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Published: Dec 07, 2012

Dog barking can be an annoying habit, especially if your canine has a loud voice. Though it's a common trait among canines, there are ways to curb excessive barking. However, it may take some time. Here are some tips on how to help your dog learn to keep a lid on it.

Pinpoint the cause
Dogs may bark for a variety of reasons, so to treat this issue, you'll need to figure out what is setting your pet off. Some canines will bark at other animals, such as cats, squirrels or fellow canines, when out on walks, which is often a sign of dog aggression. Others may vocalize their anxiety when they hear someone at the door. Canines sometimes bark because they want something from their owner, and or they might be doing it purely out of excitement and happiness. Watch your pet carefully to see which of these may be causing the habit.

Curbing aggression in dogs
If you think that your dog is barking because she's aggressive toward other animals, then you will need to engage in training. Owners of young dogs are in luck - proper puppy training is the easiest way to reduce aggression in dogs. If your dog is older and still barks frequently, you can train her to follow your commands by starting with simple ones, like sit and stay. From there, you can move on to teaching her to cease barking with a firm command like "settle" or "quiet." Do not punish your dog for this behavior, as it will only increase her anxiety, which could be the cause of the problem, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

Treating separation anxiety
If you hear your dog barking when you leave the house, or your neighbors have told you that your dog is often vocal when you're not around, then your pet may be suffering from separation anxiety in dogs. This can be difficult to get over, but there are methods that can help. Crate training your dog may get her used to being in a confined space when you're not around, which could in turn allow her relax. Do your best to help reduce your dog's anxiety by ignoring her when you get home until she has settled down, so she learns that you will come and go with no negative or positive consequences.

Other treatments
According to VCA, there are some treatments in addition to training that can help your pet. An anti-bark collar or a bark-activated alarm can sometimes reduce this issue, or you can simply put a handful of pennies in a tin can and shake them at your dog when she barks, which will startle her and make her forget about barking. Be sure to use positive reinforcement when your dog quiets down as she is supposed to by giving her a treat or a favorite toy to chew on. If the dog refrains from barking altogether in a situation that would normally cause her to do so, give her multiple treats.