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Dealing with a Dog’s Excessive Barking: Training and Therapy

Excessive barking can be a significant challenge for many dog owners. It can lead to tension in households, disturb neighbors, and often signifies an underlying issue that needs addressing. This article will cover some effective strategies to manage excessive barking through training and therapy.

Understanding Why Dogs Bark

Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, serving various purposes such as alerting to danger, seeking attention, expressing frustration, or responding to other dogs. However, when barking becomes excessive or inappropriate, it is often a symptom of an underlying issue such as boredom, anxiety, fear, or even a medical problem. Understanding the cause of the barking is the first step to addressing it.

Training Solutions

Training should be an essential component of addressing excessive barking. Here are several techniques you can use:

  1. Removing the Trigger: If possible, eliminate whatever is causing your dog to bark. If your dog barks at people or dogs passing by the window, try closing the blinds or moving your dog to another part of the house.
  2. Teaching the “Quiet” Command: Start by teaching your dog to bark on command (“speak”), then teach the “quiet” command. When your dog is barking, say “quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Once they stop barking, reward them with a treat or praise.
  3. Ignore the Barking: If your dog is barking to get your attention, completely ignore them until they stop. Don’t talk to them, don’t touch them, don’t even look at them. When they finally quiet down, reward them with attention or a treat.
  4. Desensitization and Counter-conditioning: If your dog is barking due to fear or anxiety triggered by specific stimuli, gradually desensitizing them to the trigger can be helpful. Counter-conditioning involves changing your dog’s response to the stimuli, usually by associating the trigger with something positive like treats or play.

Therapeutic Solutions

If training techniques are not enough, therapeutic intervention may be necessary. This can be particularly true for dogs whose excessive barking stems from anxiety or other behavioral issues.

  1. Behavioral Therapy: A professional dog behaviorist can provide personalized strategies to address your dog’s excessive barking.
  2. Anxiety Wraps or Shirts: Products such as the Thundershirt can apply gentle, constant pressure on a dog’s torso, producing a calming effect similar to swaddling a baby.
  3. Pharmacological Intervention: In severe cases, your vet may recommend medication to help manage anxiety that could be contributing to excessive barking. It’s important to remember that medication should always be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes behavioral modification.

Preventing Excessive Barking

Prevention is often the best cure. Providing your dog with plenty of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction can go a long way in preventing behavioral issues including excessive barking. Consistent training from an early age and routine veterinary check-ups to detect potential health problems are also crucial preventive measures.


Addressing excessive barking requires patience, consistency, and an understanding of the underlying causes. While it can be challenging, the result is a calmer, happier dog and a more peaceful home. If you’re struggling to manage your dog’s barking, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional dog trainer or a behaviorist.