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    How to stop a dog from barking excessively

    Articlegeneral dog adviceFriday 02 August 2013
    We have all been there at one time or another. Whether trying to get to sleep at night before an early flight or trying to read a book. A dog always seems to get in the way and just will not stop barking.
    We have prepared some tips and advice on what you can do to quieten a dog whether it is yours or neighbours.

    One thing to remember before we begin is to never “punish” a dog with force or be cruel to it. Barking to a dog is as normal as talking for a human. The moment you hit or punish them with force they will not relate it to the barking and this will have a detrimental effect on your dog’s behaviour. It is both cruel and could make the animal outwardly aggressive.
    There are two routes that we will look at here.
    • How to stop you neighbours dog barking.
    • How to stop your own dogs barking.
    The Neighbour’s dog
    1) The first thing you need to do is take this positively. If you approach this with anger, stress and negativity it could turn nasty and make you and your neighbour enemies for life. The best thing to do would be to note down what times their dog barks and for how long so you have as much information as possible to pass to your neighbour.
    2) The next plan of action is to talk to your neighbour and let them know of the situation. Either write them a polite letter and leave it for them or speak to them outlining the problems in a calm and assertive way and ask them politely to sort the issue out.  When telling them, you should first let them know when and where the dog barks. If the dog barks when they are away then let them know that they should leave a distraction. Dogs are social animals and they do not like to be left alone.
    3) If you find that speaking to your neighbour was a bad experience and the barking continues then there is the option to take this to the next level. You should then let the local council know about the situation and tell them about all that has happened and let them decide on a plan of action. This should really be done as a last resort as it will damage any sort of relationship you have with your neighbour.
    Your Own Dog
    As discussed before, dogs are social animals and like to be with people or other dogs. When they are not, they become lonely and will often howl and bark to get attention. It is therefore very important that you try to spend as much time with your dog as possible to keep them company.
    Dogs bark for more reasons than this though so we must aim to remove those variables that cause them to bark. Dogs are very territorial and when they see a postman, rabbit or squirrel invading their space then this will cause them to bark. You should therefore be able to anticipate these things and place dogs in rooms far away from the “intruder” to stop them from barking. You can try closing curtains and blinds; this will stop dogs barking every time they see a rabbit or a squirrel.
    Dogs also make noise when they are uncomfortable. If you have left them outside, not feeing them properly or it is too hot or cold then they will bark to show that something is wrong. You should make sure your dog is in a good environment to make sure that they are happy and content.
    Another problem may be too much energy. You should aim to make sure your dog has plenty of exercise everyday. This will help them burn energy and hopefully then they will not bark so much. Not too mention, exercise is always good for yourself too!
    One thing a lot of people get wrong is by often yelling and shouting at the dog stop barking you are actually encouraging it to make more noise! They love the attention and they will do it more and more. The first stop to getting them to stop barking is by actually ignoring them. It may be hard but you need to be patient but the moment they are silent then this is when you begin.
    There is one technique that works quite well but it is hard to get exactly right. This is to say to your dog “speak” and get them to bark when you say it. Then when they go quiet you say “quiet”. Eventually the dog should associate the word “speak” with noise and “quiet” with silence.  By using this method effectively you can then use the word “quiet” to stop the barking. Providing rewards during this training can help a lot.
    Finally if none of the above works then it may be a suggestion to take your dog to the vet. The barking can be a symptom of feeling ill or being in pain. If you can’t figure out exactly why then take it to a vet so they can be examined. 
    Source: Wikihow
    Picture: Wikimedia
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