If you have a puppy who’s barking all the time, you’re probably beyond frustrated. Your puppy’s barking is probably not only bothering you, but possibly other family members and your neighbors as well. In this article, we’ll go over the simplest techniques on how to stop a puppy from barking without being mean or hurting your puppy. At the end of the article, I’ll tell you about the ultimate solution to any bad puppy behavior. So keep reading!
Why is Your Puppy Barking?
The first way to solve a barking issue is to figure out why the puppy is barking to begin with, especially if the barking is excessive. That way, you’re more likely to solve the problem, not just the symptom. The reason your puppy is barking is always because they’re not happy about something.
Here are the four most common reasons why puppies bark and the solutions:
1. They want something. They’re trying to tell you they want to go outside, come inside, they want to be fed, to be let out of their crate, they want to play, or they just want some attention.
Solution: Don’t reward the bad behavior. If your puppy is barking for attention, for example, don’t start petting him or playing with him. Instead, wait until he’s quiet before you give him attention. If he’s barking to be let out of his crate, ignore him until he’s quiet (even if just for a moment), then let him out of the crate. This can be difficult sometimes, but giving your puppy what he wants because he started barking will only reinforce the barking. Only give him what he wants when he’s quiet.
2. They’re scared. Puppies will bark if they think they’re in danger. If they hear a noise, for example, what you want to get your puppy to understand is that there’s no need to bark. Remember that you yelling at your puppy at this point is only reinforcing the behavior. They see your yelling as you barking. So they keep barking. Then you yell louder. And they bark louder.
Solution: Stay calm and let them see you checking out what they think they heard or saw. Remember, your puppy is always going to copy you. They’ll learn to react how you react. So remain calm. If they bark, acknowledge it with a kind word in a soft voice. If they bark again, go take a look at whatever they’re barking at, and again say a kind word. What you’re communicating to the puppy is that you have checked out the danger, and it’s ok. They’ll take your word for it that there’s no need to worry.
3. They’ve been left alone. If this is severe, your puppy might be suffering from dog separation anxiety. You can learn more about this by reading my article, Treating Dog Separation Anxiety – Tips to Help Your Dog Be Home Alone. You can also get some step-by-step help on how to teach your puppy to be ok alone by watching my video, How to Stop a Puppy from Crying When Left Alone. Lots of puppies will bark when left alone. One of the reasons for this is because when you leave, they think they’re in charge. Most dogs are followers, not leaders. So being left in charge can be quite stressful for your puppy.
Solution. Show your puppy that you are in charge by demonstrating pack leader behavior. One way to do this is to leave calmly and return home calmly. When you get home, ignore your puppy. Sounds mean, but your puppy will copy you. If you’re not going nuts when you come and go, he’ll see that’s not necessary. Only greet a puppy when they’re calm. There are more ways to show your dog that you are the pack leader. We’ll talk about that more later in this article.
4. The puppy is over excited. Just like children, puppies can get excited…then more excited…then more excited, when they’re playing. This is not naughty behavior; they’re just having fun. But if the barking gets out of control, shouting at your puppy will only make it worse.
Solution. Stay calm. You need to take control of your puppy in a calm way. I recommend a technique created by Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, Doggy Dan. It’s called The Calm Freeze. Here’s how it works:
1. Crouch down next to your puppy.
2. Take your puppy gently by the collar, under their chin, with your palm facing up.
3. Say nothing. Look away and breathe slowly and deeply.
4. Hold them there for a few seconds (or a lot of seconds if necessary) until they are calm. Do not look at the puppy or speak to the puppy.
5. Then release the puppy and stand up. The puppy will copy you. They’ll instinctively follow your lead and mirror your behavior.
You may have to repeat this process a few times with your puppy, and at first it might take several seconds or even a couple of minutes for your puppy to calm down. But you’ll likely be surprised at how quickly they’ll catch on and become calm.
If you’d like to learn more directly from Doggy Dan on the subject of dog barking, check out his Barking Training Program HERE.
The Ultimate Solution to Any Bad Puppy Behavior
Become the pack leader! When it comes to training a puppy, your energy is everything. Your puppy will mirror your behavior and your reactions to things. So the best thing to do is lead by example and show your puppy that you’re in charge and that he doesn’t have to solve anything, protect anything, or make any of the decisions. The more your puppy sees you as the pack leader, the more he’ll respect you, the more he’ll listen to you, and the better behaved he will be.
You can learn how to become pack leader to your puppy from Doggy Dan’s dog training website, The Online Dog Trainer. The site contains more than 300 videos of Doggy Dan working with dogs on every behavior issue you can think of, including barking. You can sign up for Doggy Dan’s free video series called, The Easy Way to an Obedient Dog. It contains these four videos:
- Why most dog and puppy training fails
- How to get your dog to choose to follow you
- Five rules that will change everything
- The one resource to solve every dog and puppy issue
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