Step 1: Determine Why Your Dog Barks
Why do dogs bark? There are almost as many reasons for barking as there are breeds of dogs. For instance, while terrier breeds tend to sound the alarm, barking to ward off intruders,Pekingese dogs tend to be more vocal. Pups have only two ways to communicate: they either bark or bite, so watch your step when approaching a young dog; it may be simply telling you it’s frightened or excited. If your dog is barking at passers-by, it may be because it is fond of the attention, or it may be territorial. Your dog may be wanting to alert you of danger, in which case, make it a point to learn the command for “slow down” and tell people to use it when approaching your house. If it’s the mailman who’s setting the dog off, there are a number of post office-friendly collars to help curb the barking.
Step 2: Block Views and Noise
Once the dog associates the window, door, or whatever he is barking at with fun, get rid of it. This is because once the barking starts, it’s a hard cycle to break. After you’ve gotten rid of the sights that trigger barking, cover the spot where the dog is barking with something he can’t easily chew through.
If it’s a window or door, get something solid that you know the dog can’t move. If you’ve blocked off a particular room like the kitchen where the dog barks while you’re not home, get a blanket or towel and cover the doorway with it. The dog will no longer be able to see the hallway or the kitchen. The key is to prevent the dog from seeing anything that is in the direction of the barking.
Step 3: Positive Reinforcement and Praise
Positive reinforcement is your number one tool when curing a dog of his tendency to bark.
If he barks, ignore him completely. Give him no attention for the entire duration he is barking. Once he stops barking, praise him for his silence and offer him his favorite treat. Each time you catch your pup being quiet, keep up a steady stream of praise. If he begins barking again, ignore him until he stops, as stated before.
Step 3: Provide Enough Exercise and Stimulation
There is a strong physical link between boredom, lack of exercise and when dogs start to bark. With a busy and stimulating environment, most dogs will be content without an issue, even if they’re left alone for periods of time. We should learn to teach our dog a few basic cues, such as "sit" or "down/stay" and practice them regularly. Being able to control our dog should be the first and foremost step in dog training.
It’s much easier to keep the barking problem from forming! If your dog is barking to communicate and you're replying with corrections, you're teaching that it's okay to bark. Dogs communicate by barking. They want our attention. So if you are ignoring the barking, you're teaching them that the barking gets them what they want, which is your attention.
Step 4: Eliminate Attention to Barking Dogs
The way to do this is to reward for the lack of barking. Every time your dog goes ten minutes without barking, provide a treat and praise enthusiastically. After the ten minutes is up, start over again with a new count. If your neighbors are appreciative and not annoyed by this new initiative, you may even be able to trade treats with them for a few refresher be quiet sessions.
Each time your dog barks, it may be difficult to catch him or her in the act. The best time to reward good behavior, such as obedience to commands or the absence of nuisance barking, is just after the event has taken place.
Step 5: Teach Your Dog the Quiet Command
I strongly recommend that you train your Labrador with a treat reward, but you can also use a toy reward. When you are teaching your dog to stop barking at the door, you are changing a previous habit that your dog has grown accustomed to.
So use a special treat that you give your dog only as a special reward for when they are quiet.
It can be anything really “ the empty can of dog food, a small treat bag, etc. Whatever you decide to use, your dog should understand that when they are quiet, you will give them that treat. For this process to work, the treat needs to be both desirable and readily available.
The first few steps in training your Labrador to stop barking will take time as your dog learns that their prior bad behaviors will no longer be rewarded. The good news is that your dog will appreciate more the things that they enjoy, and become happy that they don’t have to bark just to get the things that they want. As a bonus, you also will not have to listen to your dog bark continuously. For more information, check out this post on how to train a puppy to stop barking.
Step 6: Use Consistent Training Methods
The last step to get a dog to stop barking is to be consistent. When seeking to eliminate bad behavior, it’s tempting to let your dog do all kinds of things to get them to stop. However, if you do, your dog will see that as a sign of approval and the bad behavior will return with a vengeance.
Step 7: Invest in Professional Training or Bark Deterrents
Over time, as he learns that barking doesn't get him what he wants, he will begin to quiet down.
Bear in mind that, as with the other solutions in this article, this is a very gradual process. You're re-training an old dog new tricks here.
Some breeds are known for being barkers. For example, the Beagle, Dachshund, and Saint Bernard love to bark. On the other hand, some breeds don't bark at all. They tend to be the same breeds that make good watchdogs – the ones that will sound the alarm when someone is approaching. These include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans.