- Category: Pet Advice
As our puppies learn to use their voices and want to communicate with us, they will bark, bite, nip and tug. They are learning to find their voice and tend to use it a lot! Puppies bark for many reasons. They want to greet you and/or defend you against anything scary to them and you.
Barking can be a good defense tool and shouldn’t be discouraged. However, if the barking becomes excessive, there are some things you can do to help encourage your puppy to only bark when appropriate.
Discourage excessive barking by giving your puppy a limit
Try to give your puppy a barking limit. You could allow your puppy to bark three or four times until you acknowledge a warning so your puppy knows that is enough. You heard him! After the designated number of barks, praise your puppy with something similar to good dog, now ‘sshhh’ and give him a treat as you praise. It’s hard for dogs to bark while chewing so this actual serves a dual purpose.
Talk to your puppy in a calm tone and don’t yell
Talk to your puppy with a calm tone of voice and body language—not just the words—to make sure your puppy understands that you aren’t angry with him. Barking is also a joyful expression. Use a calm voice to make sure that your puppy doesn’t bark any louder.
Try to figure out why and when your puppy is barking
One of the best ways to get your puppy to stop barking is to understand why he is barking in the first place. Take note of the times he is barking. Is your puppy barking for attention, from excitement, or due to separation anxiety? Usually puppies tend to bark in a sequence and for a specific reason, therefore it should be fairly easy to detect.
Praise your dog when she stops barking
If your puppy barks and you come running every time, then you reward the behavior. Instead, thank your puppy for the warning and then then say, “shhh.” When your puppy stops barking, praise and give her a treat. If he keeps barking, turn your back and leave the room. Most dogs want company, so leaving the room tells your puppy that he is doing something wrong. He will learn to be quiet if she wants you to stay and give her attention.
Practice ringing the doorbell and arrivals to get your puppy used to them
Ringing the bell, knocking on the door, and arrivals or departures excite puppies so associate the location and sounds with good things for the puppy. With your happy voice, tell your puppy to stop barking after your limit and encourage him with a treat or toy. He will then associate the ringing of the doorbell to a positive experience.
Giver your puppy lots of toys to keep him busy
Many pups bark because they’re lonely or bored. Even if your puppy has nothing to bark about, talking to himself may be better than listening to lonely silence. Chew toys that reward the puppy’s attention with tasty treats also fill up the mouth and your puppy can’t bark and chew at the same time. Puzzles toys like the Kong can be stuffed with peanut butter or kibble treats that keep your puppy busy biting until he finds the prize.
Try to block out the scary sounds that cause your puppy to bark
Puppies hear a lot of new sound and noises that may inspire barking. When barking arises from fear, there are white noise machines available to help mask the sounds or simply turn the radio to a normal volume or a television with the sound on low.
Every puppy and situation is different and if your puppy continues to bark after trying some of the above, you might want to enlist a professional trainer who can give you additional tips and recommendations. It is best to hire someone while your puppy is young so that you can stop the excessive barking before it becomes problematic in his adult life.