How Do I Train My Puppy Not To Bark?

Many new puppy parents need time to get used to barking, something the average puppy does on a very regular basis. Whether out of excitement, fear, or frustration, barking and puppies go together like peas and carrots. They’re a fact of life when you’re a “dog person,” no doubt, and something you’ll deal with all the time.

Of course, there’s a time to bark, and there’s a time to be a good dog and be quiet. Sure, a barking puppy can be a thing of joy and beauty, but a puppy that yaps non-stop all day long will quickly get on your last nerve and cause unneeded stress in your home.

The fact is, many of my readers express their frustration about their puppies and how they bark incessantly. They also ask me a question I regularly hear, namely, “how do I train my puppy not to bark?”

The answer is there are many different methods to train your puppy not to bark. From crate training them to exercise, entertainment with toys, and several others, training a puppy not to bark, or at least bark less frequently, is doable. 

Of course, as with everything you train a puppy, teaching them not to bark takes time, patience, and persistence. You can’t do it in a day or, for most pups, even in a week. In other words, training your puppy not to bark is something you’ll work on a lot (with varying degrees of success).

Now that you know there are several methods to train your puppy not to bark, I’m betting you’ll want to know all about them. You’ll find that info below. There are also real-world tips that can help you raise a more calm, quiet-ish puppy who barks in blissful moderation.

How To Identify Your Dog’s Bark Triggers

Barking is how dogs and puppies communicate, so there’s no way to stop it completely (nor would you want to). The problem, of course, is when a dog barks incessantly, which is usually caused by some type of underlying trigger. Whatever the trigger, when your dog sees, smells or senses it, they begin barking.

This trigger will continue to set your puppy off time after time, which makes discovering your puppy’s bark triggers essential. Once you do, you’ll be better equipped to train them not to bark by ignoring or otherwise overlooking their bark trigger. Below are some of the most common bark triggers for puppies, including:

  • Anxiety– Dogs are very social and like to be around other dogs and people. When you leave them alone at home, puppies will often bark because they don’t know what’s going on, which makes them anxious and nervous.
  • Boredom– Most humans wouldn’t last a day if they were alone all day with nothing at all to do. Like us, dogs are the same and get bored when they’re left alone with nobody to play with or at least keep them company. They bark and bark and then bark some more to deal with the boredom.
  • Territorial Behavior-Puppies and dogs are great protectors and want to make sure you and everyone else in their ‘family’ are safe. They’re very territorial and will bark when anyone, or any animal, approaches. This is good, mostly, but can get out of control if your puppy barks at every little thing.
  • Fear– Dogs, unfortunately, aren’t the most rational of mammals. They get scared of all sorts of things, especially fireworks, loud noises, and thunderstorms. It’s not only loud noises, though, that trigger your puppy to bark but fear of strangers, other animals, and even strange smells.
  • Lack of Social Skills– If your puppy was on its own for a few weeks in a shelter or store, they might not have developed good social skills. If that’s the case, barking might be the only way they respond to everything.
  • Attention– When a dog wants attention, it will bark until that attention is given, which can be frustrating (to say the least) for puppy parents. Even worse, if you give them attention in any way, the problem only increases. 

How To Train Your Puppy Not to Bark at Strangers

There are a few methods to teach your puppy not to bark at strangers. One of the best is the “quiet method.” To use this one:

  1. When your pup starts barking, let them for about 5 seconds.
  2. Next, grab their muzzle gently but firmly and say “quiet” in a firm but normal voice.
  3. If they stay quiet, reward them with a treat.
  4. If they bark again, repeat the process.

How To Train Your Puppy Not to Bark at Other Dogs

One thing to keep in mind if your puppy barks at other puppies is that they mostly do it due to anxiety and stress. That stress can be made worse by, for example, pulling them close, telling them to ‘sit,’ and other behaviors that increase their anxiety.

One excellent method to train them not to bark at other dogs involves doing it at a distance. 

  1. As they see another dog from a distance, tell them to stay calm. 
  2. Call their attention and give them a treat if they stay calm.
  3. Do this several times. (If needed, break the treat into smaller pieces.)
  4. Replace the treats with praise as they get better at staying calm.

How To Train Your Puppy Not to Bark at the Doorbell

The doorbell, or a knock at the door, is a huge trigger for many puppies and dogs. To stop it takes a few proven methods, one of the best of which is below:

  1. Have someone ring the doorbell and then scatter some treats on the floor. A puppy can’t bark at the same time that they sniff and eat.
  2. Practice this until they don’t react to the doorbell at all. 

How To Train Your Puppy Not to Bark in their Kennel

Training a puppy not to bark in their kennel, like other training, takes time and patience. Some of the best tips to do so are below:

  • Move their crate closer to you so that they feel safer. As your pup starts to get comfortable, slowly but move their crate (over a span of a few days) to the location you want it to stay permanently.
  • Use an exercise pen instead of a crate. This is open on top and thus doesn’t cause your puppy as much anxiety.
  • Make their crate extremely inviting. Add toys, treats, and other comforting items so that they come to think of their crate as a calm, peaceful and safe space.
  • Don’t let your puppy out if they’re barking. This only shows that if they bark, you’ll let them out. Instead, wait until they’re quiet.

How To Train Your Puppy Not to Bark when they’re Left Alone

One of the biggest problems for people in apartments is puppies who bark non-stop when their puppy parents are out. To keep them quiet, follow these steps:

  1. Practice ‘going out’ when you have time to come back right away.
  2. Calmly tell your puppy that you’re going out.
  3. “Leave” your house or apartment and stay outside the door. 
  4. If you don’t hear them bark, “return” after a couple of minutes and praise them for not barking. A treat would be a good idea also.
  5. If they bark, go back inside when they stop for a moment. (Never when they’re barking, as this could set up a negative reinforcement.)

Should I Use a Bark Collar on my Puppy?

If you ask most dog behavior experts, they will agree that, no, you shouldn’t use a bark collar on a puppy. They believe, as I do, that bark collars are cruel and a poor replacement for suitable training methods. 

Final Thoughts

“How do I train my puppy not to bark” is a question I hear all the time. The answer to this tricky question comes in several forms that depend on what triggers your puppy’s barking in the first place. Once you know their triggers, there are several different methods that you can use to stop them from barking, at least excessively. 

Remember, dogs talk by barking, so it’s practically impossible to prevent them from barking completely. Plus, as one of their communication tools, barking is something your puppy should do. In other words, you need to find a happy middle ground between barking occasionally and barking excessively. The methods I discussed today can help you do that.

I hope today’s blog answered all your questions about puppies and barking. If you have more or want to know about other puppy-related issues, please see my other blogs that cover the myriad of questions about raising a happy, healthy puppy. Until then, best of luck being a new puppy parent!