Woof, Woof – Stop Dog Barking

Woof! Woof! How do I stop that dog from barking?!

The noisy dog is the bane of neighbors everywhere. Forget the crazy kid parties, and the motorcycles without a muffler; it is the barking dog that causes the majority of neighborhood arguments, and noise complaints.

So why do dogs bark, and how can we stop that barking behavior?

Why Do Dogs Bark?

  1. Warning. Dogs may bark to warn others to stay away from his belongings, or his space.
  2. Alert. Guard dogs vocalize to alert pack members of interesting, or possibly dangerous events. For example, my Shiba Inu will bark whenever he sees or hears something unexpected. He stops, once I come over to check things out.
  3. Defensive. Dogs may use their bark to scare away possible threats.
  4. Boredom/Frustration. Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time, bark because they are bored and frustrated. When dogs have pent up, hyper energy, that they are unable to release through exercise, they may bark and charge at the fence.
  5. Stress. Fearful dogs may become highly stressed, when people or other dogs invade their space. As a result, they may vocalize and lunge, to scare people or other dogs away. Dogs with separation anxiety may bark, whine, and cry, when their owners leave.
  6. Excitement. Some dogs bark when they are playing or greeting people, because of excitement.
  7. Attention. Finally, dogs will also bark to get attention. Many owners give attention or affection to their dog, when he vocalizes. This becomes a reward to the dog, which causes him to keep repeating his barking behavior.

1. Dog Obedience Training

When dealing with a noisy dog, remember that barking is often a symptom of some other problem.

Contrary to common belief, dogs do not bark just to annoy us and our neighbors, nor do they do it because of spite or vengeance.

The best way to stop dog barking, is to identifying the root of the behavior. Once we deal with the source of the problem, the “woof, woof” symptom will disappear.

First, we need to be around to observe our dog. We want to identify –

  • What starts our dog barking, for example the postman coming,
  • Why our dog barks, for example to protect his territory, and
  • Whether our dog is rewarded for his barking, for example the postman walking away.

Once we understand these three things, we can develop a plan to retrain our dog. During the retraining process, do not leave him alone where he can practice, and be rewarded for his barking behavior.

Here are some training techniques to stop dog barking:

a) Teach our dog the “Quiet” command.

When our dog starts barking, bring out a really high priority treat, say Quiet, and give the appropriate hand gesture in front of his face.

The smell of the treat will engage his nose, and the hand gesture will briefly startle and distract him. This will probably cause him to stop barking briefly. As soon as he stops, mark the behavior (Yes) and treat him.

Keep practicing this until he understands the command. Then, we can slowly increase the duration of the Quiet command, before treating.

We can hasten the training process by initiating the bark trigger ourselves, for example by ringing the doorbell, squeaking a toy, or playing a recording of sirens.

b) Ask for an alternative command.

In addition to Quiet, we can also ask for other commands that are inconsistent with barking.

For example, we may ask for a Down command, because dogs do not normally bark when they are lying down.

In fact, it is even better to use the Go to Mat command, which gets our dog to move to his bed and lie down. In this way, he moves away from the trigger object, to a location where he feels comfortable and safe.

c) Distract our dog.

We can also distract our noisy dog by engaging him in an alternative activity. For example, we can play a game of tug, or give him a food toy, so that he is not focused on the bark trigger.

It is best to consistently establish a routine for our dog, so that every time he starts to bark, we get him to go to his bed, and play with his food toys. If we repeat this often enough, he will automatically perform this behavior instead of barking.

Note – For retraining to work, it is crucial not to let our dog practice his barking behavior when we are not around. If he practices unsupervised barking, and is inadvertently rewarded for it (e.g. by the postman leaving), he will keep repeating that behavior. With more practice, it will become a habit, and be more difficult to stop.

When we are not around to supervise, crate our dog in a quiet section of the house, and put the radio or television on, to mask the noise from outside. Only do this for short periods of time (< 3 hours). If we will be away for a longer duration, then consider dog daycare or dog walking.

2. Dog Daycare or Dog Walker

Retraining our dog to stop barking, may require a fair amount of supervision and time. While we are at work, we can consider putting him in dog daycare. Alternatively, we can hire a dog walker to take him on group walks, at the park. Both these activities will keep him engaged, well-exercised, and prevent him from practicing his barking behavior.

Note that daycare or dog walking does not train our dog to stop barking.

It just removes him from the bark triggers, and gives him other activities to keep him engaged. If we stop these activities, he will likely start barking again. However, daycare or dog walking are great ways to prevent him from practicing his barking behavior, during the retraining process.

While it does not retrain our dog, it at least keeps the problem from getting worse.

3. Anti-Bark Collars

Anti-bark collars are a popular way to address dog barking issues. These collars are convenient, because they automatically deliver an unpleasant sensation to the dog, when he barks. In addition, the strength of the unpleasant stimulus is increased, if he escalates the frequency and volume of his vocalizations.

There are two types of anti-bark collars, a spray collar and a shock collar.

The spray collar automatically sprays the dog’s face with citronella when he barks. If he escalates his barking, a stronger spray is delivered.

The shock collar automatically delivers an electric shock to the dog’s neck, when he barks. The more he barks, the stronger the shock. Sometimes, marketeers refer to these collars as stimulation collars, gentle training collars, and other more people friendly terms, in order to make a quick sale. Do not be fooled by these sales gimmicks.

All anti-bark collars work by punishing the dog for barking.

They do not address the root of the problem, but instead try to suppress the barking behavior through the delivery of an aversive stimulus, for example, pain. As with many other aversive training methods, these collars run the risk of causing aggression in dogs, and other behavioral issues.

For example, our dog may bark every time the postman arrives. This would cause an electric shock to be automatically delivered to his neck. Rather than associate the pain to his barking behavior, he may associate it to the postman instead. This may ultimately cause him to become aggressive toward our innocent mail carrier.

If we *do* decide to use an anti-bark collar, it is perhaps best to only use the spray collars, or citronella collars. Studies (Steiss, Soraya) show that shock collars do not work any better than the spray collars, and they have a much greater likelihood of encouraging aggression in dogs.

When it comes to calming “nuisance-barking” dogs, a spritz of fragrance under the chin is more effective than electric shock, a test by the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine has found.
~~[Cornell Chronicle]

There are also ultrasonic bark deterrent devices. However, since this affects all dogs in a given area (including dogs who are not barking), it has gotten poor reviews. Punishing dogs that are not showing any undesirable behaviors can lead to stress, anxiety, and even more behavioral issues down the road.

Shock collars are commonly used by dog veterans, during highly supervised training sessions, and solely for off-leash distance work. Leaving a shock anti-bark collar on an unsupervised dog, for protracted periods of time, is dangerous, and may cause physical and/or mental harm.

Make sure to monitor our dog closely when we use an anti-bark collar.

Watch out for signs of increased aggression, stress, fear, or other behavioral issues. Set up a web-cam to record him, so that we may observe how he responds to the collar when he barks. Some dogs become extremely stressed or frustrated, and may even escalate their barking behavior.

Remember that anti-bark collars work, by suppressing the barking behavior, and does not address the root of the barking problem.

Even though it may stop dog barking in the short-term, the problem may reoccur once our dog gets habituated to the spray or electric shock. It also increases the dog’s stress level, and lowers his quality of life.

4. Surgical Debarking

Surgical debarking, debarking, or bark softening, is a surgical procedure where tissue is removed from a dog’s vocal chords, to reduce the loudness of his barks.

Most debarking procedures do not completely remove a dog’s vocalizations. Dogs that are debarked, usually have a huskier, softer bark that can only be heard at close range.

Surgical debarking is a controversial subject, and many consider it to be inhumane.

As with anti-bark collars, surgical debarking does not address the root of the barking issue. Instead, it may add stress to the dog because he is now silenced. The dog may feel more vulnerable, and may be more likely to use his bite, since his bark is no longer available.

Because of these reasons, surgical debarking should only be considered as a last resort option; when the only other alternative is euthanasia. Take the temperament of our dog into account, and consider how this process may affect his long-term quality of life.

Debarking is illegal in England. In the United States, debarking laws are determined on a state by state basis. Currently, it is only illegal in Ohio.

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  1. josh says

    hi, i have gsd mix 5 month old puppy. i have problem is aggresive toward stranger and dogs . how to stop it now thank you

  2. DogPerson says

    My three year old Texas Heeler is very reactive indoors as well and I would so appreciate some advice!
    Within the last six months or so, Sonny has become unbelievably reactive to anything and everything. He barks constantly at anything that moves, breathes or makes the slightest sound. The package that arrived in the mail is something to run from in terror once the lid is opened due to the sounds. Fireworks and popping noises cause intense fear and even shaking (yes, as a puppy I did desensitize him to these sounds). Movement from other family members upstairs are barked and growled at. The cats are constantly being barked at and chased. And Sundance is just not listening to me anymore. I have been completely overwhelmed trying to reign him in. He is very startling.

    I feel like he is just no longer respecting me as the leader of this “pack” and I really don’t know how to gain that respect back. I can’t have a dog this out of control. Walks are stressful too as he spends the first 15 minutes dragging me around. And Sundance is a VERY smart dog! He can respond to 24 different commands (all of which I taught him)! So it’s not that he can’t learn…

    If you could give me some advice in this area or direct me to some videos/articles on how I might handle this, I would be sooooo grateful! I tried so hard to mold a stable, calm companion and instead I have an out of control 75 lb. dog. Any help would be amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me!

    • shibashake says

      What is his daily routine like? What type of training is he used to? How was he desensitized to the various noises and what was his response? Was he totally calm and relaxed with the noises prior to the last 6 months? Did anything different/unusual happen around that time? Were there any changes to your routine or his routine? Were there changes in the neighborhood, e.g. new sounds? Is he eating and drinking normally? Is he showing any other unusual behavior? When was his last vet visit?

      Sudden changes in behavior can sometimes be the result of physical pain, discomfort, or some other vulnerability. Physical issues can cause a dog to feel more vulnerable, and thus be more likely to respond with fear and aggression. When there are sudden and large changes in my dog’s behavior, I rule out physical issues first. After I am sure that my dog is physically healthy, then I start looking at other causes.

      There are many different types of aggression and fear aggression is very different from dominance aggression. This article from UC Davis has more on dominance and aggression-

      More on dominance and bad dog behavior.

      My younger Husky has a softer temperament, and when she was young, she was fearful of loud noises and unusual things like people on skateboards. When in panic mode, she would pull very hard and try to get away as fast as she can. This has nothing to do with respect, dominance, or inability to learn. She was simply afraid, and when she is too afraid, she switches to instinct mode, and is no longer able to listen or respond.

      I help my dog by managing her environment and slowly building up her confidence and trust. I do desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises, I start small and set her up for success, and I very carefully manage her environment so that I do not expose her to more than she can handle.

      The more successful and positive experiences she has, the more confidence she gains, the more she learns to trust me, and the better her behavior becomes. Similarly, fearful and reactive events will undermine her confidence and trust, significantly set back training, and worsen her fears and fear behaviors.

      When I had problems with my Shiba Inu, I got help from several trainers/behaviorists and I also read up a lot on dog behavior. Dog behavior is very context dependent, so it was helpful for me to have someone observe my dog in his regular environment and routine, help me identify the source of his problem behaviors, and help me come up with a safe and effective plan for retraining. I look for trainers who understand operant conditioning principles and the different forms of aggression.

      How I deal with my dog’s bad behavior.
      Where I get dog behavior information.

  3. A.T. says

    Please, no bashing comments, I feel terrible enough about my situation. I worked as a volunteer for two different animal shelters for 10 years. I walked dogs, cleaned up poo, cleaned cages, fed animals and bathed them 40 hours a week in addition to working 40 hours in my profession. I became disabled and could no longer go to the shelter, so I changed to at home volunteer work, doing fostering for orphaned kittens and puppies. This sounds like fun, but feeding every 2-4 hours around the clock, making/buying formula, all the extra laundry, cage cleaning, keeping them cleaned, getting them to urinate ect. takes work and time. I kept a kitten the size of a hampster alive when the vet gave her an 18% chance of living.

    Over the years I have worked at the shelter on Thanksgiving and Christmas when no one else wanted to volunteer. I have spent thousands of dollars on vet bills for the foster animals. One year I took in a feral cat and her 4 kittens. For years I had a dog, the feral cat, 2 of her kittens and another cat (all indoor only).

    Now, to my point. My current dog has behavior problems. Separation anxiety, inapropriate urination by the door (when he hears a noise or spots movement outside), and general anxious behavior. Yes, the vet is aware. He is with me a great deal since I am disabled. While I have worked with him, and spent $75.00/hour having the vets recommended pet behavioralist work with him, he continues to have issues. My husband works long hours, so walks him 1-2X/day. I cannot walk him.

    The dog we had before this dog, was perfectly behaved. She came that way. Our boy dog (yes, he is neutered) has been very high strung since the day we got him. Because of his behavior, he attracts a good deal of attention and people decide it is their place (because they LOVE animals) to call the police or speak to me because they feel he is distressed. Yesterday, he came in to car with me to run a 30 minute errand. I checked the weather before I left and due to the 32 degrees, I put his cashmere wool coat on him. He has 2″ long fur. Someone was very rude to me about having the dog in a heated car. Another time a woman called the police, because my husband tied the dog to a fence. There was a sign saying NO DOGS at the park. My husband was helping me, due to my disability and we were about 6 feet away from our dog (keeping a constant eye on him). Another time, my husband was in the car with the A/C running on a warm day. We were taking the dog to the vet. I went in the store for a few minutes, while my husband stayed in the car with the dog. When I returned to the car, a woman confronted me about having my dog out on a hot day. My husband claimed she had been standing in the parking lot and looking at him for 5 minutes. She told me she was thinking about calling the police.

    If there really are so many people who LOVE dogs, then where the heck were these animal lovers when I was the only volunteer. From my years of working at the shelter, I know dogs with temperments/behavior issues like my dogs, end up abandoned on highways, dropped off somewhere, euthanized ect. The last thing I need is strangers putting their 2 cents in my business. Any suggestions, other than someone else telling me off.

  4. kathy cease says

    my 11 month old shep dog has started barking at friends as they sit with me in the patio or walk around the house. It is getting frustrating trying to stop him. what do I do?

  5. Tiia says

    I have a 7months old german shepherd/australian shepherd x great pyrenees mix. We dont have a problem with barking at home or at backyard, but when we get to the dog park he puts on a “guard mode”. His tail gets up and he raises his head and starts to guard every little noises or movements outside the park. If a dog comes in he barks loudly with his tail raised up, but not being aggressive. I can’t get any contact on him while he is in his “guard mode”. Im really getting helpless with him.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, a dog park can be stressful for a dog because suddenly, there are so many new smells, sights, and sounds. Exposing my dog to too much stimulus before he is ready for it, can cause overload very quickly and make him go read-brained. At this point, he is no longer capable of listening to me or learning.

      I helped my Shiba Inu to stay more calm around other dogs by doing dog-to-dog desensitization exercises. With desensitization, I start small, in a low stimulus environment, at a distance, and with a single calm dog. In this way, Sephy is able to stay in control, and can learn from the experience.

      The more calm and successful experiences Sephy has with other dogs, the more confidence he gains and the more comfortable he gets with them. Similarly, the more reactive or negative experiences that he has, the more likely he will go reactive in the future. Therefore, I always try to not only maximize successes, but also to minimize failures.

      With Sephy it is very important to carefully manage his environment, start small, go slowly, and gradually build up his tolerance.

  6. Dee says

    Hi, we recently adopted a 5 yrs old beagle whose owners gave him up because they lived in an apartment and worked long hours. We have a garden but he seems to always find a way out so we prefer to put him on a long leash between two trees when we leave him on his own (max 4 hrs a few times a week) but he barks continuously according to the neighbors who have threatened to call the police :-S we try to take him with us most of the time but we also want him to be more calm and comfortable for his and the neighbors’ sake. There are no issues with him inside the house when we are home and at night he sleeps through on a pillow outside our bedroom. He is fine in his doggie carrier in the car but I wouldn’t want to lock him in there when we are out. We take him for a 20 to 40 min walk twice a day. How can we make him calm and happy in the garden on the leash when we are gone?

    • shibashake says

      How is he if left alone inside the house? How does he escape – does he dig under the fence? If he digs under the fence, then one thing that has worked well for my dog is to put concrete blocks all along the fence line to prevent digging.

      When nobody is home, I prefer to have my dogs inside the house. There are fewer distractions inside the house, they don’t bother the neighbors, and they can be more calm and relaxed as a result. When they are outside, there are usually interesting smells, sounds, and more, which can be very exciting. Squirrels and cats may also come over.

      In general, I would not recommend tethering a dog outside unless supervised. Leashes can get tangled and it can be frustrating for a dog to have interesting stimuli all around, but keep hitting the leash when he tries to run after it. This can also lead to other behavioral issues.

      More on dog escapes.

  7. Jolie says

    My six month old Shiba never used to bark, but suddenly starting about a week ago he literally will not let us sleep at night. We haven’t been doing anything differently, and we do our best to keep him active during the day so he’ll be tired at night. Nothing seems to help. He barks and whines constantly as soon as we lay down and tell him that it’s bed time. I’ve been staying up with him and giving him treats when he listens to the “quiet” command, but I can’t do this forever. I need sleep! He’ll be getting neutered within the next couple weeks. Will that help this behavior?

    • shibashake says

      What is his daily routine like? Does he sleep in the crate at night or is he free to roam about? Could he be thirsty? Are there any noises outside? Sometimes my Shiba will vocalize when he hears unusual noises outside. Have there been any changes in the environment?

      Another thing I have noticed with Sephy is that he sleeps more peacefully when I take him out for a very short walk before bed so that he has a chance to empty his bladder. He doesn’t really like going in the backyard as much, but if I walk him, he will go.

      Other times, Sephy may vocalize because he is trying to get attention. In this case, I use the Quiet command with him a couple of times, but if he keeps going, then I send him out of the bedroom. I do not give him treats/affection/other rewards for attention seeking whining at night. His reward for staying quiet at night is that he gets to stay in the bedroom, which is something that he likes.

      I ignore continued whining outside. In this way, he learns that if he whines to get attention, then he ends up not getting to be with his people at all. However, I am careful to identify the source of the whining first. Sometimes, when Sephy vocalizes, there is a good reason for it. 🙂

  8. Anonymous says

    Hi I have a pugalier he is almost one years old in 2 weeks we tried the citronella spray worked for two months only until recently to days he starts barking and stops when we let him inside the house and put him in the garage. We were thinking about giving him up we tried with training and sprays I want to keep him what should I do ???

    • shibashake says

      What type of training have you tried (other than the spray collar)? What is his daily routine like? How much time does he spend on his own? Does he know basic commands? Pugs, I think, really love being with their people.

    • Anonymous says

      We walk him everyday for 40 minutes roughly he is very active jumps around always wants to be in the house. He knows his basics. He rarely spends time on his own if he does its like an hour or two if we are out or when we are all sleeping. Yes he loves spending time with us a lot. When we let him in the backyard he inspects everything! then starts barking so loud looking in the sky so confused.

    • shibashake says

      My dog does well with method 1, which includes-
      1. I put the behavior under command control by teaching my dog the Quiet command.
      2. I give my dog an alternative command, and then make sure to reinforce the positive behavior by rewarding him very well for it.
      3. I distract my dog with doing something else so that he doesn’t obsess on barking, and so that it doesn’t become a habit.

      Does your dog only bark when he is outside? Does he only bark when he is outside alone? If he stops barking as soon as he is in the house, then I am not sure I understand why you would need to give him up? Are the neighbors complaining? Can he come in and out of the house whenever he wants, or are there certain times when he has to stay outside? Likely, I am missing some important detail.

    • Anonymous says

      Also when he barks he tends to howl really loud he is not a pug but a mixture of pug and cavalier

    • Anonymous says

      Yes he barks outside a lot but he also barks inside sometimes and also he barks when he is alone. There is a neighbour behind us who keeps complaining about him barking when he is outside. We cant leave him in the house we work and our kids go to school which leaves him alone in the backyard. We let him in sometimes when he barks to much or when we want to play with him. He always barks at night and early in the morning and wont stop.

  9. cebette says

    Hi, I adopted an almost 5 YO male shiba from a rescue about 10 days ago. He has a very strange (to me) barking pattern. He will bark or howl at people with or without dogs walking past the front of the house but does not bark at all at anyone who comes onto the porch and up to the front door. I have a screened porch so this involves someone opening the screen door first so Piper definitely knows when this happens. He sometimes will not move from his perch on the couch at all but at most will go to the front door (which is glass all the way down) and sit on the other side of the door without making a sound. This is exactly the opposite of how any dog I have ever had (including a shiba mix I had prior to him) behaved and I am perplexed!! I would like him to serve as an “early warning system” when people come on the porch and approach the front door. Is there anyway to train him to bark in these situations instead of the ones he currently chooses? Thanks in advance.

    • shibashake says

      One possibility is to put the behavior under command control, e.g. Speak and Quiet. Then, we can get a friend to step on the porch and as soon as she does that, we give the Speak command. If we keep repeating that with the proper reinforcement, then the “step on porch” action could trigger the “speak” behavior.

      How is Piper when he meets new people during walks? Is he confident about meeting strangers or a bit shy? It could also be that he is still getting used to his surroundings, and his behavior may change as he gets more used to his new environment.

  10. says

    Hi there. I have just adopted a beautiful jack Russell whippet cross. She is 4 years old and called Hollie. She is brilliant with people but she has a tendency to bark at other dogs. Never bites but barks and growls. She also gets quite jumpy when people make sudden movements. How can I help her get over this?

  11. Alsk says

    Hi, first of all, i just want to say that i love your site and chanced upon it when i was researching about shiba inus. Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂
    Okay and secondly, i’ve got a question: my shiba puppy rarely barks and is pretty quiet but active. Recently however, she sometimes, for no apparent reason, spontaneously starts barking and growling at one of us. We’re confused and a little bit freaked out as well. She’d also stop just as abruptly and resume whatever she was doing. These barking spells last for about several seconds. Why do you think she does that?

    • shibashake says

      Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. What was Shiba doing right before the barking? What were you doing right before the barking? Was Shiba working on a toy/food chew? Was Shiba resting? Were you moving near her or towards her before the barks? Anything happening in the environment before the bark? Any noises from outside?

      What is Shiba’s routine like? What kind of training is she accustomed to?

      Context is very important when it comes to dog behavior.

  12. Penny says


    My boyfriend and I have two six-month-old chow mixed breeds. They are both females and are litter-mates. They used to share a large yard during the day, but they fight when they are home alone, so now one of them stays in a kennel for the morning while the other runs the yard and my boyfriend switches them when he comes home for lunch. In the evenings, they usually come inside until bedtime. We kept them together, because so they would be company for each other and I hate having to keep them separated, rather than letting them play. I’m afraid we might have to give one up if the fighting continues.

    At night, there are many other neighborhood dogs that bark. One of ours is mostly quiet, but the other barks all night (30-seconds of excited barking several times an hour). We got her a spray collar, which was effective for a short while. But now she barks to set it off and sniffs the air like she likes it. We also got her a static collar. Again, it worked at first, but now it makes very little impact. They never bark in our presence, so trying to train them to a command is rather difficult. The majority of the time they do bark, it seems like they’re barking at each other (non-aggressively). I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do to keep them quiet. Mainly, I don’t want the neighbors to complain. No one else seems to try to control their dogs and we haven’t heard any complaints yet. Should I just let it go?

    • Penny says

      Also, the fighting pre-dated the use of anti-bark collars and the collars are not used in combination and only when we are at home. They collars do not seem to escalate her barking or make her more aggressive.

    • shibashake says

      Persistent or continuous barking is usually a symptom for some other underlying issue. I monitor my dogs closely, and if I notice such symptoms –
      1. I work on identifying what the underlying issue is.

      Persistent outside barking combined with aggression *can* be the result of barrier frustration combined with redirected aggression. During walks with my dogs, I will often see two dogs barking at the fence. Then one will turn on the other out of frustration because he cannot get to what it outside. Here is more on barrier frustration and redirected aggression.

      Redirected aggression is a relatively common type of aggression but one that is often misunderstood by pet owners. If a dog is somehow provoked by a person or animal he is unable to attack, he may redirect this aggression onto someone else. For example, two family dogs may become excited, and bark and growl in response to another dog passing through the front yard; or two dogs confined behind a fence may turn and attack each other because they can’t attack an intruder.

      ~~[The Humane Society of the United States]

      As you have observed, punishment and pain may suppress the behavior in the short-term, but in the long term it will have little effect because the underlying issue remains.

      2. I come up with a plan to help my dog with the underlying issue.

      For frustration and stress issues, I usually try to reduce my dog’s frustration and stress. Exercise helps a lot with my dog because it gives him an outlet for his frustrated and stressful energy. I walk all of my dogs every day. My Shiba Inu is older and lower energy, so he goes for at least a 1 hour walk daily. My Huskies are higher energy so they usually go out for at least 1.5 hours (usually more).

      In addition, I also have supervised play sessions. I set up play rules and interaction rules, and make sure that my dogs follow those rules during play. For example, they are not allowed to hump each other, steal from each other, or bully each other. I enforce the rules and manage their excitement level by throwing in play breaks. I also play games with my dogs because it is fun, I can use that as a teaching opportunity, and it gives them more exercise.

      I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs and make them work for their food through obedience commands, grooming exercises, and doing other types of ‘work‘ for me. This gives them more physical and mental exercise. I also set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules so that they know what to expect from me and what to expect from each other. This helps to reduce uncertainty and stress.

      Proper dog socialization can also help a dog get more comfortable with different sounds, people, and other animals. As such it can also help with barrier frustration issues.

      Here is a bit more on how I exercise my dogs.

      For more serious aggression issues, including fighting, I would get help from a professional trainer who can help to identify the root of the issue and come up with a plan for retraining.

  13. Mollie says

    Hello, My 9 month old Cocker Spaniel loved to play and loved kids, people and dogs.
    When he is at home he barks at the dog next door as does that dog as well. Its an aggressive dog bark at the fence running up and down. Then when the front door is open and people, dogs kids on bikes etc go past he will aggressively bark at them. The other day I was in the park having a picnic with my grandchildren and sisters when a little boy walked past, my cocker spaniel ran after him and jumped on his back and ripped his shirt, he did not bite, or didnt get a hold because I pulled him off, but Im not sure as it was so fast. The little boy was fine but I am now very scared and dont trust him at all and dont know what to do. Its my fault and I have to fix it. Please Help. Thanks Mollie

  14. Kendall says

    Hello! I have two male mutts with TERRIBLE barking habits. I cannot even address the first step, because I do not know why they are barking. I don’t think they do it for attention, because they do it whether I am around them or not. One time I tried completely ignoring their barking for three weeks and it had no effect at all. Then I tried making them come inside every time they bark (they are usually in the bark yard when they are barking), but whenever I would go out there they would run away from me because they knew what I was trying to do, and when I went back inside they would start barking again. If I did manage to get them inside, they would just look out the backdoor and keep barking. As far as I can tell, they are usually barking at nothing. When there is actually a person/animal near the fence, they bark much more loudly and aggressively and I can always tell the difference. They also bark whenever someone knocks on the door or comes near their side of the house, but I have had some (limited) success in preventing this response by having a water bottle handy at all times. The main problem is I cannot let them in the backyard for very long anymore because they bother the neighbors, but I hate to keep them cooped up inside all day because they love to be outside running around and playing with each other. Do you have any idea why they do this, or what I can do?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kendall,

      What seems to help with my most recent Sibe puppy, Lara, is to increase her daily exercise. I lengthened our walks and also took her to different places so that she has more fun smelling and exploring. I also make Lara work for all of her food (through obedience exercises, grooming, interactive toys, etc.).

      I set up a fixed schedule and routine for her so that she knows when walk time is, when play time is, when meal time is, and most importantly when nap time is.

      I also taught Lara the Quiet command. In this way, I put it under command control and I am able to positively reinforce her for not vocalizing.

      Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Here are some common ones. It is difficult to say why a dog barks without looking at the dog, his surrounding context, and his regular routine.

  15. Anonymous says

    Hi Shibashake,

    My puppy, a 7 month old shiba inu, won’t stop barking!
    When he barks we put him in the crate and we spank him.
    But he still doesn’t learn and keeps barking really high- pitched.
    What to do?!

    • shibashake says

      Dear Anonymous,

      Here are some things that worked well for Shiba Sephy –
      1. Setting up a consistent routine and schedule.

      In this way he knows exactly when it is time to walk, eat, and most importantly to sleep. I also establish a very consistent set of house-rules. I get Sephy to follow the house rules by following the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      2. Timeouts and crating.

      In general, I want to set Sephy’s crate up as something positive. This is because he goes to sleep in his crate and he also goes in his crate during car rides. The crate is a safe place for Sephy, where he goes to eat and sleep. This is how I crate-trained Sephy.

      For timeouts, I use the laundry room. I make sure it is safe but boring.

      3. Obedience & Redirection.

      What works best for Sephy is doing a lot of obedience exercises and using redirection. When he does something undesirable, I redirect him into doing something else. Teaching a dog the Quiet command can also be helpful.

      4. Exercise and Other Structured Activity.

      Sephy is the most hyper when he has nowhere to put his Shiba-energy. I found that if I give him a lot of structured activity to do, e.g. several walks, play sessions, obedience sessions, grooming sessions, supervised dog-play sessions, he is a lot less likely to complain and/or cause property destruction.

      Here are a few more things that helped with Sephy-
      How I Trained My Puppy
      Shiba Inu Training Secrets

  16. Natalie says

    I have a beautiful American Bull Dog/Pit Bull mix. He is 6 years old. I feel like a bad owner because I haven’t been able to control his barking. He barks when people come over and it takes him a while to calm down. If I put him outside when people come over then he barks at the door. I know his barking is fear/stress related. Sometimes he’ll calm down after a while but if someone moves too fast or focuses on him he’ll start barking again. His bark is loud and he’s a big dog so he scares the crap out of everyone and my neighbors are understandably annoyed. He’s been to obedience training and is so good, besides the barking. PLEASE help!!!

  17. Chris says

    Hi again!

    (My grandma doesn’t want my dog inside the house the 2nd day he arrived so I had to move him on our terrace inside a create. He gets out on his crate when he eat, when he potty, when I walk him(but not on rainy days here on the tropical region) – all 3x a day, and when he gets to play. After 30min-1hr I put him back, and he just keeps quite and sleep when he see me enter the house.)

    Dog barking issue with my sibe Bullet starts when
    (1)he see me or my relatives walking about or just talking in the terrace while he is on his crate – closed door – he wants to come out.
    (2)when other people approach him and talk to him, or when I am talking with other people – while we are outside
    (3)when I go down stairs to do laundry or clean his poop or just have some time with my cousins and other people and not in his sight
    (4)feeding time
    (5)when he is really pumped up
    – often I accompany this list with a TSSSTTTTTT! a couple of times when he barks, which really don’t work.

    I hope you can also give me some advice regarding this issue. I’d appreciate it.

    By the way is it OK to walk him already at 9weeks, we sometimes walk and run a couple hundred meters from home and back.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Chris,

      Dogs may bark when there is activity going on because they want to join in. Like us, dogs are pack animals – they need and enjoy frequent interaction with us and with other dogs. Also, puppies are more energetic and need a lot of activity to drain their energy. Some breeds are also more affectionate and energetic than others, and Siberian Huskies are one of those more affectionate and very energetic breeds.
      More on Siberian Huskies

      As for the TSSSTTTTTT! sound, it is simply a no-mark. A yes-mark or a no-mark is simply a unique sound to mark good and bad behaviors. To condition our dog, each mark usually has to be followed up by a positive or a negative consequence.

      As for walking, I don’t usually walk my puppy outside until after she has received all of her vaccination shots. Puppies can sometimes become very sick from sniffing or eating infected feces from wild animals or adult dogs.

  18. Michelle says


    My 10 months old English Cocker Spaniel had develop the barking behaviour recently. She never use to bark but recently at night when we r asleep she will be in our bed and when she hears a sudden noise she will bark which I’m aware is to alert us so we then will take her outside to show her there is nothing there and come to bed with her. Her bark are not continues its more of alert bark. How do I stop her from barking in the middle of the night?


    • shibashake says

      My Shiba will sometimes alert on strange sounds as well. That is part of his guard instinct, so I usually just go check things out. If I know it is just my neighbor, I give him the Quiet command, and he usually stops. When he was younger, he would sometimes keep going for a bit, so I would either ignore him or give him a timeout-lite by *briefly* draping a towel over the door of his crate, so that he can settle down.

      I also noticed that Shiba Sephy alerts less now after we installed new windows that are great at keeping outside noises out. During hot weather, I have the windows open but a large fan on for my Sibes, and the sound of the fan also helps to mask out sounds from outside.

      Is there a common sound that she alerts to at night? If so, sound desensitization exercises may also help. When Husky Lara was a puppy, she used to get really afraid of coyote noises at night and she would start to whine. So we got a recording of coyote noises and slowly desensitized her to it, starting from a very low volume.

  19. lindsey says

    i have a 2 year old rottie, he barks uncontrollably when my partner leaves the house or goes into another room, and nothing can calm him down until he calms himself down, its like hes a possessed dog, he also barks at the neighbours, birds, people walking by, cars, he can nearly jump a 7 foot fence if he hears something, weve tried all sorts of techniques, from a water bottle to a vibrating collar and nothing seems to work, they work for a couple of days and then he gets used to them and isnt bothered by them, we are at our wits end, we love him but hes getting us really down with the barking, we just dont know what we can do anymore to try and stop it, any advice would be grateful

    • shibashake says

      Hello Lindsey,

      It could partially be a separation anxiety issue.

      My Shiba is also a guard dog so he will alert and bark when he sees unexpected things happening or when people come to the door. I come to check things out when he does this, and thank him for the warning. Usually he stops barking when I come over. If he doesn’t, then I just give him the Quiet command (previously trained). Then I redirect him into doing something else with me – e.g. play a game with him, or get him working on chewing his favorite toy.

      My Sibes will sometimes bark because of excitement. When I take them on shorter walks, they are more likely to get over-excited at home. What seems to be most helpful is to keep them busy with sanctioned activities – longer walks, work for all of their food, play sessions, etc.

  20. Pat Earle says

    Help I have recently adopted a rescue dog. A very friendly medium/large bitch who has been in a shelter for around five years. The problem is howling, whilst I am in the house I can tell her to stop and she does[ eventually]. The problem is the howling that goes on when we go out.Me neighbor is complaining and I don’t know what to do. We have a large garden and I have left her in the garden with food and shelter thinking it would appeal to her given her history, I have left her in the house, still the same problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Pat,

      What helps a lot with my Siberian Huskies is to provide them with a lot of activity and exercise. When I take them on shorter walks, they are more likely to get vocal in the backyard, mostly alerting to noises they hear from outside. Now I make sure to keep them busy and I also make them work for all of their food.

      Are there particular noises or smells that set your dog off? What triggers the barking?

      Another thing that helped with my Sibes is to first put the behavior under command control, e.g. train the Quiet command. Then we can slowly desensitize our dog to her bark triggers in a positive context.

  21. Steven says

    Please please please I really really really need help with my dog’s nonstop barking, she is usually quiet but one I touch the plate under the metal crate she will bark nonstop, so what should i do at that time? I dont understand y she barks whenever I touches her plate under the crate.

  22. Deanna says

    Hi i have a shiba inu this is my first dog. Im starting to think i made a mistake getting her because i spend alot of time at work a typical day i may be gone from noon to 1 am.Im worried this might be to many hours shes left alone;is it? My puppy is 4 months old and the issues im having with her are,her biting my hand and arm, she chews the bottom of the sofa,she attacks my pants while im getting dressed, her barking when im sleep and she wants attention, her barking and crying when i walk out the front, door and her energy. but i hink she has alot of energy because i dont walk her she needs another set of shots.Any advise is greatly appreciated, thank you.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Shiba, Sephy was a crazy ball of energy when he was puppy. He would totally drive me nuts and be biting at books, curtains, cabinets, etc. This is with 5 walks per day, 2 long walks > 1 hour, and 3 short ones.

      With Sephy, he really needed some off-leash play time. He really loved to play with other dogs. Some things I did with him before he got all his shots –
      1. Puppy class. I enrolled him in puppy class where we did both commands as well as short play sessions with the other puppies in the class.
      2. Puppy play groups. There is a daycare center in my area that does supervised puppy play groups. They check to make sure that all puppies that come by are current on their shots.
      3. Puppy play dates. My neighbor at the time had a really awesome puppy so I would go fetch her as often as I could and have supervised one-on-one play sessions at my house.

      Here are some other things that helped with Sephy when he was a puppy –

      Shiba puppies do take up a lot of time and attention though. If a Shiba puppy is not a good fit for you, consider re-homing her through a rescue. She is still very young, so the transition would be easier for her.

      Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  23. spiff says

    Nice information! I also find that if I come see what my guard dog is barking about and praise him for being a good watch-dog, he also stops barking pretty much right away.

  24. Lee says

    My dog loves to go to the dog park, but she barks at other dogs while she’s there. It’s generally one or two dogs that she singles out and it seems to be based on the way they play and is never aggresive (she is usually in the play position while barking). She will also do a ‘get away from me’ bark to puppies if they pester her too much. When she does it, I tell her to be quiet and take her for a time out. Most of the time, she just goes back and barks at the same dog again! Otherwise, she is a sweet, good-natured dog, who doesn’t bark anywhere else. Help!

  25. shibashake says

    Hi Kelly,

    Make sure you do not reward your dogs for their excited behavior. This means they get no attention from you until they are calm. In general you want to make leaving and coming home as low key as possible. Just come back, let them in, and don’t give them any attention or affection for a while.

    There are several methods that you can try.

    1. I would start small and set the dogs up for success. So first, set up some time for training where both you and your husband are free. You stay in the house and have your husband go out and click the garage door. When the dogs start barking you have two options – either give them the “Quiet” command, or just ignore them. Wait until they settle down. As soon as they do, mark the behavior, “yes” and reward them by having your husband come back in. You can also throw some food in initially. Once they are good with this you can challenge them a bit more. You may have to repeat this many times before you start seeing a change in behavior. Just do short training sessions every day.

    2. Again set up some training time where the both of you are free. This time, both of you leave and click the garage door. Listen for the barking, and once they stop, you come back in – and just do the low-key non-greeting. Once they get better at this, you can slowly lengthen the time when you return.

    If you want to go a next step, you can take the care out for a short spin and then return. But I think if you keep to the low-key greetings and the garage door desensitization you will see an improvement.

    Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes 🙂

  26. Kelly Green says

    Great information! Its really helped :D. We still have one problem tho.

    We have two dogs, a cairn x shih Tzu (who hardly ever barks) called maddie and a kelpie x german shepard called codei. When we leave to go out we take them outside and close the windowed sliding door ( they can see inside). At this point there is no barking. We then go out the front door. There is a wall in the way of the front door so they cant actually see us go out.

    However our car is in the garage and as soon as they hear the garage door go up they start barking. The same goes for when we get home. I dont believe they bark while we are gone just at the beginning and when we get home. They are both also very excited when we open the sliding doors to let them in again, including some barking. Is this ok behaviour? I would rather they didnt bark when we came home, because of the neighbours, and it isnt a good habit for them to do.

    Can we desensitise them to the sound of the garage door? For us to do that one of us would have to be there giving treats for when they dont bark. This isnt really realistic because we both generally leave at the same time. Is there a way to sort this?

    Thanks so much! We need help 🙂

  27. shibashake says

    Hi Lee, Is your dog from a herding type breed? Sometimes herders will bark at other dogs to get them to move so that they can be herded. I have also seen dogs that bark because they want to play referee – i.e., they disapprove of certain play behaviors from the other dogs.

    I think the get away bark for puppies is normal behavior and good for the puppies as long as there is *no real aggression* behind it. Puppies learn their social boundaries from older dogs.

    One thing you can try is to change the time at which you go to the park, and go when there are fewer, and less active dogs. Then you can non-mark her (ack-ack) and take her away for a short-break every time she does the referee-ing behavior.

    When she is behaving well, make sure to reward her by playing with her and tossing her some balls.

    She sounds like a real sweetie. Let us know how it goes.

  28. shibashake says

    Hi Tina. Sounds like your dog may be a bit afraid or unsure of men. Some things that may help:

    1. When you bf comes over, make sure he ignores the dog. No talk, no touch, and most important of all no eye-contact. Eye contact can sometimes be threatening to a dog. Make sure to give your dog a lot of space and ignore him.

    2. To deal with the barking you want to start doing controlled desensitization exercises. Have your boyfriend stand still, put your dog on a leash. Start from a far distance away from your bf, far enough that your dog in not reacting, i.e. barking. Call her name, and reward her and praise her for looking at you. You can also ask for simple commands (e.g. sit). Make sure your dog knows these commands very well before using it here. Once you are comfortable doing this, slowly move your dog closer a few steps, reward and praise her for not barking, and repeat with the commands. Do this until you get close to your bf, then you can have your bf throw her some really yummy treats (e.g. boiled chicken). This will help her to associate your bf with good things and rewards, and she will ultimately stop being fearful and unsure of him.

    3. The problem with shock collars and other aversive techniques is that it may worsen the problem. Imagine if you received a shock every time you see a man. This could make you become even more fearful of men. The problem with shock collars is that the dog may not associate the shock with the barking, but rather with the environment or people in the environment.

    Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

  29. tina says

    I’ve recently rescued a 5-year-old pug from an elderly owner. She is super sweet unitl……………my boyfriend comes to visits. The barking never stops until he leaves, And it seems to be that way with all men. I did invest in a shock collar. I just hate the way that it makes her twitch as she’s being shocked.

  30. shibashake says

    One thing that has helped with my dog is to use a really high priority, smelly treat at the start, so I engage his nose. Then I give him the treat as soon as he stops barking. Once he is distracted, I get him to do something else.

    If he ignores me and will not listen, then I bring him inside. In this way, he understands that there are consequences to his actions. If he makes a racket outside, he no longer gets to be outside. If he continues his barking inside, and will not redirect onto anything else, then he goes for a short time-out.

    Usually, it is one dog that sets off the whole pack, so if we can identify the problematic member, and deal with him, the rest will usually stop barking as well. Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

  31. AEvans says

    I honestly needed this valuable information as I have 2 cockers and since we have completely relocated to a brand new environment and no longer have brick walls to divide our homes, they love to bark. If the see a squirrel the bark, if they here a strange noise they bark, and when the neighbors next door come out , you go it they bark. This has been going on for the past two months, and of course I am getting annoyed. The have lots of play time, so I don’t understand it. When I tell them no and use a command they don’t listen. Now I will try the treat and command and I hope this works, of course I have a mound of patience so perserverance I will succeed. Any otehr suggestions?:)

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