Barking control tools such as shock collars can cause physical harm, like burns or cardiac issues, and psychological distress, leading to fear or anxiety. Inappropriate use may also cause a dog to associate barking, a natural behavior, with punishment, leading to behavioral issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to use safe, humane methods like positive reinforcement and professional training, which promote healthier and more effective communication with your dog.
This article explains safe and natural remedies to control excessive barking so your dog doesn’t develop health or behavioral issues.
10 Safe & Natural Remedies to Control Dog Barking
Positive Reinforcement Training
Reward the dog when it remains silent in a situation where it would typically bark. For instance, if your dog barks at passersby, reward it with a treat when it remains quiet as someone walks past.
Gradually expose the dog to the stimuli causing the excessive barking but at a less intense level. For example, if your dog barks at loud noises, start by playing the noise softly and rewarding your dog for not barking. Gradually increase the volume over time.
When your dog starts barking excessively, redirect its attention to a task or behavior incompatible with barking. For example, ask your dog to fetch a toy when it barks at the door.
Dogs often bark due to pent-up energy. Regular exercises such as walks, playtime, or dog sports can help expend this energy, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking.
Keeping your dog mentally stimulated with puzzles, new tricks, or interactive toys can reduce boredom, a common cause of excessive barking.
Train your dog to understand a “quiet” or “enough” command. Start by saying the command when they naturally stop barking and reward them. They’ll soon associate the command with the action.
Providing a Safe Space
If your dog barks due to fear or anxiety, provide a calm, quiet place for them to retreat. This could be a crate, a specific room, or a quiet corner with their favorite blanket or toys.
Ignore the Barking
If your dog barks for attention, simply ignore them until they stop. This helps the dog understand that barking won’t get them what they want.
Well-socialized dogs are less likely to bark at unfamiliar people or animals. Regular exposure to various environments, sounds, and experiences can reduce fear-based barking.
Dogs thrive on routine. A consistent daily routine for feeding, exercise, and sleep can provide a sense of security, reducing anxiety-induced barking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is water and vinegar mixture safe to stop barking?
Yes, a water and vinegar mixture can be used as a deterrent for barking, but it should be used cautiously. While not harmful in small amounts, it can irritate the eyes and nose of a dog if used excessively or improperly.
Is citronella spray collar safe?
Yes, citronella spray collars are safer and more humane than shock collars. However, they may cause discomfort or stress in some dogs. They should be used in combination with positive reinforcement training for best results.
Are ultrasonic barking devices safe for dogs?
Ultrasonic barking devices are typically safe, as they emit sounds only dogs can hear to distract them from barking. However, they might cause confusion or distress in some dogs, particularly if overused or used without other training methods.
What smell stops dogs from barking?
There isn’t a specific smell universally known to stop dogs from barking, as responses can vary based on the dog. However, citronella, a strong citrus scent, is often used in anti-barking devices due to its distracting nature for most dogs.
Is citrus smell safe for dogs?
While the smell of citrus fruits isn’t harmful to dogs, ingesting citrus oil can be toxic. Citrus smells can also be overly intense for dogs’ sensitive noses and may cause discomfort.
Does peanut butter stop a dog from barking?
Peanut butter itself does not stop dogs from barking. However, it can be a distraction or reward during training to promote quiet behavior. Always use xylitol-free peanut butter, as xylitol is toxic to dogs.