Stopping your dog from barking

When your dog just won’t stop barking it’s the worst, huh? That’s why Zookie has gathered some tips, tricks and gadget goss to help quieten down your furry friend.

23 Apr 2017 By Sarah Billington Comments

Sometimes barking is a good thing, like when Rover is alerting you to danger, or an intruder, or warning another animal to back off. Dogs bark as part of play, or because they are caught up in some excitement in the house, or they are demanding a reaction from you — perhaps you’re reading the paper, staring at that computer or TV or talking to a loved one too long and simply not paying them enough attention! Naughty you!

Then some dogs bark just for the hell of it. Nonetheless you probably want to discourage your dog’s noisy behaviour.


The most common way we silly humans try to discourage barking is by yelling. We lose our temper and shout at the dog to stop. But did you know that yelling at Rover to stop barking may actually be reinforcing his behaviour? He thinks you’re joining in and barking too! It’s hard not to yell out of frustration, but here are some tips on other, more effective, ways of discouraging your noisy dog.


Tips to stop your dog from barking

—Create a distraction

A distraction will break your dog’s focus away from the cause of his barking. It can be through blowing in a dog whistle, an unpleasant, high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear, or perhaps consistently, every time he barks, dropping something noisy on the ground, like a tin with nails or coins in it (but pretending you have no idea where it came from). That way he will associate barking with the horrible noise of the whistle or the tin dropping on the floor.

—Have Rover bring you a present

By bringing you or a guest one of their favourite toys, they can no longer bark with their mouth full. Be careful not to give Rover a toy while he is barking, however, as that could reinforce his noisiness. You can encourage Rover to enjoy carrying things in his mouth, which is a great distraction from barking.

—Don’t take the bait

Try not to react. Ignore Rover’s pleas for attention until he stops barking – except if he is outside as he may be self-rewarding by barking due to stimuli, be it birds or a possum in the tree, a neighbour’s dog or cat.

—Remove the stimuli

If he’s barking at a lawn mower, birds in a tree or the dog next door, call Rover inside and block his view of the stimuli by closing doors and blinds. Take away the stimuli if, for instance, it is a toy. No more toy for Rover. If he is barking at you, ignore his barking and shut him in another part of the house away from you until shortly after he has stopped and calmed down to help teach him that his barking behaviour is not acceptable.


Gadgets to stop your dog from barking

There are several gadgets on the market that can quickly help you with the problem of a barking dog. As with any product, however, success can vary from dog to dog.

–Citronella spray collars

These collars spray an unpleasant (to dogs) citronella scent in their face when they bark, which throws off their focus and helps them associating barking with that horrible stuff in their face. They can be quite bulky, however, so some smaller dogs – the ones that are often the noisiest, might not tolerate having it around their neck all the time.

–Remote Reward Behaviour Training

A remote-controlled behaviour modification pod that dispenses treats – a handy distraction – at the press of a button. These can be handy for getting Rover out of the way when he’s over-excited at the arrival of guests.

–Ultrasonic Outdoor Bark Control

When a dog barks, this device emits an unpleasant ultrasonic noise that only dogs can hear, that will shut them up immediately. Better yet, it not only works on your dog but your neighbour’s dog, too. This only works outside, however, so will not necessarily stop your dog’s barking inside.

Though gadgets can help, remember that barking is a normal part of being a dog and can be a very important communication tool. Before rushing out to buy a gadget, try to determine what is setting off this behaviour and fix the problem in your dog’s life before fixing the barking.


Choose a quiet dog breed

For some lifestyles, such as living in small apartments or units with neighbours close by, you really do need to take as many precautions as you can against having a dog that barks a lot. And though every individual dog’s temperament and situation is different, there are some breeds that are known to bark more or less than others.

Breeds that don’t bark much

Most Retrievers (Golden, Labrador)

Shiba Inu

Japanese Chin

Basset Hound

Clumber Spaniel



Italian Greyhound



Though apartment living might make you think that adding a small dog to your family will be the best option, bear in mind that small dogs are often pretty vocal!

Breeds that bark a lot



Most Terriers (except the Bull Terrier which falls into the non-barking list above)

Most Poodles (Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodles)


Doberman Pinscher

German Shepherd

Lhasa Apso



If Rover joined your family as a puppy, no matter what breed he is, it might be possible to train barking out of him from a young age. I have a friend whose Whippet, Kelpie and Labrador never bark because from puppyhood they were told off (not by shouting at them!) every time they did and learned that barking led to a scolding. So whatever the breed, it is possible to train it not to bark!

23 Apr 2017 By Sarah Billington Comments

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