How to Stop A Dog’s Barking

Hey, guess what? Dogs bark!

Their barking has helped people for thousands of years by alerting us to intruders. Barking is their job!

But … today, a dog’s barking can obviously be a bit of a nuisance, especially if you’re starting to get complaints from neighbors, a landlord or roommates.

Heck, the barking is probably annoying YOU too!

So today I’m going ot share some tips on how to stop a dog’s indoor barking.

5 tips to stop a dog’s indoor barking

How to stop a dog's barking

1. Try to figure out why he’s barking.

People always say, how do I stop my dog from barking? Well, it depends on why he’s barking in the first place. If your dog barks & you’re not sure why, leave a comment below and I’ll help you brainstorm.

Could it be …

A fear of being alone? A negative association with being in a crate? Boredom? Reacting to noises or things he sees outside?

Or maybe he’s not getting enough interaction, physical exercise or training?

Does he have certain “triggers” like people walking by in the hall of your apartment, dogs walking by outside or maybe just you picking up your keys to leave makes him anxious?

2. Change his environment.

Sometimes the barking is a habit and if you change the dog’s environment or routine a bit, you can take away his usual “triggers” and stop or decrease the barking.

For example, if his barking is triggered by people walking by the window, block him from the window by leaving him in another room or possibly a kennel/crate or even just closing the blinds.

If noises trigger his barking, can you block some of the noise by leaving a TV on, music or a loud fan?

How about simply moving his kennel/crate to a different room?

3. Double his exercise.

Increasing a dog’s exercise will not solve a dog’s behavioral problems but it sure does help. If your dog has the energy to bark all day, I’m guessing he’s not getting enough exercise.

I’ve had people tell me, “We walked a mile today, and he’s still not tired.”

One mile?

Outward Hound dog backpack
Try FIVE miles, with a dog backpack and some running. And then do another mile or two in the evening.

I realize not everyone has the time for this. I realize others are not physically capable of that kind of movement.

But you just have to find a way to provide exercise. You just have to.

If you can’t afford dog daycare or a dog walker, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to get up early and exercise your dog for 90 minutes before work and another hour in the evening.

If you physically can’t walk or run, then you’re going to have to drive to the dog park every day or pay a dog walker.

Or maybe you’re broke, physically disabled and working overtime with four kids, but you still have to find a way! 🙂

4. Find ways to work your dog’s mind.

Working your dog’s mind by providing him with training, new experiences and challenges is just as important as physical exercise.

Dogs are intelligent and emotional creatures, and they get a bit crazy and frustrated if they have nothing to do!

Here are some simple ideas for providing games and challenges for your dog:

Dog puzzle toy

  • These really awesome dog puzzles by Nina Ottosson!
  • Feeding his meals in Kongs
  • Taking him to a training class once a week such as obedience, agility, etc.
  • Attending dog daycare or going for walks with a dog walker
  • Wearing a dog backpack
  • Teaching a new trick and practicing for 10 mins a day
  • Playing games like fetch and tug
  • Teaching your dog to sit, climb on or crawl under different obstacles

Some good ideas in this post: Exercising your dog indoors

5. Use an anti-bark collar.

I mention this last because it’s not fair to use a bark collar if your dog’s needs are not being met. (Also, I wouldn’t use an anti-bark collar on a fearful/nervous dog.)

However, if you’re providing your dog with plenty of interaction, exercise and training every day and he’s still barking, then sometimes an anti-bark collar is a good solution for certain dogs.

I’m planning a post soon specifically about anti-bark collars and whether or not they’re right for different situations. If you have any questions about bark collars, leave them in the comments below.

Also, if you’re still not sure how to stop your dog’s barking, let me and I’ll help you brainstorm some ideas.

We all love dogs but boy is barking annoying at times!

Do you ever have issues with your dog barking too much?

What’s worked for decreasing the barking? What hasn’t?

More resources:

How to stop your dog from whining for attention

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

39 thoughts on “How to Stop A Dog’s Barking”

  1. My neighbor bought an anti-bark collar and it worked well until the dog figured out he could howl very loudly and not set off the collar. So now when they leave the dog howls instead of barks. I thought that was pretty clever of him.

  2. I agree with all of the tips. In addition, crate train your dog. Also, some breeds are more vocal, so a research before choosing a dog is a good idea.
    Sharing your post with a friend with a talkative little dachshund. 🙂
    Thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Crate training is SO helpful. I know some adopted dogs are scared of crates but if you can train them its so, so helpful.

      1. Pet MD has an article floating around on crate training that was helpful. I used the method on my 8 week old who was probably missing Mom and wanted to be with us all the time. The basic gist is to get them to always be thinking of good stuff when they go into the crate – sometimes a regular treat and sometimes something really awesome, they never know which! Then you use that to build up getting used to more and more time in the crate.

    2. My baby barks at me after I get home if he’s been left at the house. It doesn’t matter if he’s left with other people or alone. If I leave he is going to bark at me upon my return every single time. Is this separation anxiety? He barks at everyone when they come home but its excessive with me. He is my baby. He’s 7 and I’ve had him since I rescued him as a puppy.

  3. I had a trainer suggest putting the crate in our basement bedroom. I asked if that wouldn’t be isolating/boring, but he said it would actually help keep her calmer if there were fewer stimuli – I just needed to leave her something to do in the crate and he also suggested public radio (talk radio, soothing voices).

    For brain games: I do like the Nina Ottosson toys a lot, and so does my dog. I’ve had a different trainer suggest putting a stinky treat in some kind of ball or container through which the dog can still smell the treat, hiding it, and asking the dog to find it. You have to start slowly with this one – put the ball in plain sight as your dog is learning – but you can make it more complicated and add a second ball as your dog gets better at it. Or you can just hide treats all over. This works impulse control as well; my dog has to hold a sit-stay or down-stay for several minutes while I hide things.

  4. I also like to keep the dogs calm in the house, especially the foster dogs. It’s hard to expect my dog to be calm when nobody’s home, if he cannot relax when we are home. Bouncing off the walls is not doing anybody any favor, ha ha.
    I actually followed your recommendation and leashed my pup in the house when I wanted him to stop pestering me (mostly whining for attention). He gets lots of exercise and mental stimulation so I don’t feel guilty about expecting him to chill out.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh, good points! I do not tolerate bouncing off the walls. I expect calm behavior in the house. Boy am I in for a challenge with a puppy!

    1. I taught, “Good bark!” for that; I do want her to bark once or twice when warranted. Once she knew, “Good bark!” I could turn around and tell her, “No bark!” and she figured out quickly what that meant. She struggles because she wants so badly to keep sounding an alert, but she is improving on quieting when I tell her, “No bark!”

  5. No barking issues, but sometimes in the morning while Mom is getting ready to walk us we enjoy a good howl. One of us starts and then the other follows. We place ourselves far enough apart that Mom can’t get us both at the same time. That is the only time we do that, and it isn’t every day, so she lets it slide.

  6. Just my 2 cents worth – I’m not a fan of ever using anti-bark collars. I agree with you about addressing the cause of the barking and removing the stimulus that’s causing the behavior first to see if the barking will cease on its own. Then I train dogs the “That’s enough!” cue after 3 barks. It works great and I’ve never had to resort to using the shock collars (not that I ever would anyway). I believe it’s much more humane than the owner turning up the strength of the buzz to a real shock because their dog has gotten used to the lower level and has started to bark again. With the “That’s enough” cue, the dog has learned not to bark on cue rather than not barking because they were startled or shocked. Other than this, the rest of your recommendations are spot on!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Great idea. Many dog owners are uncomfortable with bark collars and that’s just fine. I taught my dog “quiet.” And also “speak!”

    2. Hi Lisa, I’ve heard this before. I say “that’s enough” to my dog when she’s barking, but she doesn’t know what it means. How do I teach her to understand “that’s enough?” How did you teach your dog to know “enough” and also to listen to you?

  7. I’m all about managing the environment because of alert barkers. No see, no hear = no bark.

    They make “window film” which is a type of contact paper that is easy to put on your windows (or the lower portion of them) & it comes off easily, with no damage to the window. You can get different patterns and they are often translucent, so they don’t block light. It is so much nicer than having to keep your blinds closed all the time.

    Combine that with something making white noise (for me, it’s usually an air filter or purifier) and you are usually set. Some dogs do better with leaving a tv or radio on when you’re gone too. I used to joke about the shows that hulu recommended for my dog based on the other shows he has “watched.”

    1. Sean, that’s a good point. I need a little help with my barking dog. Specifically, her bark is a high-pitched one and it just grates on my nerves. Plus it scares me sometimes because it’s out of the blue and she’s heard something I hadn’t. I’ll be chillin’ and then BARK BARK BARK and I’ll jump. I like the idea of keeping a fan on as the article also suggested (or radio or Hulu). And I’ll have to look into this tape if I can’t manage the barking a little more.

  8. Pierson barks at just about everything when he’s outside… another dog in the neighborhood barking, someone walking by, neighbor getting home, postman delivering mail, car with loud muffler driving by, and so on. I did resort to a bark collar for a while but the electric ones really hurt him and the scent or sound ones did no good. So I just manage the behavior instead. If he barks when he’s outside, I bring him in. He loves to be outside so this is a form of negative punishment (although he loves being inside too).

  9. I have an anti-barking collar but I consider that a last resort. Also you need to consider the breed of your dog. Some are more likely to be yappy, like my dachshund.

    We have a new beagle/catahoula which we rescued and she does not like cats. She barks and barks at them. I have found a spray bottle of mostly water and a little white vinegar seems to stop this. We have her a week and she knows when she sees the bottle she better stop.

    Remember if you keep working time heals all.

  10. We haven’t tried a bark collar but have tried for two years to train her to stop barking every time a car or walker goes by. Especially our neighbor’s, whom she has known all her life. She is a fairly big dog and her booming bark nearly causes me a heart attack every time. Thankfully that’s the only time (other than a knock on the door) that she barks. If I see someone before her, I will warn her to not bark, it’s okay and she won’t. I praise her when she does this but if she sees first, it’s Katie, bar the door.

  11. Days after I adopted my basset, I went out to the car to go to work and heard the city’s tornado siren. I wondered why (clear day) and realized it was actually Zoe howling in her create! Thankfully, the separation anxiety was short-lived!
    As for bark collars, they can be a good tool as a last resort. My sister adopted brother/sister mutts (maybe beagle – dalmatian – heeler – who knows -mix) and as dogs do, they will bark for a moment if they hear someone on the other side of the fence. However, the female would bark nonstop at one of the neighbors who we think taunts them (and then complains to the city about the barking – with drama that could be a book!). What finally worked was the citronella bark collar. Allie might get a bark or two off now and then but my sister tries to bring the dogs inside if she sees the old lady outside.

  12. Hi Lindsay

    I have a new puppy. It’s quiet through the day, but barks after I go to it to change the pee pad, pat it, or when it wants to poo. It seems mainly to bark on stop when I leave. May I please seek your help in identifying what could the reason be for his barking?

  13. This is a topic I’m dealing with right now with my newish dog. This is my first dog and she’s generally great. But she has impulse control problems and listens to me maybe 50% of the time. I’ll try some of these management techniques. And I try and exercise her a lot but I can’t let her off leash because she’s a maniac so I’m working on that. I play fetch with her inside so that she run some of that energy off.
    I like the idea of getting some more mind games for her. And the backpack. The whole training thing is a lot of work, sheesh! 🙂 Thanks Lindsey for writing and sharing this post!

  14. my girls really dont bark in the house. they bark when someone is coming down the road (i live in the country), or when someone is at the door. they are like my doorbell. if the get out of control, i take out the can of pet corrector. they just see that can and stop, i dont even have to spray it. i really like it better than the collars. i have always been a little scared of the collars. maybe if the collars were just the spray, but not the electrical ones. i know i would not like to get shocked. also i have tried treats or toys to get them doing something else. i dont mind so much b/c i i am in the shower and they are barking, it lets me know something is up, either someone is at the door or something is going on outside. i know that is not the case with many dogs though.

  15. Abraham my pup is 6 months old. My Esther is 4 years old. Esther has been a rare barker, until Abraham came along. Now Esther seems to try to set Abraham off. She has been barking at every noise. Now Abraham barks at every noise. We are not sure if we should use a bark collar to stop this behavior?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      It’s really up to you, Kathryn. Some people are comfortable with a bark collar and others are not. You know your dogs best. I would test the collar on yourself first and try it at a lower setting. If you have an especially sensitive or fearful dog it might not be the best fit. It all depends on the dog.

  16. Need some help! My dog has just recently started barking at other dogs from the car. Never did this before and it started about 2 weeks ago. Now, I can’t have the car window open as she barks excessively if she sees any other dog outside. Used to be her favorite thing, handing her head out the window of the car…loss why this has started?

  17. The easiest way to stop your dog barking and control them by using ultrasonic dog bark control. There are no side effects, I have used this device personally & I have observed the positive results, also I am the breeder of pomsky dogs. so I am quite aware of this.

  18. There are citronella bark collars. They don’t shock, just spray a burst of citronella, which most dogs don’t like. I borrowed it from my local humane society many years ago.

  19. I have a rescue 100 pound black lab with a deep LOUD voice. When he barks it is generally because he has seen a squirrel or someone is at the door……..except when he is in the car. He barks loud and ceaselessly. I have to wear ear plugs. How can I get him to stop? I want to take him with me, but my hearing cannot take it.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Is he excited while in the car? Or nervous/scared? Are you comfortable going the e-collar/bark collar route? Another option is to give him something else to focus on, maybe a Kong stuffed with peanut butter.

      Does he ever settle down in the car? For example, my weimaraner whines until we get on the interstate, then he settles in.

  20. My dog barks like crazy when it’s time to eat. Nothing I can say or do stops her until the food is on the floor. I’m positive she can tell time.
    People even yell at her when she does it at another home. So I’m so embarrassed.

    The only way I can stop her is hold her but she is really to big to hold and make her meal at the same time. She won’t obey “quiet” or “stop”. Please help, Joy Olson

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