QUESTION: My ignorant, whiney neighbors have reported me AGAIN for my barking dog. I had an older large breed for a long time that I kept on a chain. I know he barked a lot so when he was gone, we got another pup but bought him a 4 foot X 10 foot pen. I guess this almost a year old pup of mine is also upsetting my neighbors. What am I doing wrong? I feed them and make sure they have water? Both my wife and I work full time and also have a perfectly clean house so don't want a dog in our house. I visit this pup every day to feed him. On some weekends or if I have spare time, I let him out of his pen. How do I stop the barking?

ANSWER: I am going to just be nice here. Nice enough to say, "You Have NO Business Owning a Dog". Nice enough to say that, "I don't Blame the Neighbors for complaining even a little bit". Nice enough to keep tongue in cheek about anyone who ties or locks a dog up in the back yard and forgets about their tremendous need for SOCIALIZATION and EXERCISE. DAILY. Every day!!!! DAILY!!! Never anymore than 8 hours a day in a pen or chained up. NEVER!!! 8 out of 24 hours, get it!!!
Please see below for how to stop barking in Normal Scenarios.


Dogs bark just as people talk. It is perfectly normal. Just as some people talk too much, some dogs bark too much. Excessive barking or barking at inappropriate times can be corrected. It is easier to correct a puppy than it is to retrain an adult barker.

There are many reasons why some dogs bark excessively. Confinement in a home, yard, or kennel (worst of all is TIED on a chain) can result in excessive barking. The dog barks to attract attention because he is Lonely or Bored. Dogs which are not exercised enough bark to release Tension. Some dogs are hypersensitive to every sound or movement around them. This may be a result of environmental training or breed characteristics. A dog growing up can learn to bark too much because his caregiver inadvertently reinforces his barking. For example, the puppy barks and the caregiver yells, "Quit barking!" The puppy interprets this verbal attention as a sign that you approve of the barking. So he continues.

We should keep three goals in mind in correcting excessive and inappropriate barking. Reduce the number of barks per session. Eliminate those situations or events that are causing the barking. Increase the length of the quiet times between barking sessions. It is not reasonable to eliminate barking altogether. It is okay for a dog to sound the alarm by barking a few times.

There are some basic training techniques that can be done to reduce excessive barking. First, get control of your dog through training. This will establish you as the leader, so when you give the command "No Bark!" he will instantly obey. Do not physically punish him for barking. Dogs do not relate punishment, after the fact, to the previous act. Praise him when he is not barking. It seems silly, but it works. Whenever your dog is just lying around being quiet, say, "Good Dog!" After the third or fourth alarm bark, say, "NO BARK!" When he stops, say, "Sit," followed by "Good Dog!" In other words, give a verbal reprimand for excessive barking and follow it up with a command and praise which indicates what you want him to do after he barks the alarm. Always use a soft, quiet voice forcing him to listen. If he barks in the house after you leave, change the way you depart. Act unemotionally! Just say, "Good-bye, Jack," and walk out.

If he is already into heavy-duty barking, start with the above retraining program. Use a deliberate set-up by leaving and quietly returning to check if he is barking. If he is not barking, go into the house and praise him. If he is barking, verbally reprimand him, give him a "down" command and leave again. If he is outside, the verbal reprimand might be accompanied by a horn or whistle to interrupt the barking. Be persistent in the training. Do not give up!

Stop Dog Barking
Dogs bark, what's the problem?

The problem of course, is when your dog won't stop barking and it bothers the neighbors. More often than not, barking can be eliminated or reduced to reasonable levels quickly and easily.

Normal barking
Barking for attention

Make sure your barking dog is being fed properly and has water continually available. Outdoor dogs need shade in the summer and a warm enclosure in the winter. See training your dog to stop barking

Frustration barking

Confined dogs can quickly become frustrated by people on the other side of a fence or beyond the reach of their leash. Sometimes children or neighbors will threaten or yell at a barking dog, which makes things worse. This sort of barking can be corrected by bringing your dog inside or providing a kennel area shielded from view of the sidewalk.

Quick ways to stop barking
Citronella anti bark collar

The new Gentle Spray citronella barking collar is safe, humane and remarkably effective.

When your dog barks, the collar sprays a light mist of citronella scent in front of his nose. Dogs don't like this. The hissing noise startles them and dogs seem to dislike the smell. Most dogs figure things out very quickly and stop barking. University studies have shown that citronella barking collars are twice as effective as shock collars.

We've had excellent success using these collars for barking problems at our animal hospital. We can't guarantee that the Gentle Spray collar will work for your dog, but nearly all our customers use these collars successfully and are very happy with the product. see letter . To find out if the collar is likely to work for your dog, see do not order the collar if

These may or may not be available at your pet store, but you can order the Gentle Spray citronella anti bark collar on line at

Anti barking shock collars

I don't like anti bark shock collars at all. You can't tell if they are working and unless you try the collar out on yourself, (something which doesn't appeal to most humans), you can't tell how much it hurts. They are INHUMANE. Besides that, they don't work. Recent university studies found citronella barking collars to be twice as effective as anti bark shock collars.

Debarking surgery

Dogs have a fold of tissue on each side of the larynx which must tighten and vibrate to make a bark. Debarking surgery removes this tissue. After the operation, dogs have only a whispery bark, and most of the time owners are quite happy with this. Unfortunately, some or all of the the bark may come back within a few months. Because we know how awful it would be to "debark" a person, many people think the operation is inhumane and it is!!! Since the surgery is often unsatisfactory and because many people consider it cruel, Veterinarians seldom suggest debarking as a solution to barking problems. The operation is in fact very painful for several days afterwards. Unable to use their voice also leads to other Mental Stress induced problems in some dogs.

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