Reduce your dog’s barking and strengthen your relationship with this simple tip from an expert trainer

Dog barking at man using his phone
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having a dog who barks all the time can be incredibly frustrating to live with. In fact, it can be so challenging that it's easy to see why people sometimes feel they need to resort to punishing their pup to get some quiet.

But while aversive training techniques can seem like the only way out when you're at your wit's end, it's important to know that if you live with a barker, you can get to the root of this problem and start to put a stop to it.

Although you'll absolutely want a bag of the best dog treats handy when it comes to reducing your dog's barking, there's a lot more to this issue than simply rewarding them when they're quiet. 

In a recent Instagram post, expert trainer Carolyn Martell shared the reason why your dog is barking incessantly and the one thing you can do to slowly bring more quiet and calm into your days. Read on to learn more...

If your dog won't stop barking, it's understandable that you'd be feeling frustrated. And while it can feel tempting to listen to trainers who advocate for bark collars or ultrasonic devices, Martell says that none of that is necessary — because barking isn't actually the problem.

"Emotionally balanced, stable dogs whose needs are being met are not barking excessively," she says. "The dogs who bark incessantly are often anxious, easily frustrated with poor coping skills, and are not getting enough play, exercise, entertainment, social time, training, etc."

The reasons why your dog barks at everything is a symptom that indicates an underlying problem and not the problem itself.

According to Martell, addressing your dog's barking won't work. Instead, what you need to do is figure out what emotion is causing the barking and tackle that core problem. 

"It's like saying that a two-year-old has a tantrum problem because they are screaming and crying for no reason. That screaming and crying is how your child tells you they aren't okay. A good parent would resolve the underlying problem, not punish or ignore the crying," Martell explains. 

In her experience, dogs who bark a lot tend to be under-exercised and under-socialized. "They rarely leave the home and never get to be physically tired. They never get to meet new people or new dogs. Their emotional needs are chronically unmet, which leads to intense frustration — and a lot of barking."

On the other hand, Martell has found that emotionally secure dogs who get their needs met rarely, if ever, bark incessantly. 

So, what's the best thing to do if you have a barker on your hands? Well, according to Martell the worst piece of advice is to simply ignore the barking. "Ignoring it is common advice, but it's not that helpful," she says.

What we want to do is help our dogs by getting to the root of the problem and then resolving it — this will in turn resolve the excessive barking. 

Doing this will take time, patience and consistency, which is why working with a professional can be helpful. Our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags will ensure you seek out the services of a qualified expert who has experience in this area. 

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Offering a moderate level of difficulty, this problem-solving game features sliding pieces and nooks where you can hide small treats or kibble. Suitable for all breeds, it's a great way to provide your pup with some mental stimulation. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.