By Jodi Hartley

Dogs bark. Barking is one of the main forms of communication for dogs, and most of us who have had a dog for even a short length of time know that our dogs have different barks for different messages. Sometimes, however, a dog’s barking can be out of control and become a nuisance to the household and neighbors. Although you can’t stop your dog from barking completely, you can train him to bark when appropriate and stop when asked.

Typically out-of-control barking happens because the dog is bored or frustrated, trying to get your attention, feeling fearful of something, excited or being protective. It’s important to figure out what is causing the problematic barking. Health issues can also cause excessive barking so your dog should also visit the vet to be checked over.

For most problematic barking, the following training can help limit your dog’s barking.

Teaching Bark on Command
It may seem counter-intuitive to teach your dog to bark, but training him to bark within your rules enables you to teach him when to be quiet.

Step 1
Start by having a friend stand outside your door.

Step 2
Tell your schnauzer to “speak” and have your friend ring the doorbell.

Step 3
Allow your schnauzer to bark a few times then hold a treat in front of him.

Step 4
When he stops barking, give him the treat and praise him.

Step 5
Continue practicing this method until he learns to “speak” on your command.

Teaching Quiet on Command
Once your schnauzer has learned to bark on command, he is ready to learn to stop barking on command.

Step 1
Start in a calm, quiet area without distraction.

Step 2
Ask your schnauzer to speak.

Step 3
Allow him to bark a few times, then say “quiet” and hold a treat in front of him.

Step 4
When he is quiet, give him the treat and praise him.

Step 5
Once he has learned to be quiet on command in a quiet area, begin practicing the command with distractions such as a friend ringing the doorbell.

Alternate Methods to Control Barking
Sit/Lie Down – Besides the speak and quiet commands, you can teach your dog to sit or lie down on command or in response to bark-invoking stimuli such as the ringing doorbell. Sitting and lying down make it harder for him to bark and also provide something for him to do instead of barking.

Give him something else to do with his mouth – If your dog enjoys toys and carrying things in his mouth, you can train him to greet people carrying a toy in his mouth instead of barking.

Break his focus – An especially intense barker who can’t hear you give a command over his barking may need something besides your voice or a treat to get his attention. Tossing a can containing some coins at his feet or a squirt of water from a spray bottle during the barking can break his focus. Cesar’s Way recommends that when you use this method that the dog never sees the object coming from you. He needs to believe that his barking causes the noisy object to appear or the squirt of water to happen.

Article References:

The Humane Society of the United States: Why Dogs Bark.

The Humane Society of the United States: How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking.

Cesar’s Way: How to Prevent Dog Barking
ASPCA: Common Dog Behavior Issues – Barking.