Reducing dog barking in the home

Since it’s almost International Peace Day the Tailster team has been looking at ways you can achieve peace (and quiet) in your home.

All dogs bark (fine, if you’re a Basenji owner, they’re kind of exempt). You can’t expect to hit the mute button on your dog – but you should be able to have some control over it. Excessive barking is a behaviour problem and it can cause hostility between you and your neighbours too.

We’ve rounded up our very best woof-reducing tips for teaching your dog to use their inside voices in the home and managing those awkward conversations with next door.


Our top three training methods for barking pups

For all of the methods below, you’ll need to work out your dog’s ‘why’. Is it a distressed yap or a territorial snarl? A bored howl or a demanding yelp? Dog barking stems from so many different behavioural issues, from separation anxiety to boredom, all the way through to guarding their home. It’s important to understand what the issue is so you can be sure you’re using the best method for them.

Teach your dog the “quiet” command

Works wonders for doorbell yappers, garden howlers and windowsill wailers. 

Now, this might seem a little backwards, but in order to control their barking using this method, you need to teach them to bark on command too – stay with us! The aim is to trigger the undesired behaviours in order to show them what you’re actually looking for.

It’s also a great party trick, so what’s not to love?

Step one Grab your dog’s favourite treat and wait for them to bark. This is where understanding your dog’s bark trigger comes in handy!

Step two Reward the bark and gradually pair with your chosen command – we like “speak”!

Step four Allow them two or three barks and then show them the treat.

Step five As soon as they stop barking to investigate, praise them and give them the reward once more.

Step six Keep practising this technique in a quiet environment and gradually build up to everyday scenarios such as the doorbell ringing. Eventually, you will be able to curb your hound’s barking with a simple “quiet” – the dream!

Counter-conditioning training

Perfect for needy yelpers, doorbell yappers and windowsill wailers.

This method is perfect for those of us who can’t be there every hour of the day to tell our pups to pipe down. Although you will have to spend the time training them before expecting a quiet home, counter-conditioning is great for changing your pup’s negative reaction to a positive one so you won’t even have to say a word.

Step one Enlist the help of a neighbour to knock on the door or ask a friend to walk past the window whilst your dog keeps guard on their perch. Stock up on your pup’s tastiest treat and get triggering.

Step two Every time your dog hears a knock on the door or sees something go past the window, reward them with the treats before they have even a millisecond to consider barking.

Step three As soon as the trigger disappears, so do the treats.

Step four Rinse and repeat! Practice really does make perfect. Over time your pooch will begin to see the trigger as a good thing. Trigger = treats. What more could a dog ask for?

The stopgap solution

Great for those in a rush!

If you need a quick and dirty solution – look no further. Whilst we’d always recommend spending the time training your four-legged friend – it’s been shown to improve the bond between you and your pet – sometimes you just don’t have the luxury of waiting for the lesson to click.

The aim here is to remove the trigger that sets your dog off on a barking meltdown. For example, if your dog is triggered by passers-by, remove their access to the window. Block the windows or leave them in another part of the house with less pavement action for your dog to comment on! Work out what causes your dog’s barking and do your best to remove it from your dog’s day.

You can try leaving your boisterous hound with toys to keep them entertained. A rubber toy filled with dog-friendly peanut butter will be just the ticket.

It’s also possible your dog is feeling underexercised – after all, a tired dog is a quiet dog. This is where Tailster can help. We will find you a local, trusted doggy daycare or dog walker so that you can rest assured your dog isn’t barking the house down whilst you’re out and about.

Keeping the peace with your neighbours 

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, neighbours tend to be a fact of life. As a nation of dog lovers, we expect that love to be shared by all but what happens when that isn’t the case?

Barking dogs can cause a lot of issues between neighbours. We recommend constant, open communication around what you’re doing to resolve the issue. Let them know you’re frustrated too and share your training plan with them. If you keep them in the loop, they are less likely to become hostile and may even get involved in your counter-conditioning training if you ask nicely!

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Struggling to keep your vocal hound under control? Why not give Tailster a try? We’ll find someone to walk, play and thoroughly exhaust your pup before dropping them back to snooze the afternoon away – silently! Book your pet carer now.

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