Got a Yappy Dog? How to Stop a Dog From Barking
Category_Dog Knowledge

Got a Yappy Dog? How to Stop a Dog From Barking

by Wes Chang
You love your pup like he’s your child, but his endless barking is driving you (and your neighbors) mad. He seems to bark at everything that moves and you’re at your wit’s end trying to get him to quiet down. Is it time to hire Cesar Millan? Not quite yet. Barking is in a dog's nature and they do it for a wide variety of reasons. While you can't learn how to stop a dog from barking all of the time, you can determine why it's happening in order to mitigate the noise. There is a difference between average dog barking and excessive or compulsive barking. If your dog does the latter type of barking, there are strategies for curbing this unrestricted yappy habit. Getting started requires patience above all else. Teaching your dog to quit excessively barking is not going to happen overnight, but it is possible over time with these tips on how to stop a dog from barking.

Why Dogs Bark

In order to control a dog's excessive barking behavior, you must first understand why they are barking. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, barking is how they vocally communicate. They could be play-barking, alerting their owners of danger, or be expressing anxiety, boredom, or excitement. Whatever the reasons are behind your dog's barking problem, they are not barking to annoy your neighbor or taunt you. Though it might not seem like it in the moment, your dog barks for a legitimate reason.

Warning or Alerting

Dogs are protective of their homes and families. It is normal for a dog to bark when they hear someone at the door or if they see an unfamiliar person or creature (like squirrel) out the window passing by. This is their way of being alert or sensing a possible threat.

Stress or Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety will start barking that accompanies whining. Like fearful dogs who lick excessively out of anxiety, this kind of barking serves as a sort of self-soothing coping method.


The attention-seeking bark is pretty easy to identify and is quite common. Perhaps your eyes are glued to your phone or TV, or you are trying to get some work done at home when this happens. This is when your dog is saying "Hey! Look at me! I exist!"

Playfulness or Excitement

Whether they are playing with you or other dogs, anticipating their dinner, or just happy to be running after their favorite ball, dogs will often bark out of playfulness and excitement.


This kind of bark signals powerlessness and frustration, like when a ball rolls under the couch and they can't get to it, or if your dog is trying to get the treat in that new puzzle toy you just bought them.

How to Stop a Dog From Barking

dog barking

Preventing excessive barking depends on why they are doing the barking in the first place. There are products and dog training methods using positive reinforcement that will help to silence your excessively barking dog.

For the Alarm Barker

For dogs who bark as a warning every time they see someone (or something) walk past the house through the window, there is a very simple solution: close the blinds. Cutting off visual access for your territorial barker is a quick way to curb the noise by taking away the stimuli. Alternatively, you could install affordable temporary privacy window film just above your dog's line of sight. Another option is to invest in a white noise machine. The white noise will drown out the sounds of passersby or vehicles outside that trigger alarm barkers.

For the Stressed-Out, Fearful, and Bored Barkers

Next time your fearful, anxious, or bored pup starts barking uncontrollably, provide some mental stimulation. A puzzle toy or brain game that dispenses treats is a great way to give them something to do while you are busy or away from home. Using their brain will tire them out and keep them focused on the game rather than what is making them stressed. You can also hide treats throughout your home for them to find throughout the day. It will keep them busy and is good nose work practice. Another way to curb this behavior is through prevention. Know your dog's triggers and avoid the ones that stress them out or make them afraid. For bored barkers (as with all dogs), they need the right amount of exercise. Take them for regular walks every day. A tired dog is a quiet dog.

For the Attention-Seeking Barkers

Positive reinforcement training comes in handy when you want to stop an attention-seeking barker. You basically have to ignore them while they bark, and reward them for good behavior when they stop barking. Consistency is key here. Do not acknowledge your dog in any way when they are barking. This means no eye contact, no talking to your dog, and no touching. Even the slightest glance in their direction rewards them for their noisemaking. Face away from them or try to leave the room when they start demanding attention. This communicates to them that barking is going to give them the opposite of what they want. The second your dog stops barking, reward him or her. Whether it's with attention, play, or peanut butter dog treat, you can give them what they want in the moment. Keep rewarding them for every few seconds of silence. If they start barking again, give them the cold shoulder immediately. This teaches them that they only get attention when the barking stops. Getting an attention-seeking barker to stop is an admittedly frustrating process, but with consistency and patience, you will get results.

What NOT to Do to Stop a Dog's Barking

Brown dog looks out window

Never yell, use a shock collar, or invoke physical punishments on your dog when training them to stop barking or correct bad behavior. The below methods are not recommended.

Why Punishment Is a No-No

Whether you try physical punishment, solitary confinement in a crate, or using a punishment device such as an anti-bark collar, methods like this are wrong and questionably effective. These actions do not solve the underlying problem. Here's why:
  • Bark collars are easy for dogs to figure out, meaning they become "collar-wise" and will start going back to their barking habits the second the collar is taken off. For dogs barking out of fear or anxiety in particular, the ASPCA recommends finding a professional behavior specialist before resorting to a bark collar.
  • Do not use a muzzle to keep your dog quiet for long periods of time. This is an inhumane practice that prevents dogs from eating, drinking, or panting to cool off.
  • Do not yell. Yelling makes it so you are basically barking along with your dog and might encourage them to keep at it.
While teaching a dog to curb their excessive barking pattern can be exasperating, punishment is not a reliable way to get them to kick the habit.

Barking Be (Nearly) Gone

Now that you have determined what type of barker your dog is, you have the knowledge for how to start working with her to lessen the noise, whether she is barking out of stress, fear, boredom, or excitement. It’s vital to practice patience with your pup when learning how to stop a dog from barking, even when he’s behaving badly, so you never resort to punishment. Be as tolerant and positive as possible during this process — anger will never solve the underlying cause of his barking. Together you and your dog will get there.

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