Citronella Collar
Tone collars release a loud, short tone at the first barking sound. And that’s usually enough to make the puppy stop and look for what caused the noise.
A tone collar will eliminate barking and engage your puppy in activity within minutes. However, you must adjust the collar properly, so you don’t confuse nearby dogs.
Some studies found that citronella collars can also help dog training. They release a warning tone first; further barking triggers a squirt of scent that stops the barking.
WARNING: If you’re a pet parent of a dog with epilepsy, avoid tone or shock collars, as they can trigger seizures.
10. Ask for Professional Help
If nothing solves your dog’s barking, seek out the help of a professional dog trainer.
Some owners consider debarking, which isn’t humane. I strongly advise against this “solution” because it’s not addressing the underlying cause of the barking.
The procedure includes removing the tissue on the sides of the larynx, leaving dogs with raspy barking instead of regular full barking. The worst part? Some dogs experience life-threatening complications like breathing difficulties, choking, and ongoing pain.
Also, dogs typically regain their voices after the surgery but sound slightly different. So, irresponsible owners put their dogs through painful surgeries for nothing.
Final Tips on Puppy Barking
Each puppy has a different trigger for barking, so not all techniques above will work for every dog. Also, most training techniques require patience and consistency.
Yelling or physical violence won’t stop the barking. The key is to identify the trigger and offer alternative communication ways or remove the stimulus causing the barking.
Also, have your family members on the same page for faster results. Also, keep your dog busy and active as much as possible with toys and long walks because a tired dog is a quiet dog.
However, if you don’t see any improvement in your puppy’s barking over time, consider hiring professional dog training.