Barking can be a serious problem for both dog owners and their neighbors, especially when it is the result of a dog's instinct to defend its home. Barking at night can keep owners awake, and territorial barking can make neighbors feel uncomfortable leaving or entering their houses. Although barking is a natural behavior for dogs, training efforts can eliminate or greatly reduce the problem. Veterinary behaviorists and professional dog trainers can help support you in training your dog to stop barking.
Stop general barking
Train your dog to bark on command using the verbal cue “bark.” Once she has mastered this trick, you can use the command, “no bark” to ask her to stop barking.
Coax your dog into silence with calmly spoken commands and treats. Don't yell loudly or rapidly repeat the command as your dog may think you are merely barking along with him. If you have difficulty getting your dog's attention while he's barking, clap your hands once and say "no bark." Then, when he stops barking, immediately reward him with praise and treat to re-enforce the "no bark" command.
Consider purchasing a training aid. Correction collars detect when a dog is barking and immediately deliver either a quick shock, an unpleasant squirt of liquid, or an irritating sound only dogs can hear.
Identify the cause of your dog's barking, then do your best to remove it. Some of the reasons a dog may bark include: to get your attention; to feel more secure by warning off approaching strangers and to entertain itself.
Stop barking for attention
Make sure that your dog is not trying to communicate a need through his barking. Address his needs in advance so that you are not forced to reward his barking after he reminds you of them.
Put your dog in her crate or room and do not give her any attention until she stops barking. It is best to leave the room if you can.
Enter the room with a spray bottle full of water and give your dog one, quick squirt in the face if he has not stopped barking after five minutes. Do not talk, and leave the room immediately.
Reward your dog with your undivided attention once she has stopped barking for a full minute. Repeat this process every time she barks for your attention.
Wait until your dog stops barking; otherwise, repeat the squirt every five minutes until he stops.
Stop barking at neighbors
Keep doors and windows shut to help minimize the amount of sound that both enters and exists your home. Move your dog to the most secluded room in the house during the time of day when she barks most frequently.
Invite your neighbors into your home to introduce them to your dog. Make this a fun experience for your dog by giving your neighbors a new toy or treat they can bring with them.
Ask your neighbors to give your dog simple commands and reward him with treats. Practice this together in your home until your dog respects their commands.
Ask your neighbors to use the "no bark" command when your dog barks as they enter and leave their homes. Your dog will recognize their voices and hopefully respect the command.