There is no such thing as a dog that never barks. All dogs bark, it is in their nature, that is what they do and how they communicate. However, no one wants a dog that can bark for hours, especially during the night. Also, if you live in apartment, having a dog that barks excessively can cost you good relationships with your neighbors.
In order to stop excessive barking, first you need to “diagnose” the reason why your dog is doing that. Most dogs tend to bark too much when a strange person or animal approaches their territory, but that usually doesn’t last for too long or it lasts until the “threat” is removed. They also tend to bark when they are lonely and seek your attention and that one is also easy to handle by spending more quality time with your dog! Remember, they are pack animals and they don’t like to be left alone for too long. Most dogs bark out of fear, when something startles them and they also do it when they want to play with you or greet you, but you recognize that as a happy barking- they run to you, wiggle their tail and their whole language is saying “I ‘m bored, play with me”.
This should help you detect the cause of your dogs barking and satisfy his needs in that particular moment, but he still needs to learn that barking is not always allowed and he can’t always have it his way. Here are some tips to quiet your dog and make him bark less:
1) Teach him the “quiet” command. When your dog starts barking say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. If necessary, use your body language or physical correction to shut him up. Wait until he stops barking and then praise him and give him a tasty treat.Many dogs bark excessively because they have too much energy. Remember- a tired dog is a quiet dog, so take him for a long walk or run, play ball or take a trip to the dog park. That will give him a chance to vent his pent up energy. It might be useful to keep your dog mentally active as well, so it is important to give him some mental challenges, such as herding, agility training or obedience games?
2) Stay calm. This is a process that may take time, patience and consistence. Dogs can sense your frustration and often mirror your state of mind, so if you are nervous, they can become nervous as well. Never yell at him, because he may perceive that as aggression and start barking even more or he may think you are just messing with him and join your yelling.Ignore the barking. As a matter of a fact, don’t even look at him and continue doing whatever you were doing. If your dog is barking because he wants something from you or because his food or water bowl is empty, ignore him for as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Your attention at this moment would only encourage him and make him think his noise is working. You must let him know that barking is not the way he will get what he wants. Only after he has stopped barking for a while, you can fill his bowl or give him what ever he wanted in the first place.
3) Desensitize your dog to the stimulus. If he is always barking at a certain person, animal, sound or object, try to make him accustomed to that stimulus. Start by introducing it from a distance and than gradually move it closer and closer. Use words and body language to let him know he must not bark and when it works give him some treats. After the stimulus is removed, stop giving him treats. That way you make your dog think that the stimulus is actually a good thing because it is related to tasty treats.
4) Get professional help. If none of these techniques seem to work, you should probably hire a professional dog trainer to handle this issue.