Pet Parenting: That dog won’t stop barking!

Dear Denise,

My dog barks all day long and I’m worried my neighbors are getting annoyed. What anti-bark techniques or devices would you recommend? What about the sonic devices? I’m a little desperate.

Thank you!

Dear Mama:

Barking dogs can be a real barrier to harmonious neighborhood living. Thank you for recognizing that. I get asked all the time by my own clients how they can stop a neighbor’s dog from barking.

The easy answer to that question is to recommend a device that works. I really like the ultra sonic devices. They emit a noise only the animal can hear, so it doesn’t disturb the neighbors further. The noise is also emitted when the dog barks, so it’s immediate and easily associated with the barking behavior.

I don’t really like shock collars, and oftentimes, the dogs either get used to the citronella spray, or the collar rotates and doesn’t target the face like it should.

Use one of these devices if you must, but I urge you to also try to address the reason for the barking. Some dogs bark for no reason, but very few. I’d look for reasons.

Is your dog getting enough exercise? Just because he’s outside in the yard all day, doesn’t mean he’s getting exercise. Does he get walked regularly? Regular walks can solve a multitude of problems.

Does he have things to do in the yard? Not just toys, but things that engage him. A kong stuffed with something yummy, a place to dig and find cool things (I have instructions for a digging hole on my facebook page), or even a tether ball tied to a tree, can give bored dogs something to do besides bark.

Another option is an occasional visit to daycare. Even just once or twice a week could be a nice change of pace, and most dogs come home from daycare very tired.

I really encourage you to address this behavior from both ends. Obviously, you need to stop the barking, or at least minimize it, but it isn’t fair to punish your dog for being a dog. Make sure your dog is being physically and mentally stimulated in such a way as to alleviate boredom. You may discover that the barking will diminish on its own when that energy is redirected.

Good luck,


Denise HolmesLove. Trust. Teach. CDP, Inc
“You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery