It’s not easy to get a dog to stop barking in general as dogs are vocal animals. Admittedly, some breeds are worse than others, but for the most part, dog barking is something you will hear often as a dog owner. It’s not fair to completely classify dog barking as unwanted behavior, but a dog barking at the neighbor or neighbor’s dog sure is.
There are desensitizing methods to curb a dog’s barking or removing the dog or the trigger from the environment. However, you can’t exactly move or tell your neighbors to relocate just because your dog is barking at them all the time. Different methods work on different dogs, so let’s take a look at the most effective ways.
What to Do When Your Dog Barks at Neighbors?
The first thing to do is to understand that your neighbors do not have to put up with your dog, especially if excessive barking is involved. Make sure your dog isn’t aggressive barking at your neighbors or your neighbor’s dog. If you find out that your dog is exhibiting unfriendly signs, then make sure you do not let him close to those living next to you.
Apologize whenever your neighbors bring up your dog’s behavior and always try and communicate your stance. Let them know that you are trying to rectify the behavior with training. If this is not the case, then we highly suggest starting to look at experts who understand animal behavior. If your neighbor has a dog, you can try to appeal to him by asking if he or she has any experience or tips to make sure your dog stops barking.
If you want to try to curb the behavior on your own, then the first step is to identify the reason for the barking.
Indicate the Cause of the Dog Barking
What’s making your dog bark? Once you figure out the reason why it’s easier to solve the problem. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog is barking, and not all of them need to be corrected.
This is the type of barking that you will hear if your dog feels as if your neighbor is impeding on his personal space. It may be accompanied by a low growl and the volume could get louder as the neighbor or your neighbor’s dog approaches.
A scared dog will also bark, but these barks sound different when compared to protective barking. You won’t hear the same confidence behind the woof and it may come with a whine as well with ears down and the tail between the hind legs.
This type of barking is usually short, higher-pitched, and comes in sets. Your dog will also display other excited body language such as wagging tails and fast pacing.
The above three types of barking are grouped together because it’s what your dog will do when he wants your attention. You should not give in to this behavior and reward your dog with toys, treats and your time because it will only reinforce a barking dog when you do so.
How Do I Train My Dog to Stop Barking at My Neighbor?
What type of barking do you think your dog is doing? Pay attention to the sound of his barks when your neighbor approaches along with his body language to be sure. Once you know, you can attempt to correct a barking dog by trying one of the following:
Use Training Techniques
A well-socialized and well-exercised dog is usually well-behaved. It’s never too late to try the socialization aspect, although we always recommend doing the bulk of it during your dog’s formative years, which is around before six months to a year.
If your dog is barking for your attention or the attention of other dogs and people, make sure you do not let them approach. Instead, only award him with playtime with your neighbors’ dog or friends when your dog is calm. Overly-excited barking can also be curbed the same way – don’t reward it until your dog calms down.
Fearful and territorial barking can be addressed in a few ways. You can either try to alleviate your dog’s fear by introducing him to whatever or whoever is setting him off. Sometimes all it takes is a little introduction to the other dogs or humans to get your dog to understand that they mean no harm. However, this may not work on all dogs. If approaching your neighbor or their dog is only making the barking behavior worse, then we would suggest removing the trigger or removing your dog.
You can try to limit the contact your neighbors have with your dog or even try drawing the curtains during the day to keep them out of your dog’s line of sight. Sometimes a dog will calm down as long as he doesn’t see the stimulus. It’s unfair to tell your neighbors how to live their lives just to accommodate your barking dogs, so moving your pups to a further room in the house could also stop the barking.
You can also try desensitizing your dog to the trigger, which means you use overexposure. Have as many people over and walking around the outside of your house as often as possible to get your dog used to the environment.
Show Your Dog Alternative Behavior
Showing your dog alternative behavior is a little like distracting him. If your quiet command just isn’t working (which it won’t with a lot of dogs), then you can try to distract him by giving him an alternative command. It may take some time to get your dog’s attention long enough for him to do what you ask, but when he does, remember to reward him handsomely with a high-value treat.
This way, each time he starts to bark or something is triggering him, he could automatically remember to quiet down and sit to earn a treat. This happens when the trigger itself becomes a command. In other words, your dog will associate seeing your neighbor with doing a trick to earn a treat. If not, you can always use a code word to prompt him, such as “SIT”.
Keep Away from Electric Fences and Bark Collars
Try not to use electric fences and bark collars and save them as a last resort. We always want to try training first before we come in with a more heavy-handed solution. After all, these bark deterrents don’t always work. We have seen more than our fair share of dogs who power through the shock, vibration, or scent depending on the method you use and continue to voice their discontent.
If you are having trouble with the training, try contacting a local expert and schedule a training session to prevent your dog from barking.
Don’t Let Dog Barking Become a Habit
Barking is an issue that is better corrected early on. The longer dog owners permit their dogs to bark, the more difficult it will be to find a solution. Finding the cause of dog barks and adopting an effective training method is only part of the equation. It’s also how you go about it that will determine the outcome.
There is not much you can do to keep a dog from ever barking, but there are ways you can prevent it once you get to know your pup more and understand what sets him off. For example, if you know your dog is an attention or boredom barker then do your best to give him enough mental and physical exercise every day.
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and there is less of a chance he will bark – even with stimuli. The most he may do is give a little grunt or if he does let out full barks, they will definitely subside sooner.
Don’t Punish Your Dog if He Growls
If you hear a growl or a grunt instead of a full-on bark, don’t scold your dog. These are actually signs that he is demonstrating restraint, which is a great thing. You can show your appreciation for his attempt at self-control by giving your dog a pat on the head or a few encouraging words. Once he does let out a bark, you can say “No!”, and when he reverts back to a growl or grunt, reinforce that behavior once more.
With consistency, your dog may start to understand that he can show discontent, but he shouldn’t be barking loudly.
Be Consistent When Training Your Dog
Perhaps one of the most important tips we have to keep your dog from barking is to be consistent with the training. if you hire a dog trainer, make sure you follow his directions as closely as possible. If you use two different commands or gestures to teach your dog the same thing, he will get confused. If you change your technique from one day to the next, it will only serve to confuse your pooch even more.
Aside from consistency, patience, and time are also needed to permanently stop your dog from barking.
Avoid Situations That Could Cause Your Dog to Bark
As we mentioned, you can go with an easier route if it suits your situation by avoiding things, people, and situations that cause your dog to start barking nonstop. You can choose to remove your dog or to limit interaction with the stimuli. It may not be possible with every situation, so some training may still be required to avoid nonstop barking at your next-door neighbors in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my dog to stop barking at my neighbors?
You can get your dog to stop barking at neighbors with consistent training, desensitization or using the “out of sight out of mind” method. No matter which method you pick, you have to do with consistency and patience. Remember that it will take time for your dog to learn, after all, dog barks are a natural behavior. Most dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, so instead of scolding them for bad behavior, try to ignore them and reward the good ones.
Why does my dog bark at neighbors?
The most common reason why many dogs bark at neighbors is because they feel territorial. Your property is your dog’s space, and a neighbor approaching your front door is a serious violation of that, or at least in your dog’s eyes. It could also be because your dog is very energetic and friendly and can’t wait to play with whoever is at the door.
How do I stop territorial barking?
You can stop territorial barking by either desensitizing your dog to the stimuli, removing your dog or the trigger altogether or through alternative behavior training. Introduce your dog to the trigger to show him that it’s nothing to fear. If that doesn’t work, remove your dog from the situation or eliminate the stimuli. You can also teach your dog to perform a command when he is triggered to distract him from barking.
Dog barking is natural, and it’s also your dog’s way of communicating his feelings. Nuisance barking needs to be corrected, especially if it starts to impact your neighbors’ quality of life. However, not all forms of barking are considered bad, because protective and alert barking can be very useful, especially when there is an intruder. If you do feel that your dog’s barking needs to be corrected, remember to reward him for his attempts and jobs well done and not to scold him when he does bark. Just try to help him do better next time with consistent training and patience.