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How to stop nuisance barking

How to cease unpleasant barking

One of the most annoying habits a dog can have is nuisance barking. Not only is it headache inducing, it makes the most otherwise well-behaved dog seem like an unruly beast. And let's not even start on what the neighbors think. Learn all about nuisance barking and how to stop it.

Dog barking

Geralynn Cada

We turned to professional dog trainer Geralynn Cada for solutions to stop nuisance barking. First, she explained that just about all dogs bark and it's only natural for a dog to alert you to someone at the door, an animal in the backyard or any other normal, bark-provoking occurrence.

"However, when dogs bark at every little thing or continue barking when you ask them to stop, their barking becomes a nuisance. In many households, barking can become highly stressful to you and to the dog himself," explains Cada. "Sometimes barking is just your dog's way of communicating. But it can also signal boredom, stress and anxiety — as well as a way to get attention."

Tips from Geralynn Cada on how to stop nuisance barking:

1

Make sure your family eats first

The leader should always eat first. While you may not think this sends a message to your dog, it certainly does. If your dog eats before you do, you're sending him a message that it's his job to guard the home — and bark. If you eat before your dog does, you're showing him that it's your job to protect the family and not his — putting him at ease.

2

Watch your tone

If you speak to your dog in a negative tone when asking him to do something positive (aside from catching him in the act when he's done something wrong), you're telling him that you're in distress. This makes your dog panic and want to protect you, resulting in loud barking. Your dog will be more at ease if you try using a positive tone for everything (aside from responding to bad behavior). He'll see that everything is safe, protected and you're the boss — giving him little reason to bark.

3

Retrain how your dog deals with distraction

If your dog has a habit of barking at people who come to your front door, work on a command that retrains him to do something instead of barking when someone approaches the door. For example, retrain your dog to go to his crate or dog bed when there's a knock at the door. Enticing him with a treat or toy can help achieve this. Before you know it, barking will be a thing of the past!

Try a bark control product

When you've exhausted all other options, try one of these highly effective and affordable bark control solutions. Both are humane and easy to use:

  1. Sunbeam® Handheld Sonic Egg™ and QUIT IT!™Sunbeam® Handheld Sonic Egg™: Take this miracle device with you anywhere barking is a problem, and let it get to work. When your dog barks — or any dog within a 15-foot range — just press a button and it'll emit an unpleasant ultrasonic sound that only your dog can hear. He'll quiet down in no time. (petsmart.com, $20)
  2. QUIT IT!™: This brand new, As Seen On TV product only uses air to correct your dog's bad behavior. It's quickly becoming a popular option to curb nuisance barking. (buyquitit.com, $10)

If your pet's barking is still not under control, it might be time to hire a pet behaviorist to come in and assess what's going on. Stay positive and patient — and let your dog surprise you with his new, quiet demeanor!

More on dog training

Dog training tips every dog owner needs to know
House training your new dog
Celeb trainer face-off: Victoria Stilwell vs. Cesar Millan

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