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How to Stop Demand Barking: 5 Effective Steps

belgian sheepdog malinois barking

If you’re unable to get work done in peace, eat dinner, or even watch TV without your dog barking at you, then you might have a problem with demand barking. Rest easy that you’re not the only one. Demand barking is one of the most common problems pet owner faces with their dogs.

Dogs will speak their mind whether they want to play or because they’re bored. It’s cute, but it can drive you and the neighbors crazy if it’s constant or left to go for too long. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes demand barking and give you a few steps to fix it.

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What Is Demand Barking?

Demand barking is usually a dog’s way of getting what they want. It can mean they want anything from a toy to a treat to your attention. It can also be used as an alert system when they want to let you know something is amiss. That is when demand barking is okay; the other times, it is not.

Causes of Demand Barking

There are a few things that can cause demand barking.

  • The dog wants attention and thinks barking will work
  • The dog wants to go outside and play
  • The dog wants food
  • The dog wants to play with another dog that’s not interested
Brown and white dog barking
Image Credit: salsa, Pixabay


How to Stop Demand Barking in 5 Effective Steps

While having your dog essentially talk to you is sweet and cute, it’s not a habit you want to encourage, as it will soon be all they do. Here are a few steps to help you stop demand barking in its tracks.

1. Don’t Tell Your Dog to Be Quiet

While it may be tempting to tell your dog to be quiet or hush, that’s just giving in to demand barking. When you respond to the dog barking, it thinks that it has accomplished its goal of getting your attention. You may be trying to scold your pet for being loud, but it interprets your vocalization as a reason to continue barking.

2. Investigate the Cause

If this is constantly happening with your dog, maybe it’s time to investigate the cause of the problem. If your dog is steadily barking to get your attention,  spending more time with it every day may help it relax. If it’s bored and restless, maybe it’s because you’re not taking it outside for exercise enough. Try finding the cause of the demand barking before trying other steps on the list.

3. Set Up Clear Boundaries

You should train your dog as a puppy so that there are clear boundaries for getting treats. Set consistent barking rules and behavior that will be rewarded. Never give your dog a treat when it’s barking. That sets you up for failure and makes your pet think demand barking is okay when it isn’t. However, you can ignore the noise, and when it stops, you can provide a treat or toy to reinforce that silence is preferred.

barking dog
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

4. Speak to a Specialist

If none of the tips above do anything to stop your pet from demand barking, the first thing you need to do is take your pet to the vet to make sure there’s no underlying condition that’s causing the dog to bark. If there isn’t, it might be time to talk to a behavioral specialist. A trained specialist can help you reduce demand barking.

5. Be Patient

One of the best steps we can give you when it comes to demand barking in your dog is to be patient and loving with your canine pal. Excessive barking is very hard to break, and it will take time. Start with clear boundaries, investigate the cause of the barking, and ensure your dog gets plenty of attention, exercise, and playtime.

veterinarian checking up of an australian shepherd dog at clinic
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock


Wrap Up

It’s aggravating when you’re trying to watch TV, read, or even cook a meal, and your dog is standing in front of you barking. While there are reasons behind demand barking, they aren’t reasons that you should condone. If you let your dog get into the habit of barking for whatever it wants, it will soon see that as acceptable behavior. Treat your dog with love and patience, and use positive reinforcement when training to highlight the importance of the dog’s silence.

Featured Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

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