Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Some bark at passer-bys outside the window, while some bark only when you leave the house. The first step in managing your dog’s barking is to determine what exactly is causing it. Below are several reasons why dogs bark and recommendations on how to manage it. 

Territorial/Protective Barking

Dogs often bark at the presence of “intruders,” such as the mailman or any other person or dog walking near the house. While barking, his posture appears threatening with his tail held high and his ears perked forward. 

Teach your dog a “quiet” cue. If you want your dog to alert you to people outside, allow him to bark two or three times, then interrupt him by saying “Quiet” or “Enough.” Reward your dog right when he is quiet by saying “Yes” and giving him a yummy treat. If he doesn’t quiet within a few seconds then move him to another area and have him do a few behaviors (Sit, Paw, Roll over, Stay, etc.). This will refocus him and decrease or cease the barking. Should you decide that you don’t want your dog barking at things outside at all, follow these steps but start as soon as your dog barks.

Manage your dog’s environment. Place furniture or other objects in front of the window to block his view, or cover the lower part of the windows with decorative film. Close doors or use baby gates to limit your dog’s access to rooms where he can clearly see outside. For territorial barking outdoors, supervise your dog and keep him leashed or be sure he responds reliably when told to come so you can interrupt his barking.

Have your dog spayed or neutered to decrease territorial behavior.

Barking Outside

Sometimes dogs bark incessantly as soon as they go outside. A variety of reasons  can contribute to your dog’s barking, including social isolation, frustration, or boredom. 

Supervise your dog when he is outside and keep him inside when you cannot supervise him.

Be sure to provide your dog with at least 30 minutes of physical exercise every day. For more information about exercising your dog, please see our Exercise article. 

Provide your dog with mental exercise. Make sure your dog has a variety of chew toys and other interactive toys to keep him busy and out of trouble when you are not around to play with him. For more information about mental exercise and other forms of Canine Enrichment, please see our canine enrichment page. 

Barking or Whining For Attention

Ignore this behavior. Often times the behavior will get worse before it gets better. Reward your dog with attention, treats, and praise only when he is quiet. As in many other training processes, consistency is key. 

For more information about improper attention seeking, please see our improper attention seeking page.

Barking or Whining In The Crate

Often times, puppies and adult dogs bark and whine when they are first introduced to crate training. 

Ignore the behavior. Wait until your dog stops barking or whining momentarily, then reward him by tossing a treat into his crate while keeping your presence low key and pleasant. After your dog has been quiet in the crate for about one minute, reward him with play time outside of the crate. 

Provide something to chew on. Your dog will be less likely to bark if he has something to entertain himself when in the crate. Food-stuffed puzzle toys, rawhide bones or other long-lasting chews, and dental toys are enjoyed by most dogs and may hold interest longer than a stuffed toy.

Take the crate into your bedroom if the barking or whining occurs at night. 

For more information about crate training, please see our crate training page. 

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Society Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email help@anticruelty.org.

Recent Articles

Dog-Cat Rivalry: fact or fiction? Actually, it’s completely up to you. By providing a slow and steady introduction, the result can be rewarding for both your feline and canine companions. First impressions between pets are just as important as they are between people. Here are a few tips and precautionary steps to

The first step in stopping your dog’s counter surfing habit is to remove any opportunity or temptation. As responsible pet owners, we want to give our pets the best chance possible to behave well. Make sure all your food items are put away or stored in dog-proof containers such as Tupperware or a bread bin. Make sure

Jumping up on people is a natural form of greeting for a dog. When dogs approach each other, they often sniff each other’s face and ears. Since people walk upright, dogs frequently feel the need to jump up in order to say hello. It is important to teach your dog that the proper way to greet a human is with all four

We cannot simply tell our canine companions to not be afraid of something. Rather, we must communicate it to them through our actions and our energy. With time, positive reinforcement training, and a calm and patient demeanor, you can help your cautious companion overcome even her greatest fear. 

Health Check