Saturday, October 20, 2012


With only a handful of exceptions, dogs bark.

People yammer.  Dogs bark.  Trouble is, sometimes a dog does more barking than is desirable.

You can reduce/control your dog's barking.  It takes patience, timing, consistency, and more patience.

Don't you get it? Shut Up means stop barking, Silly. 

Here's the thing.

Yelling SHUT UP at your dog hoping he will stop barking almost never works.  The reason is pretty basic.  You have to teach your dog what "shut up" means before he can comply with the shut up command.

Some suggest that yelling at your dog while he's barking is tantamount to joining in the barking and serves only to reinforce the barking.  I have an opinion on this but will save it for another time.  For now, we are discussing how to get your dog to stop barking.  Yelling wildly while the dog is barking wildly is, in short, not the answer.

The answer is to teach him a command that means stop barking. 

First, learn his pattern.  When dogs bark they usually do it the same way each time.  They may use different melodies depending on what they're barking at.  For example, the bark used to tree a squirrel has a different cadence than the bark used to intimidate the mail carrier.  To teach your dog the stop barking command you must learn his melody.  Pick a barking target that happens frequently and really listen to your dog's barks.  After a few times you'll recognize the pattern.

The pattern is like notes in a line of music.  You must identify the last note he barks before he stops barking.  That ending note is key.  It is on that final note that you give the stop barking command.  The dog hears the command and stops barking- as he always does per his pattern.  Praise him as soon as he stops barking. 

Next time he barks, give him the stop bark command on that last note of his melody.  He stops barking.  Praise him.

Repeat.  Be consistent. 

You'll need patience.  Barking is a tough doggy habit to break.  Still, it can be done. Eventually, the dog will put it together.  You give the stop barking command - he stops barking.  You praise him.  Ah hah!  Shut up means stop barking.  Learning occurs.

Once you teach your dog what you want him to do (or stop doing) the chances that he'll do what you tell him increase quite a bit.  In time, you can tell your dog to stop barking and he will stop barking.  That sure beats yammering.

More on barking...


  1. I tell my boys thank you and they're good. It makes them stop.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. It always amuses me that most apartment buildings will allow small dogs but not large ones. Small dogs bark more and are usually more destructive.

  3. Oh God bless you for this post!! I am desperately trying to get my German Shephard to stop barking. She's so quiet when it's just people walking by, but other dogs...she goes nuts!!!

  4. I see dogs frequently waiting for their humans outside of a store, and they'll bark until the people come out.