How to stop your dog from barking indoors

How to stop your dog from barking indoors

| July 4, 2021
It’s a common challenge many dog-parent’s face, but a difficult one.
Your dog is usually well-behaved, but Fido can become quite vocal when he hears anything happening outside or in the hallway. Not only can this be irritating for your neighbours, but it can also result in other unwanted behaviours if it persists long-term.

Why dogs bark

Generally, this kind of barking is referred to as “alert barking”. If someone is home, your dog is trying to warn them that something is going on. If no one is home, this may be your dog’s way of letting whoever, or whatever, is outside know that the dog is present and on duty.
Always feeling the need to be on guard for intruders, or other threats that may come from outside of their home, can be a major source of anxiety for dogs. If they are constantly on alert, and barking at every noise they hear, they likely aren’t getting the rest they need to be a healthy, happy pup. This is when you may begin to notice unwanted behaviours.

Addressing this behaviour

Try working through a de-sensitization and counter-conditioning plan. This means exposing your dog to the noises that may trigger them, such as garbage removal or chatter in the hallways, while providing them with something they enjoy such as a high-value treat.
The purpose of this is to change the dog’s conditioned emotional response from a negative conditioned emotional response (CER) to a positive CER by pairing the noise with something they enjoy.
If the dog is barking while they are home alone, try moving them to a space where they will hear the least amount of outside noise. You can also set up their space with a white noise machine, or play some of their favourite tunes on the radio.
Patience is key to addressing this behaviour. Fido likely won’t break his barking habit overnight, so the very first step might be to apologize to your neighbour’s personally and let them know that you’re working on addressing this behaviour.

Where to get more advice

Would you like more training tips? Toronto Humane Society offers virtual training courses. You and your dog can learn together, in the comfort of your home, with tailored guidance from a professional trainer.

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