As much as it’s in their nature, barking can be a nuisance, especially when having guests over or needing alone time. If you have roommates and you notice that your dog is always barking at them, or when strangers come into your home, it is important to find ways to control your dog’s barking.
Getting your dog to stop barking at you, or your guests, or your roommates, or even other animals, will simply require you to spend some considerable amount of time training him not to do so.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
When it comes to dogs, barking is their way of communicating, and you should never expect a dog to never bark. That would be completely unreasonable. It’s like expecting a baby not to cry.
What Does it Mean When Dogs Bark?
Have you ever wonder why your dog keeps barking for no reason? If your dog is constantly barking at you or your roommate or your guests, it means that he could be mistrustful or uncomfortable around people.
This is what you would call territorial/defensive barking.
It could also mean that he is happy to see you, and it is his way of greeting. Let us understand these circumstances better;
Territorial or Defensive Barking
This can also be known as alarm barking. It is usually a response of your dog to people who are coming through the door. If there are guests or animals who are walking by your house, they alert him and this causes him to feel threatened about his space and he starts to bark.
A territory can be your house, the car while you are driving, the yard, etc.
You should know your dog well enough to tell from his behavior and body language why he is barking.
Short But Sweet Method
Now, because dogs are also instrumental at providing security, you really do not want him to stop barking at strangers altogether, so, you can allow him to bark for a short time, maybe 2-3 barks and then command him to be “quite.”
Quiet in the Hall
If method 1 above doesn’t work after at least 20 sessions, add another startling sound to the “quiet” command such as a bell, a can of pennies, or a loud clap of your hands. The key here is to gain his attention so you can then try commanding him to come over to you and “sit.”
In case he begins barking again, repeat this process.
Walk, Lock, and Roll
If he keeps barking while you are both taking a walk, some of the methods you can utilize include using a leash or using a trainer. Walk with treats in your hand and give them to him when he behaves accordingly.
The idea behind this method is to try and get your dog to focus on your and not the many distractions that could be causing him to bark. Let him see the treats and sniff them from time to time so he is aware that you actually have them.
Train your dog on the “sit/stay” commands and use them whenever people are passing near you. If the other person at the park wishes to say hello, allow him only one bark in response, and reward him with treats and praises.
In order to reduce these tendencies, you can try a few of the following tips;
- Block his access to windows and doors while he is inside the house to prevent him from seeing what is happening outside. When he cannot see people coming, he will not bark.
- Play the TV or music at all times so as to mask the noises of people coming which are likely to trigger his barking.
- Call him into the house from the yard when you know a guest is about to arrive or your roommate.
Most dogs are excited when you, your roommate, or a guest comes in through the door, and he may also wag his tail, jump up, or even start crying. He is simply greeting you.
Sometimes, however, it can be irritating and if he tends to bark more than necessary, then you need to find ways to train him on the appropriate number of barks allowed when greeting someone.
This type of barking should be handled differently compared to the territorial barks because this is friendly barking even though it can still be annoying. Here are some tips and techniques to get things under control.
He might be barking because he doesn’t see people that often, and this may cause him to become fearful and defensive around human beings.
If your roommates are willing to work with you on this, it will be much easier for you. They should however never respond unkindly to your dog and ensure that whenever they are interacting with him, you are present so you can guide them.
Take your dog out to the park, play catch with him in the fields, take him where he is likely to meet and interact with people and other dogs. You can all take turns in ensuring that he becomes a well-rounded and social little dog.
Ignoring your dog: When either you or your friends come in the door, try ignoring him for a couple of minutes until he calms down. Do not speak to him or touch him in any way, as he may consider this to be the attention he seeks and think that barking is acceptable.
Mouth Muffling Toys
Keep his toys close to the door and give them to him when you come in. It will be hard for him to bark at you when they have a toy in their mouth.
Ensure you train him on the “sit/stay” commands which will come in handy when you need him to settle down after you come in the door.
Training Exercise Thoughts
While most people have learned to live with a barking dog, it shouldn’t be the case. The process of training your dog on when he should and shouldn’t bark is intensive, and also takes a lot of time and energy, but it is worth it.
Imagine having a dog that understands when you tell him “sit,” “lie down,” “stop” etc. it would be such a dream, and most dog owners wish for this.
The training exercises above will go a long way in helping you with your dog, but it’s always advisable that you consult with a professional before undertaking any training on your own.
This is a good way of treating all of your dog’s behavioral problems. Most dogs can be trained by their master, while others will require the attention of a professional trainer.
These trainers are experienced in the basics of dog commands such as come, sit, lie down, rollover, etc. and they are effective in teaching your dog how to obey you when you give a command. Additionally, a trainer can also teach your dog how to communicate with you when they need something, such as relieving themselves, or when hungry.
It is however important to first determine where the problem is before you can rush your puppy off to an obedience class. Remember that his barking has a meaning, and once you understand his meaning, you shall be one step closer to control his barking.
There are many books you can buy that can help you train your dog on how to stop barking all the time, and you can also do some research online and have a look at YouTube videos that explain exactly how you can go about this.