As my late childhood dog S'mores approached old lady status, she became more than a little protective over my family's house. She had a little bed by one of the front windows, so any time anything crossed her field of vision, she would be on high alert, barking furiously until the neighbor or squirrel had gone on their way. If your fur baby is also noisy at all hours of the day, then you might be wondering how to get your dog to stop barking so much.
But before I dive into some of the ways in which you can help your pup chill out a little, you might be interested to know that some dog breeds are actually known to bark more frequently than others. Furbo Dog Camera, a doggie cam through which you can spy on your pup and even toss her a treat remotely, recently analyzed data from more than 15,000 pups over the course of one week to find out which doggos seem to be louder than the rest.
Samoyeds — which are those adorably fluffy white dogs with perpetually perked up ears — topped the list, Furbo tells Elite Daily in an email, as they averaged about 52 barks per day. Yorkshire terriers came in second place, with more than 23 barks per day, according to Furbo's results. If you have a Bernese mountain dog, though, you're in luck, because this cute breed only averages three daily barks, Furbo tells Elite Daily.
So, if your pup topped the list of biggest barkers, Dr. Jen Freeman, DVM, a PetSmart resident veterinarian, says that getting to the root of your dog's issue is a good place to start. "You’ll want to figure out what’s causing your dog to bark excessively," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "Causes can range from having too much energy, fear of unfamiliar people and situations, to physical needs (i.e. hunger, thirst, uncomfortable temperatures, etc.)." Once you have an idea of what could be causing the problem, Dr. Freeman explains, that's when you can start to address it appropriately.
Instead of demanding that your fur baby makes no noises at all, Dr. Freeman recommends the doggie equivalent of "use your inside voice." "It’s recommended that you teach your dog a 'quiet' command, rather than try to silence them completely," she explains, "as it’s important to know when your dog feels uncomfortable. This way your dog still communicates with you, but does it in a non-disruptive way."
According to Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinary health expert with Rover.com, if your little guy spends a lot of his day barking at the window, a good first step is to try to manage his environment. "Block your dog’s sightline to potential barking triggers," he suggests in an email to Elite Daily. "Draw the curtains or put up a privacy fence." While you probably don't want to leave your pup in the dark all the time, giving them a break from seeing those pesky squirrels, or from watching the mail carrier pass by, might be enough to break a barking habit.
Much like with a human child, getting out your fur baby's energy might be another way to keep her from barking up a storm. "Make sure your dog is well-exercised, disallow it from staring out the window or obsessing over passers-by, and encourage good behavior with treats," says Dr. Richter. But be sure not to use treats to distract your dog from barking, the veterinary health expert points out, because this might actually reinforce a barking habit. Instead, he suggests, pull out the dog biscuits when your pup follows a "quiet" command.
If things really get out of hand, you could always try using an ultrasonic bark deterrent device, or even something as simple as a spray bottle to help break the habit. Additionally, a citronella spray collar could be an effective option, says Dr. Richter, as it shoots a non-harmful mist at the dog every time they bark. Just make sure, if you do decide to use a device like this to calm down your fur baby, that you consult a professional dog trainer and/or a veterinarian to ensure you're going about this method safely and effectively.
Having said all of that, it's important to remember that there are times when dogs bark in an attempt to protect you (which, IMO, is totally adorable). "Dogs see their house as their territory, and anyone approaching or near their territory is a potential threat," Dr. Richter explains. "From a dog's perspective, most barking is intended to be helpful."
Sometimes your best bet is to just thank your little guy for sticking up for you, and then find a distraction for them, like playing or cuddling, to discourage any more barking.