Get Your Barking Dog To Shut Up

Even otherwise well-trained dogs sometimes can’t control their urge to romp around your back yard and bark at everything that moves, annoying your neighbors and making you feel guilty. But with a soft, firm touch and dedication, you can probably get your pooch to pipe down.

The Humane Society offers these hints to help quiet your barking dog:

* Don’t yell. Shouting is basically the human version of barking, so it won’t teach your dog to stop doing the same. Speak calmly but forcefully when shushing your dog.

* Remove the motivation. If you keep your dog inside and he barks at everyone he sees out a window, keep the curtains closed or block your dog from that part of the house.

* Ignore him when he barks. If your dog is barking for attention, give him the opposite. If you come rushing to his side to scold him every time he barks, you’re only teaching him that barking brings companionship.

Those tips just scratch the surface. Check out the source link for more advice, and talk to your vet for more precise recommendations for your pet.

Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down [Humane Society]


Edit Your Comment

  1. SaltWater says:

    The headline of the article should read-
    Get You Barking Dog To Shut Up

  2. agent 47 says:

    Shucks, should I spend my day trying to get my dog to shut up or use that time to train for marathon running? So many options!

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      if you take him on the runs with you, he won’t bark as much.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Shucks, should you have a dog you don’t train or just not have pets?

      Dogs take work and time. Good efforts in the first months and years of Fido’s life pay dividends later in the form of a well-behaved adult dog that doesn’t bark or tear the house apart. Also, dogs that bark a lot tend to be bored and/or anxious. Regularly devoting time to them usually helps.

      My own little guy is so polite about making noise that when he does get chatty, people laugh at him for having a puny bark. Literally, I’ve had pizza delivery guys ask, “Is that it? Is that really as loud as he gets”? Well, yeah- from 8 weeks on he was taught not to bark loudly. I’m noise sensitive and nipped it in the bud before barking ever became an issue.

      • Meghanp91 says:

        My dogs bark a lot. I mean a LOT. We take them to work, they get tons of attention, and someone is always with them, even at home.

        Some dogs are just assholes who won’t shut the hell up.

  3. tbax929 says:

    I tried the closed curtains trick with my beagle. I now have to replace the blind in my den because he destroyed it so that he could look out of the window.

    My dog doesn’t bark, though. He’s more of a whiner than a barker. He likes to sit in that window and watch the world go by. When there’s activity outside, he wags his tail and whines at it. Since I’m the only one who hears it, it’s fine. But I now know not to close the blind in my den.

    I should, however, send this article to my neighbors. They leave their dog in the yard for hours at a time, and it barks the entire time it’s out there. It’s annoying.

  4. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Every dog is different but one of the fundamental issues in training is that when a dog is freaking out, barking uncontrollably, running around in circles, etc. that it is necessary to break him out of the cycle. As ridiculous as it sounds, we always had very good luck just holding the dog down on his side, in a submissive position, until he calms down and then proceeding with the training.

    • qwickone says:

      +1 That’s been effective for me. Also, one of the most important aspects is DON’T GIVE UP. If you give up before your dog does, it’s useless. You might as well not even try. If you want a behavior to get better be prepared to give 100% when you’re working on it. Anything less than that = 0%, in my experience.

  5. George4478 says:

    I used bark collars on my dogs and a handheld sonic trainer on my middle-of-the-night howling cat.

    Neither option is suggested as even a possibility in the article. But I think they’re far better than sitting around while the dog barks for an hour at 3 a.m.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That’s because the article isn’t “How to Force Your Dog to Shut Up Through Pain.”

      • Doubting thomas says:

        What a suprise, Loias jumps in with an unsupported holier-than-thou comment. There are multiple types of Bbark collars. Some do use a mild electric shock, others use harmless citronella spray, or even high pitched whistles. Then he uses a sonic trainer on the cat, once again just a noise, no pain.

      • George4478 says:

        I uses buzzing/vibrating collars. What kind of pain do those cause? There is no electric shock, spikes that jump out and jab them, or a large stick that unfolds and whomps them.

    • tbax929 says:

      I used a bark collar when I first got my dog when I was crate training him. He would bark when I’d crate him and leave (this was before I was comfortable leaving him free to roam). Anyway, I only needed to use it one time. He hasn’t worn it since, and he no longer barks when I leave the house.

    • Taed says:

      I also used the ultrasonic device with my howling cat. While it would get her to shut up for a while, it seemed that it was just something that got her attention, not something that trained her not to do it, as she continued doing it many nights (and often the same night). She died recently at the age of 19. She only did it for the last year or so of her life, and I’ve heard it suggested that the howling can be related to old age.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        She may have been in pain.

      • George4478 says:

        Our cat waits until sometime after wifey and I go to bed then walks down the hall to our boy’s rooms. He proceeds to yowl to get their attention. When he gets tired he comes back down to our bed and sleeps with us. Every night.

        The trainer broke the yowling cycle, so that he comes back to our bed and settles down, without the floor show.

      • Not Given says:

        My cat was a few months short of 21 when he died and he’d been howling for at least 5 years.

  6. Booger of Love says:

    Does barking back work?

  7. Lethe says:

    I lost a friend once because we were planning on moving in together until I found out she wanted to take her jack russell terrier (which had been living with her parents up until that point). I had to refuse, since that thing was an aggressive dog that barked non-stop at anything unusual (visitors, anything outside windows, shadows, etc), and she never forgave me for pointing out that it was a menace that would likely get us kicked out for noise violations.

    • Sneeje says:

      Just a thought–it is possible that the language you used may have had a role in the conflict. You wrote here, “menace” which is evaluative as opposed to simply expressing objective concern for how the noise from the dog may affect your living arrangements.

      I realize you may not have used language like that, but folks often overlook that when conflict arises.

      • JennQPublic says:

        Yeah, but folks often overlook when their dog actually is a menace, too. Sometimes someone’s got to be honest about it.

        • Sneeje says:

          Perhaps, but don’t be surprised if “honesty” a) causes damage to relationships, and b) is really a disguise for putting someone down to make oneself feel better

  8. shepd says:

    Fortunately for my neighbours, they keep their dogs inside at night if they bark. No, no, I’m not nasty like that. I’d just call the cops for a noise complaint.

    If you’re going to live in a densely packed city and you own an inappropriate animal for that area, you don’t get to annoy everyone else. YOU as the owner *ARE* guilty of making a poor decision, take responsibility for it and bring it inside so only *you* get woken up.

    • qwickone says:

      +1 and I’m a dog owner.

    • BennieHannah says:

      Amen. I have four dogs and they are all indoor dogs. When they go outside in our fenced in yard, I usually go outside with them. If they begin to bark, I distract them with play and if any one of them continues to bark, I bring the barker inside. Play time is over.

      We have a sliding glass door, and I used a peel-and-stick (temporary) frosted vinyl panel to cover the door to the height where they can look out so that they do not bark at squirrels or lizards.

      Exercise and mental stimulation are key to keeping dogs happy and deterring annoying behaviors. (Doesn’t always work completely but almost always helps.) Walks, fetch, toys, and dog parks are our friends.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        The house next door to me is a foreclosure that’s being remodeled and flipped. If you’re looking to move, please let me know, I’d love to have you for a neighbor. (My previous neighbors had multiple citations for letting their unsocialized, aggressive Staffordshire bull terriers loose and unsupervised off their property, and for only one of those was I the complaining witness.)

  9. clippy2.0 says:

    Personally, rolled up newspaper for the win. Or a spray bottle.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Actually, it’s been proven that positive encouragement training is more effective than negative punishment training…

      • Cat says:

        [ Whacks ClemsonEE with a rolled uop newspaper]

      • clippy2.0 says:

        My puppies are adopted, so I need to remind them how lucky they are I saved them!

      • teamplur says:

        And how do you positively reinforce not barking?
        i’m all for rewards training. it works great for things like come, sit, stay… direct actions that can be rewarded. how to do you reward a non action all the time?

  10. Cat says:

    I have found poison in their kibble to be quite effective.

    No, not in the dog food, the owner’s food. What kind of monster do you think I am?

  11. GMFish says:

    The “Ignore him when he barks” is sort of BS. Those unfortunate enough to have lived next to such dogs have heard them bark for 9 hours straight while the owners were at work or sleeping, and yet being so ignored never caused them to stop barking.

    Bark collars, they sell ’em for a reason.

    • Cat says:

      Per my comment above, if they made a bark collar that would shock the OWNERS, even when the owners were at work…

    • Don't Bother says:

      I agree, but it depends on why the dog is barking.

      Example: We have a Bernese Mountain dog. She never barks at strangers or things that move outside. She only barks when she’s hungry or wants to play. Those are instances where she is seeking attention from us. Ignoring her, although not always easy, is a justified solution.

      A dog that barks at squirrels or strangers cannot be ignored. That is a boarder guarding habit. Ignore it and they will become alpha of the property. This case is something that shouldn’t be ignored. This is also probably the main reason why dogs are annoying neighbors, because they are tied up, bored out of the minds, and guarding their property non-stop.

      • failurate says:

        My neighbor has six dauschunds. They bark constantly. They don’t care if their owner pays attention to them or not (he’s a dumbass, when they bark and he is home, we get to listen to dogs barking and him yelling), they are barking to get each other’s attention.
        We (me and another neighbor) spent last summer trying to get the city to take the dogs away, instead they gave the owners a probationary period to get the dogs to quiet down. It worked until the probationary time was up. Now they are back to barking and we will get to spend the summer doing the whole thing over again.

        • Don't Bother says:

          My grandmother has always had dachshunds. They can be the most stubborn dogs around. They are also, even though they are small, hound dogs. They were bred to be barkers.

          Unfortunately, hounds are relatively dumb and bark-y. They love to vocalize with one another.

          Your neighbor needs to quarantine each pooch to get them to be quiet. Once one dog starts to bark, the whole lot of them will just because they hear another dog barking.

          Also, those little suckers are LOUD. My heart goes out to you.

        • shepd says:

          Stop calling for barking dogs. Call for noise violations. If you are told that barking dogs are not a noise violation for any reason other then them not being loud enough, remind the bylaw officer that legally dogs are property the same way a stereo system is property, with the exception that mistreating them is illegal. If the stereo was turned too loud, they would receive a ticket. If the bylaw officer refuses, ask for a supervisor. Follow it up the chain. Attend council meetings if necessary. The only exception should be if the city has an exception to their noise ordinance for pets (I’m sure it’s possible, but I know none of the cities around me have one). In that case you’ll need to press for the dogs to be taken to the pound, unfortunately–the usual unwanted results you get from too many laws.

    • orion70 says:

      I look at ignoring a dog barking in the same way I view ignoring a toddler’s temper tantrums. The tactic is all well and good when you are in your own home, and while it might have some effectiveness, the right to use that tactic stops when it is annoying everyone in the vicinity. In other words, the rest of the world didn’t sign up to be part of your behavioral modification experiment. And I say this as a dog owner and someone who loves kids.

      My dog loses her shit when I come home, so when I enter the house I mostly ignore her until she calms a little, but sometimes it does take a loud “hey!” to divert her attention, especially since she can’t hear so well. The second she starts barking outside, in she comes.

      I live next door to a dog like you describe. IMHO these dogs are not simply ignored in efforts to curb their behavior, but are to a degree neglected. They’re starved for attention. The one next door will bark for hours on end, and mostly while the owners are home but also while they go out to work or whatever it is they do. It barks at nothing, when the wind blows, or when someone is anywhere near. So i do think there is a difference between what I described doing when I come home, and what my neighbors are doing with respect to ignoring the behavior.

  12. jbandsma says:

    Best way to shut them up is to teach them to bark on command.

  13. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I wish my neighbors would read that article. Dogs that constantly bark are the calling card of a lazy, terrible owner. I’m referring to the “Dogs will be dogs” and “My dog barks, but not a lot” excuse users too.

    • kobresia says:

      Dogs that continuously bark are considered a nuisance in most counties, and warrant a call to the sheriff or local police so they can have a chat with the owner.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      That’s not fair, though. Some breeds bark more than others and some dogs, such as rescue dogs, have behavioral problems that take time to overcome.

      My dog is officially a ‘mixed breed’ but appears to be mostly or full-blood Maltese, a breed known for barking and separation anxiety. We’re about to start level II of a formal training program this Saturday and his behavior has improved since I adopted him a few months ago, but there are still some issues to overcome. He frequently barks at squirrels, birds, cars, and other dogs. Since I’m mindful of this and know that my neighbors do not want to listen to him barking non-stop, I bring him in after 10 minutes if he’s barking a lot, and if it’s past 10pm, he goes in almost immediately if he begins to bark.

      Despite this, I got a pissy little anonymous note on my door from a jerk neighbor complaining that I left my dog outside all day (not true) and that he barks 14 hours a day non-stop (also not true). They also complained to the city, who came out and tagged my house with one of those ‘noise nuisance’ warnings. I called them back and explained my side of the story, basically saying that whoever said those things about my dog was lying through their teeth, and invited them to come around anytime when I’m at work to see how things REALLY are. They acknowledged that whoever made the complaint was being unreasonable and that ‘dogs bark’.

      A barking dog is not a universal sign of a bad dog owner. Some of us are courteous neighbors and conscientious dog owners who are just trying to do the right thing for everyone.

      • Don't Bother says:

        I have a Maltese with separation anxiety as well.

        Mine doesn’t bark though… she howls. It’s actually kind of funny in a sad way.

      • Bionic Data Drop says:

        The first thing that training program should teach you is if your dog can’t be outside without barking, he can’t be outside without supervision. Every time the dog barks while you are not around is a missed opportunity for the dog to learn that the behavior is unacceptable. Almost all barking can and should be trained out of a dog who lives in a residential neighborhood and I absolutely despise owners who don’t because they’re too lazy to put in the time to train their dogs. Either that, or they just don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

        Some breeds are definitely harder to break of barking, but that should have factored into your decision when you adopted the animal. It’s a variation of the “dogs will be dogs” excuse. It will always be the dog owner’s responsibility to make sure their dog is not a nuisance to the neighborhood, regardless of any excuse they come up with.

  14. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    A can a pennies. Shake it whenever they do something bad. Worked for my pup.

    • George4478 says:

      Per my experience, that has limited applications.

      “Honey, grab me a beer, would you?”
      “Your legs broken? Get up and get it yourself……Why are you shaking that can at me?”
      “No reason.” *sigh*

  15. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Yelling is just ‘human barking’ to a dog.

    I pour a glass of water on her. All I have to do now is to hold up a glass and she settles down.

  16. Cor Aquilonis says:

    I correct my dog a la “Dog Whisperer” when I’m home, and I use an anti-bark collar when I’m not.

    No complaints from the neighbors.

  17. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My lab developed cataracts, and his eyesight is really impaired now. Unfortunately, now he barks at things he didn’t bark at before, like my neighbor and his dog. I gently remind him that it’s just Jason and Max, nothing to be worried about, and I redirect him back into the house. I don’t let him outside to carry on at the neighbors.

    It’s been my experience with my current dog and his predecessor that they are pack animals, and want to be included and part of the group. If you’re going to have a dog, spend some time with the poor thing and just don’t relegate it to loneliess in the back yard.

    • orion70 says:

      I can relate to that one. My dog is 15 years old and developed cataracts a couple of years ago. Lights in windows or reflections on glass doors seem to get her from time to time and she might start to growl or eventually bark if I don’t go walk in front of her or deflect her attention.

      This has freaked me the hell out on a couple of occasions late at night when she’s standing there staring and/or growling at something that’s not there. Oddly enough, when I moved rooms around and I guess the reflections were different, she doesn’t do it so much anymore.

  18. crispyduck13 says:

    “Ignore him when he barks.”

    My neighbors do that all the time, shit doesn’t work.

  19. Bugley says:

    –êrticle s–µ–µms out of pl–∞c–µ h–µr–µ –∞t C–ænsum–µrist.

  20. SporadicBlah says:

    “Remove the motivation”? Oh how I would LOVE to kill the neighbors cat! It shits in my yard and sprays my front porch and cars constantly. Ever seen what cat piss does to a set of tire rims? It eats the finish right off of them. I’m a good pet owner! My dogs are never unsupervised when they go outside.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Your problem is you’re supervising too closely. If you monitor the dogs from a second story window they will have time to “accidentally” chew the hissing piss machines into red spatter patterns on the driveway. Just protect their eyes so they don’t get scratched.

    • kobresia says:

      There is a most excellent video on Youtube. It’s made by an Aussie who had a cat-pissing-on-his-car problem, so he rigged a hose nozzle with an electronically-operated valve, and a motion-activated tripwire that turned on a video camera…and the hose.

    • mydailydrunk says:

      Coyote urine sprayed around the perimeter of your property might do the trick

  21. Coffee says:

    I second the commenter above who mentioned the dog whisperer. People who own a dog or want to raise a puppy should watch it. Many people who raise dogs think it’s sufficient to use the principles of operant conditioning on a dog (i.e. rewarding good behavior and punishing bad). While this is useful at times, it ignores a dog’s instincts and pack dynamics.

    For example, my mother has a difficult dog who won’t even lie down when she asks, or will get up the moment mom sits down on the couch. She always tries to praise the dog after it lies down because it did something good. Cesar Milan would tell you that you don’t need to praise the dog because that’s not what a pack leader would do…I expect you to sit down, so when you sit, I’m not going to praise the hell out of you. Good…you sat…that’s what I expected you to do…now I’ll ignore you.

    It seems counterintuitive at times, but I raised my dog that way and he’s great…he doesn’t bark and is under voice command, and it didn’t take a ton of work. I only bring this up because having a better feel for your dog helps with unanticipated issues like barking (which in and of itself is more complicated than “barking is bad”; there is good barking too).

  22. bassbeast says:

    Awesome! Now I’ll save money/avoid that scam/know how to plan my retirement better.

    Oh wait. This article taught me none of those things. Oh Phil!

  23. tinyangel says:

    how can I get my neighbor’s dog to stop barking is what I really want to know…

  24. tinyangel says:

    what I really wan to know is how to get my neighbor’s dog to stop barking…

  25. azgirl says:

    My neighbor’s dog barks continuously when its outside.. My dog used to be terrified to go pee when she was little because of it..
    She never used to bark, but recently started barking at everything walking by.. I bring her in as soon as it starts, but I suppose I am going to need a fancy collar to change the behavior…boo on that.. I blame the neighbor’s dog…

  26. Sad Sam says:

    Squirt bottle with just water. Our 1 and 1/2 y.o. black lab barks about once a month (when he is startled) but otherwise not a peep. He is so quiet our neighbors with 7 dogs who bark all the time asked us if we had his vocal cords clipped (um that is illegal, no we just trained him).

    Our prior dog, also a lab, was trained the same way. The last year of his life, as he went deaf, he did increase his barking, but otherwise he was very quiet as well.

  27. belanos says:

    Here’s how to stop dog barking….don’t get a freakin’ dog.