The Humane Society of Denver says a barking dog can cause neighborhood disputes and violations of animal control ordinances. If your dog’s barking has created neighborhood tension, it’s a good idea to discuss the problem with your neighbors and tell them you are taking steps to eliminate it.
Determine when and for how long your dog barks, and what’s causing him to bark. Is he left alone for long periods of time? Is his environment barren, without playmates or toys? Is he a young dog with few outlets for his energy? Is he a herding or sporting dog who needs a “job” to be happy?
* Walk your dog daily.
* Teach him to fetch a ball or Frisbee.
* Teach commands for five to 10 minutes a day.
* Take an obedience class with your dog.
* Provide interesting toys to keep him busy when you’re not there. Rotating the toys makes them interesting.
* When you are away, don’t take away toys as punishment for barking. The dog won’t know why the toy is gone. Instead, he will be bored and restless, and probably barking.
* When you have to leave for extended periods, take him to a “doggie day care” or have someone walk with him.
* Teach him a “quiet” command. When he barks at someone, allow two or three barks, then say “quiet.” Interrupt his barking by shaking a can filled with pennies or squirting water at his mouth with a spray bottle. This startles him into being quiet so you can reward him. While he’s quiet, say “good quiet” and pop a tasty treat into his mouth.
* If he barks when you’re home, call him to you and have him obey a command such as “sit.” Praise him and give him a treat.