How to Stop Labs From Barking

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One common problem with dogs is that they bark at unexpected and sometimes unpleasant times. Dogs bark if they are hungry, thirsty, need to be let out, are bored or see something that they perceive as interesting or a threat. Labrador retrievers can bark excessively. Their high-energy and fun-loving personalities often require a lot of attention. Labradors are also very intelligent, however, and bark training can be effective to stop the barking.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog toys
  • Spray bottle
  • Establish a schedule for feeding and walking your dog. Dogs will often bark when they are hungry, or when they need to eliminate. A proper schedule that addresses these needs will limit barking.

  • Provide your lab with exercise opportunities that accommodate his high-energy personality. Take him to parks or into the yard and play fetch or ball with him at least once per day. The lab will be less likely to bark if he has been properly exercised.

  • Provide entertainment for your lab when you are busy or away from the home. Hide treats inside of toys so that the lab has to work to get them, or leave the television on so that the noise and movement keep him distracted. If a lab is bored, he will bark for attention or just to see if anything interesting will happen.

  • Wait until the lab barks for no reason, or for an inappropriate reason (for example, someone walks by on the sidewalk outside your home). Go immediately to the lab; do not call him to you. Say sternly "no." Do not yell; he will hear the sternness in your voice and understand that you are angry.

  • Follow the "no" command immediately with a negative action, such as a spray in the face from a water bottle or a light smack on the nose. Make sure that the action is something that the dog dislikes; if he likes water, a spray is not a punishment.

  • Repeat the "no" command and negative action every time he barks, even if it means you have to get up and go to him several times a minute. This repeated negative reinforcement will quickly teach the lab that barking for the given reason is not acceptable.

Tips & Warnings

  • Timing is everything with training. The "no" command and negative reinforcement must take place immediately after the bark, or else the dog will not associate the negativity with the bark.
  • There are a number of collars and other such products on the market that can help stop your dog from barking.
  • Never smack your dog hard enough to hurt him. He will not learn any differently, and will instead learn to resent and fear you, making training even harder.

References

  • Photo Credit Labrador retriever image by crazy.nataly from Fotolia.com
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