Bark Control Solutions

The phrase “the dog’s bark is worse than their bite” downplays how bad a dog’s barking can really be. Dogs that bark excessively might keep you from enjoying any peace and quiet at home, start trouble with other dogs, or get you into hot water with your neighbors. Even though you still love your pet, nonstop noise puts a real damper on the experience.

Luckily, there are several different bark control solutions that can calm your pup down over time. Read on to learn why dogs bark so much in the first place, see how to stop a dog from barking, get answers to common questions for dog trainers, and review different kinds of bark collars for dogs that can help with the problem.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

All dogs bark—that’s simply a fact! It’s their way of communicating, but just like with any living being, different sounds mean different things. Knowing how to stop a dog from barking starts with learning what exactly sets them off.

small dog barking

Territorial Barking

If something or someone comes into an area your dog considers their territory, they will start to bark. When the person, animal, or thing gets closer, the dog may begin to get louder. Another indicator could be their expression—dogs tend to look agitated, alert, or even aggressive in these situations.

Alarmed Barking

Loud noises may startle your dog and cause them to bark. This situation can happen wherever, not just at your house. Dogs will look fearful and sometimes have their tail between their legs and their ears back when this happens.

Attention-Seeking Barking

Sometimes dogs bark just so you’ll notice them. They may want to play, go outside, or be fed, or they might even bark just so you’ll look at them or pet them.

Barking in Greeting

Some dogs bark to say hello. This type of barking may be accompanied by a jump or a wagging tail, but even though it’s friendly, it can still be excessive.

Socially Facilitated Barking

If your dog hears another dog barking, they may be compelled to do the same.

Frustration-Induced Barking

If a dog is tied up or being confined, this may cause them to bark out of frustration.

Compulsive Barking

Separation anxiety can cause some dogs to bark when left alone. Some other signs of this problem include pacing, destructiveness, depression, and going to the bathroom in places they shouldn’t. In other cases, a dog will bark simply to hear themselves.

How Common is Excessive Barking?

Barking is as common for dogs as talking is for people. It’s natural! Just like our overly talkative friends and family, however, some dogs just don’t know when to stop. When you figure out what is making your dog bark, you can begin to work out the right bark control solutions. If you put in the time, work, and consistent practice at correcting your dog’s barking, you will be able to see progress.

Things That Make Excessive Barking Even Worse

Before you start your training journey with your dog, there are a few things to note. Your behavior can influence your dog’s behavior—for example, shouting will only set off your pet. Loud noises will make them think you’re joining in when they bark, so remember to speak in a strict but calm voice when giving commands to your dog.

Another thing to remember is that dogs don’t understand what you are saying when you speak or yell at them. Focus on teaching your dog just one word, like “quiet,” when training them. Consistency is key. Lastly, go into the training process with a positive attitude! Barking is a completely normal communication method for your dog, and as frustrating as it can be for us, they don’t know they’re doing anything wrong.

Questions for Dog Trainers: How to Stop a Dog From Barking

The best bark control solutions come straight from the professionals. We asked dog training experts targeted questions about different bark control methods and compiled their answers below. See if any of their advice makes an impact on your dog’s barking.

Positive Reinforcement

A great way to train your dog on the behavior you want to see is to reward them for doing something right. When you show your dog how much you enjoy their good behavior by giving them a treat, a toy, or more love, you can influence them to do more good behavior in the future.

How Do I Use Positive Reinforcement?

The best way to use positive reinforcement with your dog is to reward them when they are quiet or when they stop barking at your command. If they listen to your direction to halt a barking fit, give them a treat or some extra pats. Another potential bark control solution is to use a clicker when they do something good (followed by a treat). They’ll start to associate this small noise with your approval and will respond to it better over time. When your dog starts to understand what’s going on, you can extend the periods of silence before clicking and rewarding.

How Long Does Positive Reinforcement Take to Be Effective?

If you are consistent with your training, positive reinforcement can be very effective! The more immediate you are with positive reinforcement, the quicker your dog will learn.

Does Positive Reinforcement Work Long-Term?

Because it’s easier to encourage good behavior than to correct bad behavior, positive reinforcement is a great training method that can produce long-term results.

Distraction Toys

Toys are a great way to distract your dog from any triggers that might set off their barking. There are many ways they can work well for your training.

How Do Distraction Toys Work?

When a situation presents itself that has potential to cause your dog to bark, a toy is a great way to shift their focus onto something else. Toys also stimulate your dog’s mind and keep them entertained.

How Do I Use Distraction Toys?

The best way to utilize toys in bark control training is to have one ready to go before the trigger even happens. This, of course, is easier when you learn what sets off your dog. Sometimes, the dog will get so wrapped up in the toy that the thing that usually causes them to bark goes unnoticed. These toys are an especially great option when you need to occupy your dog while you’re away from home for a short while. They can also be used as a reward for good behavior during training.

How Long Do Distraction Toys Take to Be Effective?

As long as your dog is truly interested in their toys, this method can get results instantly. The sturdier the toy, the longer it will last to distract your pup.

Do Distraction Toys Work Long-Term?

Using distraction toys to curb your dog’s barking should be effective over time. Of course, you may need to replace these toys often if your dog plays with them a lot.

Bark Collars

Bark collars for dogs can be very helpful for getting them to quiet down.

What Are the Different Types of Bark Collars?

There are a few different types of bark collars for dogs. We’ll go over each one below.

Ultrasonic Bark Collars

An ultrasonic bark collar works by producing high-pitched sounds when a dog barks. These noisemaking machines can only be heard by dogs, since the pitch is too high for human ears to detect. The noise irritates them, which should hopefully cause them to stop barking.

When you use ultrasonic bark collars, your dog will associate barking with this unpleasant noise and eventually learn to stop. Any dog within the range of the machine will hear the pitch too, however—this can be good if you are training more than one dog or bad if only one of your dogs has a barking problem.

Vibration Bark Collars

A vibration bark collar works by setting off a vibration around the dog’s neck once it starts barking. This will only affect the dog wearing the collar because it only goes off when that dog barks. Most quality vibration collars have different levels of intensity that you can adjust to your dog’s size or barking severity.

Spray Collars

A spray collar is a unique choice that can help with bark control by spraying a spurt of air or citronella when it detects a bark. The sound, blast, and spray of the collar all act as deterrents to your dog’s barking. It is important to note that these collars should not be left on a dog for more than 24 hours at a time.

Shock Bark Collars

Shock bark collars are the least popular bark control solution, and they are generally not recommended by dog trainers, veterinarians, or pet owners. These collars pose dangers of animal abuse because they use painful electric shocks to stop your dog from barking. Shock bark collars tend to do more harm to your dog than good, leading to aggressive behavior or creating fear and anxiety toward other dogs.

How Do I Use Bark Collars?

First, talk to a trainer about which type of collar would be best for your dog. Once you choose a collar, make sure it fits properly and is set up correctly. If you have a vibration bark collar, you can leave it on your dog long-term, but if you have a spray or ultrasonic bark collar, be sure to take it off when your dog doesn’t need it.

How Long Do Bark Collars Take to Be Effective?

Since every dog is unique, there is no universal time frame for when a collar will be effective. The best advice is to stick with a consistent schedule while your dog gets used to the collar. When they start to become aware that their barking sets off the collar, you’ll know this method is working, and you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

Do Bark Collars Work Long-Term?

Bark collars can work long-term if you use them consistently. Depending on the type of dog that you have and their triggers, some can take longer than others.