Having a dog that barks all the time can be exhausting, and honestly, kind of embarrassing. If your dog barks in public, you might get strange looks, or see people visibly avoid you and your dog. If your dog barks at home, you might get complaints from the neighbors, or worry about having friends and family over.
You might have gotten the advice to just “let them bark until they get tired of it,” but every time you try this, you just end up with a headache and a frustrated, very upset dog and you are left wondering “do dogs get tired of barking?“
So, how should you be approaching this behavior? Do dogs get tired of barking, or do you need to intervene? What can you do to alleviate your dog’s stress, help teach them to bark less, and get rid of the embarrassment of constantly feeling the need to apologize for your pup’s loud voice?
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Dogs communicate in a variety of ways, including body language and verbalizations. Most dogs are highly effective communicators, especially if they have had exposure to other dogs and plenty of people. While learning to communicate with one another comes naturally to most dogs, learning to communicate with a human being can take a little more practice, trial, and error.
Dogs naturally speak the same language, but humans need to help their dogs bridge the language barrier by using behavior-informed training and spending the time to learn about their dogs as individuals. Because all dogs have their own, unique personalities, there is no hard and fast rule for interpreting their barks. Barking is most often a form of communication, but in some cases, your dog could also be barking as a way to decompress and release anxiety. If that’s the case then the answer to the question ‘do dogs get tired of barking’ is might be no. Keep reading.
Some of the most common reasons dogs bark include:
|Reason for Barking||Trigger Examples|
|Alarm||Mail delivery, Sirens, House settling noises|
|Excitement||You just got home, Time for a walk, Seeing another dog|
|Confusion||Meeting strangers, New environments, New smells/sounds|
|Stress||Separation anxiety, Nervous around new people/animals, Needs more attention/exercise, Want something/someone to go away|
|Attention Seeking||Used to getting attention when they bark, Feeling lonely or hyper, Wanting someone to play with them, Hungry or thirsty|
|Reactivity||Sees or hears unknown people/animals, Sees or hears an item they are afraid of, Trauma responses, Guarding food, toys, furniture, etc., afraid they will be taken away|
|Boredom||Needs exercise, Needs mental stimulation, Needs a new environment (come inside/go outside)|
Do Dogs Get Tired of Barking?
The simple answer to the question “do dogs get tired of barking?” is: No.
While some behavior experts and trainers will mention letting dogs “bark it out” until they get tired, this advice should never be used for adolescent and adult dogs. In some cases, small puppies may tire themselves out and fall asleep, but older dogs (above around 4 months) will not get tired of barking. When dogs bark they are trying to communicate something, and ignoring the communication won’t get the cause to go away.
Dogs that are left to bark endlessly without being checked on or given an outlet for their needs can become mentally exhausted, easily overstimulated, and more reactive than they were before. In other words, by not addressing the root cause of your dog’s barking, you could create a bigger issue and end up dealing with more barking than before.
Training & Behavior Tips for Reducing Barking
Training and behavior shaping are things you can easily learn to do at home, especially if you have a passion for your pup and their care. It doesn’t take long for most dogs to pick up on what you’re looking for, but it does take consistency.
No matter what you choose to do to teach your dog to bark less, remember that it needs to be done every time, even once your dog has begun to automatically stop the behavior.
Here are just a few strategies to help you teach your dog to avoid unwanted barking, and to reinforce positive wanted behaviors instead.
1. Don’t Reinforce Unwanted Behavior
Barking is just one of the behaviors that dogs will use to communicate with us, but it’s often the most noticeable and exaggerated communication method. Because of this, it tends to be the one that most dog owners focus on first. However, focusing solely on barking can reinforce this behavior, even if you are trying to correct it.
Remember the answer to the question: Do dogs get tired of barking? No! And especially not if they are getting what they want from the behavior.
Dogs are very motivated by human attention and will connect whatever they are doing when you give them reinforcement with their behavior. For example, if you pick your dog up every time they bark, they will begin to bark every time they want to be picked up.
Instead, you would want to try to redirect to a positive behavior. This might look like teaching the dog a new method of asking to be picked up (i.e. a “touch” command on the foot, or offering a paw) or figuring out why they want to be picked up in the first place to try to eliminate the need altogether.
2. Identify the Trigger/Source
You can’t begin to address a dog’s barking unless you know why they are barking. A dog barking because they are bored will need different behavioral management than a dog who is barking because they are afraid or alarmed.
To figure out why your dog is barking, try to observe and take note of when they bark, and what could be happening at that time. You might discover that your dog starts barking every day when the washing machine is turned on, or whenever they see another dog walking down the street. You might also discover that your dog barks at everything, which is also good information to help you start with a broader approach.
3. Learn to Redirect
Once you’ve determined what your dog’s triggers are, you can start to try redirecting when those triggers occur. A simple trick to give your dog a more positive association with a trigger is to offer them treats whenever the trigger appears.
For example, if your dog is afraid of the vacuum, you can start by bringing it into a shared room, leaving it out but off, and feeding your pup treats whenever it isn’t barking. Asking your dog to sit or engage in play while the vacuum is out can also help to distract them, so try different methods of redirection to find what works for you.
4. Increase Enrichment Activities
Often, barking is a way for dogs to release pent-up stress, anxiety, or energy. Instead of letting them get this energy out by vocalizing, try giving them more enrichment activities like puzzles, snuffle mats, walks, and new treats.
5. Make Environmental Changes
Environmental changes are one of the easiest ways to reduce barking, and often quite quickly. For example, if your dog barks at passing walkers, cars, or cyclists, put up some curtains and reduce the chances of your dog being triggered.
6. Teach a “Quiet” Command
If your dog barks at everything, you’ll eventually need to address each trigger individually, but there is a broader approach you can try, too. Teaching a “quiet” command is a relatively easy, but highly rewarding behavior for your dog to learn, and you’ll find it comes in handy in almost all barking situations. Just remember to keep lots of treats on you!
Dog’s literally can’t resist my jerky, and this is important in being able to influence your dog. If you dog doesn’t really like the treat you have then game off. My jerky is slow baked and made in USA.
Best Ways to Approach Training a Barky Dog
Wondering what technique you should start with for your barking-obsessed dog?
Some of the most common reasons dogs bark include:
|Reason for Barking||Solution|
|Alarm||More exercise, White noise machines/environmental changes, Quiet command|
|Excitement||Redirection/distraction, More exercise, Mental stimulation (i.e. puzzles, lick mats with new flavors)|
|Confusion||More socialization/positive reinforcement in social situations, Mental stimulation, Redirection/distraction|
|Stress||Crate training, More socialization, More exercise Redirection/distraction, Mental stimulation|
|Attention Seeking||Redirection, Quiet command, Creating a consistent schedule|
|Reactivity||More socialization, Redirection/distraction, Positive reinforcement, More exercise, Environmental changes, Work with a behavior professional|
|Boredom||More exercise, Mental stimulation|