Does your dog bark in her crate while you are at work? Do you get complaints from your apartment neighbors that your dogs barking is out of control? Does your dog bark insanely out the window at other dogs and people?

group of dogs barking

Why is your dog barking?

Before you can get your dog to stop barking, you need to understand why he’s barking. Some reasons why your dog barks:

  • Alarm or alert to potential threat bark
  • Attention seeking bark
  • Excitement or play bark
  • Boredom bark
  • Guarding, territorial or threatening bark
  • Fearful bark

You can read more about decoding your dogs bark and the different bark sounds and meanings in our post: Types of Dog Barks

How to stop your dog from barking

Now you know why your dog is barking, let’s figure out how to stop him from barking so much.

First thing in any situation, is to never yell at your dog for barking. I know this is really difficult, I catch myself all the time wanting to yell at my dogs to stop barking.

Your yelling is equivalent to a dogs barking… they bark, we yell, they thing we are joining in on the alert or excitement.

Stop the boredom bark

The easiest bark to stop is the boredom bark. The quickest solution… give your dog more exercise. A bored dog is a dog that will find trouble.

Take your dog for a long walk, play with him, give him plenty of physical and mental exercise. Try dog puzzles or setting up a nose work optical course.

Stop the alarm/alerting bark

The alarm or alerting bark is actually a good thing. Your dog is a built in alarm system. But of course you want your dog to alert you, then stop barking when you want him to.

So in this case, we need to teach your dog the quiet command. This may feel contradictory, but the first step is to train your dog to bark on command.

  1. Give your dog the command to “speak,”
  2. Wait for him to bark and then give him a treat.
  3. When he stops barking to take the treat, praise him and give him the treat.
  4. Once your dog has learned how to “speak”, then teach him the “quiet” command.
  5. Tell your dog to “speak.” And when he starts barking, say “quiet”.
  6. Show him a treat and praise him for being quiet
  7. Then give him the treat.

Stop the attention seeking bark

Most dogs learn to bark to get your attention, whether it’s to be let out of their crate, begging for food, or to play their favorite game.

It’s important to ignore the barking and wait until your dog is calm and quiet to give them what they desire.

Barking, jumping, nudging your arm… whatever it is they must stop the unwanted behavior and sit calm and quietly before getting what they want.

Stop the fearful bark

Many rescue dogs are scared of something. Fear comes in many shapes and forms. To stop the barking you need to learn how to help your dogs fears.

Read Adopting a fearful dog and how to help.

Stop the guarding, territorial or threatening bark

This bark feels and sounds much more aggressive than a typical bark and should be addressed right away. Please seek help with a professional dog behavior trainer.

Recommended reading for you: Living with a Resource Guarding Dog

Anti-Bark Collars

If you have a particularly stubborn dog and you can’t stop him from barking with any of the suggestions above, then it’s time to look into an anti-bark collar.

Anti-bark collars help train your dog not to bark. There are many options to choose from, including

It wasn’t until we fostered a chocolate lab named Mocha, that I learned of the anti-bark collar. When we put Mocha in her crate, she would bark an ear piercing, high-pitched bark, non-stop for hours.

I didn’t know what to do with Mocha, I couldn’t leave her in the crate and bark all day long. But she was new to our home and wasn’t ready to have free roam of the house either.

So I turned to my foster group to ask for advice. Another foster family recommended the Citronella Bark Collar. So after doing some further research, I found that the Bark Collar is a great way to stop dogs from obsessive barking.

The bark collar does work – the proof is in the video!

It took less than 2 minutes for Mocha to settle and lay down in her crate.

Take a look at the video I took of her first time with the bark collar. Turn up your sound so you can hear.

First Mocha barks and activates the spray. She immediately stops barking but continues to whine. It takes a bit, but the collar does spray one more time because of her whining.

She then lays down and relaxes. One minute and 50 seconds, two sprays and she is calm… this beats hours and hours of barking and crying.

I was told the collar can be overly sensitive, so it was recommended to me to place a piece of duck tape over the microphone.

UPDATE: At the time of fostering Mocha and writing this original article the Ultrasonic devices or Vibration collars weren’t available. Now, I think these two options are worth looking into for your dog instead of the citronella spray collar.

How the Anti-Bark Citronella Spray Collar Works

The collar is sound activated, so when your dog barks the collar bursts a spray of citronella into the air. It is not harmful to you or your dog. The smell is unpleasant and the sound of the spray stops your dog from barking.

The collar can be overly sensitive, so it was recommended to me to place a piece of duck tape over the microphone.

When to Use the Anti-Bark Spray Collar

Use it to control excessive barking, barking that becomes a nuisance.

As mentioned above, the PetSafe Anti-Bark Citronella Spray Collar is what I was first recommended and used with Mocha. I have heard some trainers have concerns about using the citronella spray since the smell does linger in the air.

These trainers felt this was not fair to the dog to have to keep smelling the citronella. But with my experience, the need to use the collar was limited. After only one use, Mocha stopped barking, so the collar never needed to spray again.

Now I recommend considering a Ultrasonic device or Vibration collar in place of the cintronella collar.

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P.S. Do you have a dog that barks excessively? How are some of the ways you’ve been able to stop your dog from barking? Please share and tips with our Rescue Dogs 101 community by leaving a comment below…

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. Hi Debi! This is more of a question than a comment. We’re into week 3 with our adopted rescue dog. He’s a neutered male yellow lab, just about 3 years old. On day 3, myself and Luke (dog) were in the den. He started barking at my husband when he entered the room and again, later, at my adult son. He doesn’t bark at them while I’m at work, nor does he bark when I’m home, upstairs where he can’t see or be with me. He’s fine when me and my husband, or me and my son walk into a room together. Son and husband tried humming/talking lowly before entering the room, but he still barks at them when I’m in the same room with him. Luke seems to do his barking usually while he’s spending time alone with me. I’ve tried moving myself from the situation; tried saying “NO” as he’s barking; and tried ignoring his behavior. Not sure exactly how to handle this particular situation and what method to stick with. Both husband and son have started feeding him, giving him treats, and toys. Any advice you have is much appreciated.

    1. It’s so early on in his transition, it’s hard to say exactly what’s triggering the barking. Almost sounds like a protection bark (of you). I would continue to tell him NO when he barks. Continue to have the men do more and more feeding, walking, etc. He needs to learn to trust them and not protect you. Of course all this will be continually changing has he becomes more and more comfortable with his new family.

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