Struggling with barking? Kickstart your training with our top tips

Barking is a completely normal and functional behaviour for our dogs; they may bark to alert us that something is wrong or to make you aware of some potential danger. However, barking may become a problem behaviour if your dog is constantly barking both inside and outside the house. Try our top tips to help limit your dogs barking...


1. Avoid problem situations - If you find your dog is barking inside the house, try and limit the opportunities they have to do this. For example, is your dog allowed to sit and look outside the window all day? if so, this could be reinforcing the barking behaviour. Try limiting your dogs access to windows/doors where barking may occur. 


2. Distraction - If you catch your dog barking try and dirupt the behaviour. For example, call them away from wherever they are barking and ask them for a different behaviour (such as sit) reward them for coming away and performing an alternative behaviour. 


3. Don't punish - Shouting at your dog for barking won't make the problem any better. In fact, if your dog is barking for attention you are just reinforcing this by repsonding to them. More so, dogs that are scolded for behaviours are more likely to experience anxiety which can make behaviours such as barking worse. 


4. Desensitise your dog- Your dog may be barking at you to alert you that they are afriad of something. We can help our dogs feel more comfortable in situations by reshaping how they view things. For example, if your dog is afraid when seeing dogs in the park - at an appropriate distance (where they are not reacting) sprinkle treats on the floor to encourage sniffing behaviour as an alternative to the barking. This will allow your dog to associate seeing other dogs with more positive outcomes. 


5. Don't reward your dog for barking - You may accidentally be rewarding your dog for their barking. For example, your dog barks and you respond by comforting them. Instead, wait for your dog to be quiet before rewarding them with treats or attention.