Ways to Stop a Dog from Barking

Methods to stop a dog from barking. Training, bark collars (including spray collars and shock collars), ultrasonic devices, debarking surgery.

Dogs have earned their reputation as "man's best friend." They make loyal and affectionate companions, and can be fiercely protective of the humans they love. One of the ways they naturally express their loyal protectiveness is by warning you when something is amiss in the environment. They bark frantically, desperately trying to alert you to the danger. If they haven't been trained to discern the difference between a genuine threat and a normal occurrence, they may bark at anything and everything, urgently trying to warn you of the imagined threat.

Other times, a dog may bark disconsolately because it feels abandoned and lonely.

So how to stop the excessive barking? If the barking dog belongs to a neighbor, click here.

If Your Dog Is Barking

If the dog is your own, you are in control! Even if the noise doesn't bother you particularly, your neighbors will no doubt be greatly appreciative if you can control the barking. You have a number of options to stop your dog from barking at the wrong times:
  • Training your dog. Obviously this is the best approach to teach your dog (or puppy) to stop barking inappropriately, if you have the time to devote to it and the temperament to give your dog firm and consistent feedback.

  • Taking your dog to obedience school.

  • A bark collar, such as the Petsafe bark control collar. A bark stop collar is activated when the dog barks, and it emits an unpleasant stimulus:
    • A citronella bark collar emits an odor of citronella, which dogs find unpleasant. Lemon is another scent that is sometimes used. Other spray bark collars squirt a bit of water or a puff of air.
    • An ultrasonic bark collar produces a high-frequency tone in response to the bark. The tone is inaudible to most humans, but unpleasant for dogs.
    • A dog bark shock collar gives a mild electric shock.
    Some models of electronic bark collar use a vibration warning mode before delivering the negative stimulus, so the animal can learn to respond to the neutral vibration alone.

  • An ultrasonic bark control device. Like the collar version, this device emits an ultrasonic signal (unpleasant to dogs) when the dog barks. They are normally marketed to people who want to stop a neighbor's dog from barking, but some dog owners find them useful as well, as an outdoor bark control device. Sonic bark control devices (audible to humans) are also available.

  • An anti-bark muzzle, designed to stop a dog from barking.

  • Dog debarking surgery. This measure has saved the lives of chronic barkers when the owners felt there was no other alternative.

A dog that barks incessantly is an unhappy dog. By tending to your dog's primal needs, you can make your dog happy, make your neighbors happy, and reduce the stress in your own life.

If a Neighbor's Dog Is Barking ...

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