How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Barking When I Talk?

Keep in mind that once you start ignoring the barking, it will most likely get worse before it gets better; this is called an extinction burst. When a behavior that has been rewarded suddenly loses its reward, an animal will attempt that behavior with even more gusto in order to regain the reward. In other words, once you start ignoring your dog when he barks, he may very well bark even more — or even louder — in order to catch your attention.

No matter what your dog does, though, don’t respond to his barking, or even look at him when he's barking; otherwise you will be rewarding the behavior you are trying to eradicate, which is not going to solve the problem.

Reward Good Behavior

At the same time you are ignoring your dog's barking, it’s also important to look for and reward polite, quiet behavior. An easy way to do this is to reward any behavior that’s not, such as sitting, lying down, or standing with his mouth closed. When you’re training, you will be looking at the person you’re talking to rather than at your dog, but you will still be able to determine when he can be rewarded. For instance, when you start your conversation, reward him if he stays quietly at your side or lies down — without barking. Toss a treat on the floor every once in a while as long as he continues to demonstrate calm behavior. Since praise and attention, such as looking at him or speaking to him, are also rewards he enjoys, every so often during your conversation you can encourage his silence by looking at him and petting or praising him.

Ignoring the barking and rewarding the quiet behavior will make your dog more likely to settle down and relax when you’re talking to someone else. Over time, phase out the treats and reward the act of being quiet with praise or petting. After all, what he really wants is attention from you.

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