What does it mean when my dog barks at me? Essential Tips

How To Train Your Dog To Stop Barking

Maybe your dog starts barking when he sees another dog on his walk. Or when a stranger comes to the house, you hear barking or a low grumble from your dog.

Remember, the first step to change your dog’s behavior is to identify the reason behind his bark. Then you can work on training your dog to stop barking. Improvement will come with time and practice.

Demand barking is a learned behavior.

If your dog has learned that barking at you gets him things, then he’ll continue to bark at you to get things.

It’s a pretty simple concept. He’s learned that it works.

When I see demand barking, it tells me the dog isn’t getting everything he needs. If a dog feels the need to ask for attention, he needs more attention … and probably more exercise too!

This doesn’t mean you should give your dog attention when he’s barking. Instead, increase the attention you give your dog and the activities you do with him.

Once you’ve increased the attention, games and activities for your dog … you’ll then ignore any barking he does to get your attention.

All barking for attention now equals an invisible dog. When he barks at you, don’t look at him, don’t give him anything, don’t yell at him . Nothing.

Ignore him 100%. Any attention just rewards him for barking.

At first he will likely intensify his barking a bit. He learned in the past that barking works. But you’ve changed the rules. Now it’ll take him a little time to learn the new ones.

Separation anxiety is a longer term problem. You’ll need to teach your dog new emotions and relieve his anxiety when he’s left alone.

You don’t want to teach him not to feel, but rather how to feel.

When you leave, you want your dog to feel …

This is not a behavior that you can cure right away. It can take a long time and be a challenge.

If this sounds like your dog, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • It’s important that when you come home or leave for the day, you don’t overdo the greeting or goodbye. Keep it low key. If you make a big deal when you come and go … it encourages your dog to think being alone is traumatic. A simple, but warm hello and goodbye with a scratch and smile are best.
  • Vary your daily routine. Change the time you get up in the morning, even if it’s only by 15 minutes. And change the sequence of your morning routine so your dog doesn’t expect your departure.
  • Have an activity for your dog to do while you’re out. Try to leave him with a filled chew toy or recreational bone. Or hide treats for him to find around the house.
  • Teach your dog to enjoy his crate or a specific room while you’re home. Toss that great chew treat inside and let him spend five to ten minutes chewing before you let him out. Increase the duration over time.
  • Physical and mental exercise is a great way to get rid of some of your dog’s energy. Your dog is more likely to feel calm and content if he has had ample opportunity to play, run and investigate. But … don’t amp up your dog with a lot of excitement right before a departure. Allow an hour for him to settle back down.
  • Once again your invisible dog can come into play during this training.

    If your over-excited dog starts barking when you’re about to throw the ball … stop. Stand still. Wait. Don’t say a word. As soon as your dog stops barking, toss the ball.

    Your timing needs to be dead-on here.

    Repeat this every time you play. If you only practice some of the time, your dog will never get what you expect of him. Over time, not barking will be the norm during play.

    As he gets better and better, wait one second after he stops barking before you toss the ball. Then increase the wait to two seconds, then three, four, and so on.

    To work with over-aroused dogs, you need a lot of patience. It’s definitely time to call upon your inner Zen.

    For a lot of dogs, when you put on their leash for a walk can be quite exciting and might prompt some barking. But you can teach your dog to be quiet during this routine. And it’s actually pretty easy.

    First, don’t get your dog all excited about his walk.

    Casually pick up his leash. If picking up his leash makes him bark … stop in your tracks. Don’t say anything, don’t move.

    Wait for him to be silent, and as soon as he is, start to walk towards him with his leash in your hand.

    If he starts to bark again – and he likely will – immediately stop again. No words, no yelling. You’ll only walk towards your dog when he is quiet, as soon as he barks, you stop.

    It’s a pretty simple process and works really well but … if you want your dog to show patience, you must be patient too.

    A Toy or Another Treasure Is in an Inaccessible Place

    Dogs have a habit of knocking toys or other goodies under tables or couches while playing. If your dog is barking at you and running to the couch or the table to paw or scratch, there’s a good possibility that the treasure is under the furniture and they can’t get it. Your dog is just letting you know it needs a helping hand.

    Your Dog Is Ready for a Walk

    Dogs need exercise and look forward to their human bonding time, such as the daily walk. If you walk your dog around the same times every day, the barking may just be a reminder that it’s time to get going.


    Dogs have many ways of communicating with each other and with their owners, such as licking, sniffing, and barking. Sometimes, your dog will bark at you to tell you that it needs something, whether it’s food or attention. Other times, your dog may be barking to let you know that there’s a threat nearby or that something is amiss. But how do you know which is which?

    Check out the four potential reasons for your dog’s barking behavior to see what you can do to give your dog what it needs and curb its excessive woofs.divider-dog