Pets & Animal Dog Breeds

How to Make Your Dog Stop Barking for Attention

    Positive Reinforcement

    • 1). Eliminate all environmental factors that contribute to barking. Make sure the dog is in a comfortable space, with a blanket or padding, sufficient food and water, in a space free of drafts or excessive heat. If the dog barks at passers-by, then either block the view of people or animals passing by, or train the dog not to bark at the passers.

    • 2). Eliminate any behavioral reinforcements. Some dogs do bark because the relief/release that barking provides is sufficient unto itself. However, others are reinforced by the attention that the owner provides while correcting the dog, by being let out of the crate or the house on demand, or being provided with some other "bribe," such as a toy or food, in order to be quieted.

    • 3). Interrupt the behavior by raising your voice (without yelling) and tell the dog "no" in an authoritative tone. As an alternative, use a non-verbal "ah!" tone or a whistle to interrupt the behavior.

    • 4). Reinforce the dog being quiet by using a treat or by using a clicker and a treat.

    • 5). Add a command word or signal as the dog begins to understand what is expected of him. The dog will begin to show understanding if he pauses before barking at its normal stimulus or if it interrupts its own behavior.

    • 6). Continue reinforcing the dog for being quiet each time the stimulus is introduced until the behavior becomes consistent. After the behavior is consistent, reinforce the behavior on an irregular basis to ensure that the dog will maintain good behavior to earn a treat. This kind of reinforcement is called "variable reinforcement."

    Anti-bark Collars

    • 1). Eliminate all environmental factors that contribute to barking.

    • 2). Eliminate any behavioral reinforcements.

    • 3). Select an anti-bark collar. Although all collars provide a negative stimulus and break the behavior, some do so using a citronella spray and others do so using an electronic stimulus. Both provide effective and fairly harmless stimuli; however, some breeds or types of dogs may benefit from or be susceptible to the stimulus from one over the other. Citronella spray, for example, might have a more negative effect on dogs with sensitive eyes, while a dog with sensitive skin might be negatively affected by a collar that emits an electronic signal.

    • 4). Reinforce the quiet behavior with treats or clicker training.

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