Puppy jack Russell
© Unsplash

How to stop a puppy from barking?

By Dawn Parrish Content Writer

Updated on the

It’s normal canine behaviour for a dog to bark. It just appears that sometimes your new pup will not keep quiet!  When everyone in the house is stressed, follow our guidelines for how best to stop your puppy from barking

When you first bring a new puppy into your home, to new surroundings, everything is very new and strange. Once he begins to settle into his new pad, he should begin to quieten down and quit the barking. If it seems like he is constantly yapping, you need to try and find out what is making him apprehensive. Only then can you take steps to stop your puppy from barking.

Find out what makes your puppy bark

Discover what it is that makes your pup howl and yap. Is he only barking through the daytime or at night time too? Is he barking at someone inside the home or at people he can spot through the window? Keep your pup in view and try to determine the trigger cause of his distress. It could be one of the following indicators:

# to alert you to something – This could be an intruder of a stranger in your home. Let your pup know that you understand before he gets more agitated.

# anxious or stressed barking – your puppy could be barking because he’s worried about something or somebody. Discover how to help your dog relax at home and to build his confidence.

# barking because he is bored – your puppy needs frequent walks and playtimes. Give him more attention and stimulation.

# seeking attention – a young puppy soon discovers that if he yaps someone will soon pay attention to him.

# yapping with excitement – of course, your new pup is happy to meet everyone. He lets you know this by barking.

# barking due to fear – if you are on a walk with your pet and something frightens him. Don’t push him to face his fear, instead lead him away.

Some young puppies also bark because you have “trained” them to do so, albeit it inadvertently. Your pup says “woof” and you give him a treat. Likewise, he barks and you give a tummy-rub. It doesn’t take very long at all for a small dog to pick up that he only has to “speak” to you and he gets exactly what he wants.

First steps to stop your puppy from barking

As a new puppy owner, the sooner you realise that most of the yapping, howling and whining your pup makes is because he’s frightened, frustrated bored or lonely. Certainly, you can usually find an easy solution to all of these problems. Spend time exercising your pup and have active play sessions. Here are several other steps you can take to resolve your puppy barking issues.

Puppy barking at passers by©hann.james, unsplash

Step 1

If your puppy continually barks at outside noises when he is in the house, teach him a cue to be “quiet”. The moment he begins to yap, say “quiet” and disrupt his barking by making a noise. Because you want to distract him from the noise issue, make a shaker can by filling a fizzy drink can with a few coins and taping over the top. Shake the can until your pup quietens down. Once he ceases to bark, say “good” then reward with a tasty treat. Don’t continue with the can shaking.

Step 2

If the trigger is a specific event, perhaps a doorbell ringing, once again, use the “quiet” cue. Stand inside the house next to your puppy, while someone rings the doorbell. Your dog is almost certain to bark. When he stops the barking, say “quiet” and give a treat. Now remain quiet and calm and your pup will soon link the cue “quiet” with this silence.

Try a "quiet" cue to stop your puppy from barking©hanny.naibaho, unsplash

Step 3

Control your pup’s environment and limit things that scare him or make him anxious. If he is conscious of people and other animals outside your window, limit what he can access and see. Move a chair or other furniture to block his view. You can also use a dog crate to limit his view. This should stop your puppy from barking, especially if you need to leave him alone.

Step 4

Another solution to stopping your puppy from barking is to ignore his noisy behaviour. If you have a young pup that whines constantly, you will find that this behaviour continues, for a long time. You need your puppy to understand that he gets nothing by whining at you. Solve this issue by rewarding him for being quiet. He will soon begin to understand that he gets a treat and your attention only for good behaviour.

Reward your puppy for good behaviour©, unsplash

Step 5

Finally, don’t ever bark back at your puppy.  The way you speak to your pup, your expressions and movements are very important. Your pup might see his barking as an expression of his happiness. If you join in with him, he will only think you’re signing up to his game and yap for even longer. To help your new pup to settle into his new home, and hopefully to stop the barking and yapping, offer him the following:

  • A comfortable place to rest and sleep, close to you. If you allow him into your bedroom, give him a dog bed here too, as well as another in the lounge. Perhaps you prefer your puppy to sleep in a crate. If so, make it comfortable and cosy for him.
  • Even more important is to set aside playtime periods throughout the day. Take your puppy for adequate toilet breaks too, as often as every two hours.
  • Provide various chewy toys which you can offer on a rotation basis so he doesn’t become easily bored.
  • Join a puppy obedience or training session to give your puppy socialisation skills.

Just like humans speak, dogs bark! Likewise, some humans speak more than others and it’s exactly the same case with our pups. No one really wants a dog that is silent the whole time. Aim for encouraging your puppy to bark less, rather than silencing him completely. Finally, at the end of the day, all you really want is a tranquil home, a contented, happy puppy and to live in harmony with your neighbours!

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