How to Stop My Puppy Barking to My Neighbors or to Everyone
If you are a puppy owner you shouldn’t expect your pet never to bark. That’s like expecting a child never
to develop speech. However, there is a big difference between normal barking and excessive barking.
Excessive and compulsive barking can lead the owners to madness and will make other people and
neighbors look at the puppy with fear and doubt. The first thing to do when dealing with a barking
problem is figuring out the exact reasons for this behavior.
The dog language
Barking is nothing more than verbal communication in domestic canines. The ‘words’ or ‘thoughts’ dogs
express through barking can mean various things depending on the situation given. Scientists specialized
in canine behavior developed methods of dividing the reasons that trigger dogs to bark excessively.
Protective or territorial barking is triggered when an unknown person or animal comes into the area
which the puppy considers to be his. The main characteristic of protective barking is that it gets louder
as the threat comes closer. Puppies appear aggressive and alert when they are protecting their territory.
Sudden noise or objects that catch the puppy’s attention can trigger alarm or fear barking. Most of the
time these are objects or sounds unfamiliar to the puppy and some dogs will eventually grow out of it
once the things become familiar. Alarm barking can happen anywhere, not just on the dog’s territory.
Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time be it in the yard or inside the house can easily
become bored Thus they will start barking excessively because they are unhappy and need
some attention. This is due to the fact that they are pack animals (unlike cats for example) and don’t like
There is the ‘happy’ barking when puppies greet people or other animals they like. Greeting barking is
usually accompanied by jumping and insane tail wags.
Compulsive barking as a result of separation anxiety happens when dogs are left alone. Aside
from boredom barking, loneliness makes them indulge in destructive behavior, soiling of the house,
depressive mood, etc.
Resolving the behavior problem
Whatever is causing the barking, you will need a lot of time, practice, patience, and consistency to make
it go away. It won’t happen overnight. Using proper techniques and avoiding bad ones you will see the
progress soon enough. When you start the training you need to remember a few simple tips.
Never shout at your dog for barking as this will encourage him to do it louder and longer. When you
shout at him the puppy thinks you are joining in. Always speak calmly and never raise your voice. The
vast majority of dogs don’t have a clue what you are pointing at when you say ‘shut up’ or ‘stop
screaming’. It’s better to train them to understand a single word in that manner (ex. ‘quiet;).
Many owners will just give a treat to the puppy for him to stop barking. This is a major mistake as you
are rewarding negative behavior. Barking is something you want to eliminate, not to reinforce.
There are a few universal methods you can use to deal with excessive barking.
Once your puppy starts barking excessively, you can say ‘quiet’ firmly and calmly. Wait until the barking
stops and give him a treat or praise. You have to be quick and reward him even if the stop is breath-long.
Sooner or later the pup will learn that when he stops barking on the ‘quiet’ command, he is rewarded
with his favorite treat. The treat must be something worth-while to make it more appealing than the
enjoyment of barking.
In rare cases, a dog will stop barking when he is spritzed with water. For this, you need a conventional
spray bottle filled with water. Even though the method is pretty harmless, some puppies might find this
as an encouragement to bark even more, rather than a distraction. If you want to use this method you
need to make sure it really works for your dog.
If your pup doesn’t mind you touching his mouth then you can use another method as well; whenever
the pup starts barking inappropriately, simply close his mouth with your hands. The physical
reinforcement will show that the owner doesn’t approve of the dog’s behavior. You can purchase special
halters and leashes that allow for the mouth to be gently pulled and closed while taking a walk.
Controlling the environment helps with dogs that are triggered to bark excessively by foreign objects
and people. In this case, it’s advisable to fully cover the windows if the puppy enjoys barking at people.
If he has a problem with guests visiting your home or different sounds, keep him in an isolated room.
Leaving a fan on or playing a white noise machine while you are at work really helps with puppies afraid
of unfamiliar noises.
One of the reasons why your puppy is barking at your neighbors and other animals is that he isn’t
socialized enough. You can work on this problem by spending more time out in parks or on walks.
Spending time out will allow frequent interaction with other people. Even territorial dogs will soon
realize that they don’t have to bark all the time to protect their territory. Doggie daycare centers are
great places where pups can work on their socialization and self-confidence.
Puppies that have excess energy tend to bark in order to release that energy out and keep themselves
amused. If your dog doesn’t exercise enough he may experience frequent barking episodes. You need to
tire him out with plenty of playtimes. What if you are too busy to spend time outside playing with the
dog? No worries! The market offers a lot of toys and puzzle games for puppies to keep them happy and
occupied while at home.
Remember the happy barking? Not always dogs bark at people for negative reasons. Sometimes they
just want to greet them this way. You can solve this by training your dog to greet people in a different
manner. Regarding home visitors, it’s advisable to teach your dog to wait on a specific spot while the
guests are coming. A simple ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ will do the trick. Come to the desired spot, give the
command, and remember to give the pup a treat. Another interesting trick is to train your dog to find a
special toy. When guests are arriving place the toy near the entrance and command your dog to pick it
up. He is less likely to bark if he has his toy in his mouth.
Desensitizing the puppy can be helpful when the barking is associated with a certain person or a certain
animal. For example, your puppy always barks when he spots your neighbor. In this case, the neighbor is
the trigger. What you need to do is walk your dog slowly towards your neighbor.
Whenever he goes silent, even for a moment, give him a treat. Move even closer. If the dog starts barking again stop giving the treats, but if he remains silent give him another one. This might not work on the first few tries and
definitely takes time. Start slowly and increase the time spent around the person gradually. But with
mutual cooperation with your neighbor, it’s highly likely that you will get the job done. Practice until the
puppy becomes more comfortable with the person that used to trigger the barking.
Learning a new behavior takes consistency and time, so remember to be patient and practice regularly
until the problem is completely solved.