So, you thought that getting a dog would be all bunnies and rainbows (or at least that’s what they told you it would be like), right?
You weren’t warned about all the potential hardships that would come along as part of having a dog join the family, such as dealing with excessive and annoying barking, were you?
You go ahead and attempt to apply “common sense” in this situation, hoping that what once worked on someone else (like when your kids were yelling for no reason) will also work here, only to be bummed, disappointed and burnt out after you miserably fail in all your attempts.
You’re most probably committing these 5 very common mistakes that many other dog owners who have tried to get their dogs to stop barking have done many, many times way before you.
So, before you learn all about what you should do to get your dog to stop barking, you should know what you’re doing wrong and what’s hindering the process from becoming a success.
Ready? Let’s go!
1) Inconsistency: If you want to get your dog to stop barking excessively for no reason, you have to do it consistently, and this is probably the number one mistake that dog owners do which blows any chance they had all away. You can’t tell your dog to stop barking one time when your head hurts, and let it pass another time when you’re feeling generous, that gives your dog mixed signals. Each and every time your dog barks for no reason and does so excessively, you have to take the same stance, and that’s communicating to them that this should stop immediately.
2) Uncertainty: We all love the feeling we get when there’s an authority figure leading our way who we feel safe around. Like it nor not, humans are attracted to confidence, and those are science’s words, not mine! And just like humans are greatly attracted to confidence, dogs are too. Show your dog that you’re unconfident and not even you take yourself too seriously, your dog won’t either. But, show assertiveness and be firm while staying calm and communicating to your dog that they should stop barking, and they’ll do as you say. How you give orders to your dog is probably one of the most important issues that determines whether you succeed in getting them to do what you want them to do or not.
3) Physical Punishment: Some people are given terrible advice such as “you should try spanking your dog if they won’t stop barking” or “slap your dog to show them who’s boss!”. This is TERRIBLE advice! Any physical punishment you give your dog is game over, you’ll have ruined everything and gotten nowhere. Some people do this because they believe that when a dog has pain inflicted on them after they do something bad, they’ll learn not to do it again. However, that’s not how it works. Inflicting physical pain on your dog is way too risky and dangerous, as your dog doesn’t learn anything and does 0 progress when it comes to behavioral modification, and there’s a huge chance that they’ll hit back at you (in this case, attack and bite you).
4) Off Timing: When it comes to modifying one of your dog’s bad behaviors, timing is everything. Be just a little off timing, and the message you want to get across to your dog will never get to them the way it was meant to. If your dog is barking for no reason around noon time and you let it pass by, only to remember what they did at night time and decide to “punish” them for their excessive barking right there and then, there’s no way your dog will be able to tell that they’re being punished for what they did earlier on during the day. Even if you’re a few seconds off when giving your dog a reward/punishment, the message won’t get across clearly to your dog. This is why it’s absolutely critical that you reward/punish your dog on whatever they do the instant they do it, so they know that this consequence is for the behavior that they just did.