When I first heard a local news station promoting a story about how to get your dog to stop barking, my initial reaction was, “barking is what dogs do — get over it.” Then Toby decided to have a barking fit on the train while we were on our way to Manhattan.
I really don’t mind him barking at home, or when someone walks past us when we’re walking, because I want him to be protective. On the train in public, not so much.
But, as this WCBS 2 New York report points out, many times the barking stems from a fear of something, which in the case of our train ride, made complete sense. It was his first time on the train, and he doesn’t particularly like travel carriers. Once he calmed down, the barking stopped.
We haven’t yet mastered the “stop barking on command” thing, and very frankly, I’m not sure we ever will. I usually tell him in a stern voice, “no” or “stop,” but that doesn’t always work. When my Dad watches Toby, and he wants him to stop barking, he looks at him straight in the face and in a calm, monotone voice, goes, “control the urge to bark.” It started out as a joke, but it usually works — which because it’s calming, does kind of make sense if the barking is caused by anxiety.
Other people I know take a more forceful approach and make a loud noise aimed in the dog’s direction or yell at the dog in a very stern voice while also kind of leaning in toward the dog. I think that creates fear, and am not really a fan of that.
I would love to hear how you control barking with your dog and give us some tips on what works for you and your pup.