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  Behaviour / Dog Behaviour Solutions / Barking / Six steps to stop barking

Take just six steps to stop your dog barking

Your quick and easy DIY guide to barking solutions

Poison pen letters in the mailbox, council officers knocking at the door and irate neighbours pointing the finger over the fence - all saying 'Stop the barking!!'

Thankfully, taking just six easy steps will remedy the barking.

Solving barking when you are away from your dog


1. How much barking is too much?

2. Why do dogs bark?

3. Measure the barking first

4. How can barking be reduced?

5. 'At Home' Therapies

6. 'Home-Alone' Therapies

1.  How much barking is too much

Excessive barking of dogs is a very common problem and is second only to aggression in the behavioural problems for which dog owners seek professional attention.

But how much barking is too much?

Many local authorities use a vague guideline of;-

  • 6 minutes of barking between the hours of 7 am - 10 pm
  • and no more than three minutes in any thirty minute period between 10 pm and 7 am.

In behavioural terms, even if a dog barks for six minutes in an hour, it is still excessive and the dog's behaviour needs attention.

For my clients I set a limit of:-

  • two minutes barking under normal conditions
  • under one minute for any barking where the dog is showing signs of distress, including howling and screaming. 

In the majority of cases this is achievable with simple strategies that target the underlying reason for the barking (which is where electronic collars fail).

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2.  Why do dogs bark?

Mostly, dogs bark because:-

  • they are protecting their territory and/or
  • they are anxious and/or
  • they have an anxiety disorder such as a separation anxiety and/or
  • or they are seeking attention or comfort and/or
  • they are of senior age and they have a senile behaviour disorder similar to Alzheimer's Disease and/or
  • in some rare cases, excessive barking is a compulsive disorder

And there are other reasons

3.  First task - measure the barking

There are two reasons for measuring the barking:-

  1. To determine if you are within the limits described above
  2. To determine which of your strategies are the most effective to create the solution you needbarking_dog_on_the_grass200

There are several ways of doing that and we have found the world's best free ways (click here)  to do that.

Some involve:-

  • electronically recording the barking so it can be 'viewed and measured' when you get home
  • seeing what your dog is doing during the day by remotely accessing your home computer web-cam
  • getting an alert when your dog's barking exceeds a certainl level
  • using free web-cam software that detects movement and records what it sees

Click here for more details on those free softwares.

4.  How can barking be reduced?

There are many ways to limit a dog's barking behaviour but the most effective methods are those that treat the underlying reason for the barking.

If you are home when the barking is occurring, the therapies are usually very different to the processes you use when you are away from home.

5.  'At home' therapiesDog Barking at Fence-Aggro

The therapies for 'at home' barking mostly rely on:-

  • Reducing the access to the stimuli that cause barking
  • Setting a limit to the amount of barking you will allow
  • Using reward-based therapies to strengthen quiet behaviour when you achieve it.


For a detailed solutions on 'Solving barking when you are WITH your dog' please study this facts sheet

6.  'Home-alone' therapies Separation anxiety causes barking

How can you reduce barking when you are not at home to do it?

Treating the underlying problem is, again, the answer.

For this reason, I never recommend

  • the operation called de-barking
  • and I stay away from the electronic shock collars. 

In my opinion, such strategies don't treat the underlying malady  (more information).

Solutions to home-alone barking incorporate:-

  • Attenting to the fence to stop the dogs becoming aroused by stimuli beyond its territory
  • Knowing that 'home-alone' barking is often caused by a genuine anxiety disorder, the most common of which is a separation anxiety. Because dogs are pack animals, many are not happy when left alone.
  • The treatment of home-alone barking usually involves the provision of a rich and ever-changing lifestyle for those alone times.
  • For genuine separation anxieties, the sensible use of calmatives which can include Apaptil Pheromones or low side-effect anti-anxiety medication is often needed.


For a detailed solutions on 'Solving barking when you are AWAY from your dog' please study this facts sheet



Excessive barking stems from many causes and it is wrong to presume that all cases of barking can be solved with one strategy.­ However humane solutions do work. 

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