Excessive barking can be upsetting to you and your neighbors. Everyone always asks “How do I teach my dog to stop barking?”
One solution is to teach your dog to be quiet on cue. But first we have to put the bark on cue. It might sound crazy, but this can be very effective.
Use a word for barking: Woof, bark, alert, speak are a few. Use another word for no bark. Quiet, shush, enough, peace. It doesn’t matter what you call it, just be consistent.
You yelling back at your dog “QUIET”, is not what I’m teaching here. You yelling will just say to the dog, great, Mom’s barking too. When you use a word to ask your dog to “stop barking”, it’s just saying that word, such as “quiet” in even, normal tone.
What makes your dog bark? Many times it’s the front door bell or knock on the door. If so, try this scenario. Have some tasty treats in your pocket. If it’s not the door, then substitute the “thing” that makes your dog bark.
Here are the steps to follow:
1. Knock on your front door.
2. Say your word immediately, “bark”
3. Dog barks.
4. You say, “good dog”, “good bark”, in a nice soothing tone.
5. When your dog is quiet, say your word “quiet” or whatever word you choose, just be consistent.
a. If your dog will not stop barking, put the treat on his nose, wait for quiet. Do not say anything, remain calm yourself.
6. Reward with the treat and lots of soothing words, goooood dog, goooood quiet.
7. Repeat this 5-12 times. Try to get in 1-3 times a day.
8. When both bark and quiet are happening on cue, try this other places. Start with other rooms, then your back yard, then on a walk. Make it a fun game for your dog.
9. The first few times, reward for every bark & quiet. Once you feel your dog knows the words and gives you quiet, start giving treats for the really quick quiets. Meaning as soon as you said “quiet”, your dog stopped, but not the slow (it took a few seconds) ones. Basically start rewarding intermittently. This is how you are going to train your dog without the treats.
10. Reward a good quiet every few times if you have a persistent barker. You will want to keep this cue tuned up and working.
11. Rewarding intermittently will keep most behaviors on cue and working for both of you.
If your dog starts “working you” for the treats, barking and then being quiet for the treats, you might reward the first 2 sessions, but then you might have to ignore the behavior or a time out might be needed. This is an escort into a quiet place for your dog for 1-2 minutes. No yelling or emotions should be involved.
I hope you will be enjoying more peace and quiet very soon!