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How To Train A Puppy Not To Bark

It's not hard to train a puppy not to bark but it helps to understand how and why a puppy barks.

You may be surprised to learn that puppies don't bark very much during the first few weeks of their life. They spend their time nursing and sleeping during their first few weeks.  It’s only a little later, once they start playing, that they start trying out a few barks.

By the time your puppy is ready to go home with you around the age of 8 to 10 weeks he is becoming more confident about barking. Once he settles into his new home your puppy can gain enough confidence to bark more frequently. Afterall, he now has his own home to protect! This is when puppy barking may start to become a problem and it is important that you start to train your puppy early.

Why Puppies Bark

Puppies bark for several reasons:

  • They want attention
  • They are frustrated (perhaps a toy has rolled under the furniture)
  • They want to play
  • They are bored or lonely
  • They need to go outside

And, sometimes a puppy just likes to hear the sound of his own voice.

As your puppy gets older and feels more “in charge” of the household, he will probably bark when someone comes near the house to alert you or out of a feeling of protection for you.

If your puppy needs to go outside or a toy is out of reach — in other words, if your puppy has a legitimate reason to bark because he’s telling you something — you should try to solve the problem. Take him outside to potty, get his toy, and so on.  However, there are times when your puppy’s barking is unnecessary. Your puppy will need to learn to stop barking when you tell him to stop.

Train Your Puppy to Stop Barking

For nuisance barking and other annoying barking from your pup, you can try these methods for teaching your puppy not to bark:

1.  The shake-can. This is one of the simplest and mildest ways to teach your puppy not to bark. You can use this method when your puppy is having a little barkfest and won’t stop barking. Take an empty can or soft drink bottle and put some pennies inside. They should make a good, loud rattle when you shake them. Tape up the top of the can with duct tape or put the bottle lid back on the bottle. When your puppy starts barking and won’t stop, shake the can loudly at him.  This should get his attention and he should stop barking for a moment. As soon as he stops barking you should praise him and tell him he’s a good dog. Give him a treat. You’re giving him a reward for being quiet.

Repeat this action whenever your puppy goes into his bark routine and the barking should diminish.  He should start looking for the treat after one brief bark, at the very least.

The spray bottle to stop puppy barking2.  The spray bottle. You can also use the spray bottle technique to teach your puppy that barking is unwelcome. Buy some inexpensive spray bottles at your local discount store. You can also use children’s water pistols. Keep the spray bottles filled with water and place them in various locations around your house so they will be handy for you to use. When your puppy starts barking and won’t stop, simply pick up a spray bottle and squirt him. You don’t need to soak him or be mean to him. You are simply spraying him to get his attention. As soon as he stops barking for a moment make sure that you give him a treat and praise him for being a good boy for being quiet.

With both methods the purpose is to startle your puppy into being quiet. You are just getting his attention, not trying to punish him. It’s just as important to praise your puppy when he stops barking as it is to get him to stop barking. You have to let him know what kind of good behavior you want him to follow instead of barking — in this case, being quiet.

You can also teach your puppy the “Quiet” command when you give him his treat in order to emphasize what it is that your puppy is learning. This will help your puppy associate not barking with the reward.

If you follow these simple methods training your puppy not to bark should be very easy.


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