It can give you a very secure feeling when you go to bed at night knowing that your trusty watchdog will alert you to any unwanted visitors. However, sometimes their vigilance can get out of hand, and the barking can become too much to bear. Training your dog to stop barking on command is the answer.
Waking the neighborhood - a Labrador puppy giving it some howl
Some people encourage their dogs to bark from an early age to bring out their guarding instincts, but if you don’t want your dog to bark at everything that moves you must quietly discourage it. Ignore the woofing, but always praise him when it's over and he's calm and quiet again. It is important that you do not reward your dog by giving him any attention when he barks or howls.
This is where most dog owners go wrong - by shouting at a barking dog, they are reinforcing the behavior. The most common reason why dogs bark is because, as far as they are concerned, they have been given the attention they wanted when they vocally demanded it.
A Wire Haired Dachshund woofing, barking, and howling, in that order!
Preventing Your Dog From Barking
The most effective method of preventing barking is to teach your dog that it is okay to be left alone for short periods during the day, as well as all the night. Crate training is very effective here, as it offers your dog a calm, safe and quiet environment that he can call his own.
Start with periods of 5 - 10 minute periods, and then increase the time to half an hour and an hour, several times a day. It is important that you ignore him when he cries, and praise him when he is quiet. Try not to fuss him too much, and try to let him see that this no-barking thing is no big deal.