Ask your dog to work for his food, even if that is just performing a simple “sit” command.

This will reinforce your role as the leader.

Nuisance barking is one of the most annoying things your dog can do. Aside from just giving you a headache, it can make your otherwise well mannered dog seem like an untrained, unruly monster. Your neighbors will be annoyed, friends will avoid your house and your dog, you’ll be embarrassed by his noise and his apparent disregard for your insistence that he “please just stop barking!”

With any dog, some barking is normal. Dogs use their bark to alert their families to possible danger, to communicate that they want or need something and sometimes just to get attention. It’s when your dog starts to bark at every little thing or bark incessantly and refuse to stop that it becomes a nuisance behavior that needs to be addressed.  Below are a few tips to curb nuisance barking.

Make Sure Your Family Eats First

In a group of dogs, the alpha, or the leader eats before the others. It is the alpha’s job to protect the pack and alert them to danger. If you are allowing your dog to eat at the same time as your family or before your family you’re unconsciously sending him a signal that he is the alpha. It’s the alpha’s job to warn the rest of the pack of danger, so this may increase his barking. By eating before your dog, you are reinforcing YOUR role as the leader and protector, letting him know he can be at ease and doesn’t need to bark.

Only Alphas Get Free Affection

In a dog pack only the alpha gets affection without having to work for it. He is treated with respect and affection because he is the protector and leader. Other pack members will approach him and lick his face or rub against him but the alpha does not return this overture freely. Pack members must work to earn the affection of the alpha. By simply asking your dog to perform a task before you pet him each time, you are again reinforcing your role as leader and reducing his urge to fill that void himself.

Only Alphas Sleep With Alphas

This one is a tough one for many of us. We love to let our dogs sleep on our beds with us. However, if you’re having issues with barking or other bad behaviors, it may be time to change where your dog sleeps. He can still sleep in the same room, just on his bed on the floor or in a crate. This again reinforces your role as leader. In your dog’s world, alphas only sleep with other alphas, They do not sleep with the rest of the pack. By allowing him onto your bed you’re sending him a mixed signal.

Use a Positive Tone With Your Dog

If you use a negative tone you’re sending your dog the message that you are stressed, which in turn makes him stressed and results in barking. If his leader and protector is stressed and agitated he is naturally going to react in the same manner. Try to use a positive tone and this will keep your dog relaxed and most likely reduce the amount of barking you and your neighbors have to endure.

Train Your Dog to React Differently to distractions

If your dog barks every time someone knocks on the door, try asking him to sit quietly while you answer the door and rewarding him with a high value treat for complying. Another tactic is to entice him to his bed or crate when someone knocks and give a treat for going willingly. It won’t be long until your dog goes to his crate or bed naturally or learns to sit politely to greet the newcomer