Teaching a Dog to Stop Barking with a “Quiet” Cue

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Training Tip: How to Interrupt Barking by teaching your dog a “Quiet” cue, which means “Please stop barking and look at me for further instruction.”

Dogs bark for many different reasons which are all quite legitimate to them. They don’t understand that we humans have a “love-hate” relationship with their barking. We usually like it when our dogs alert us to possible danger, but we can’t stand when they bark at the same mailman every day or at every passing car.

Often out of frustration, we can find ourselves “barking” with our dogs by raising our voices and yelling “Stop it!”, Hush!”, “Shhh!”, “Knock it off!” This rarely works and usually only startles or scares your dog. There is a much better way to help your dog learn that a few barks is plenty. We do this with a positive interrupt cue. Some examples are “Quiet”, “Enough”, “Thank you” and “That’s All”. This cue, when trained properly will allow you to interrupt your dog’s barking and have him direct his focus onto you. It is important to note that you will then need to give your dog something else to do or focus on. Otherwise, they may go right back to barking. Think of how a small child goes back to doing something right after you have asked them to stop. But if you give them something else appropriate to do instead, this is less likely to happen.

In this video you will see the beginning steps to teaching a positive interrupt cue. Always start out with the least distracting environment when training anything new. Slowly increase the distraction level based on how well your dog is doing at the last level. You should not attempt to use this cue while your dog is barking until you have established a very solid foundation. Many people make the mistake of going too fast and then being disappointed when it doesn’t appear to work for them. If you allow your dog the opportunity to be successful with each step, you will be much happier with the results.