Should I Let My Dog Bark?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 07/28/23 •  6 min read
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Dogs bark for a range of reasons. From the fear of another dog or human stranger, the sight of an approaching intruder, the joy of seeing the owner again, or as a reaction to a bowl of food. Especially if you are new to owning a dog, your dog’s barking can leave you wondering if you should let him bark it out or make him stop. So, should you let your dog bark?

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Barking is a dog’s communication code, so you should let your dog bark if the behavior is within the normal range and does not qualify as excessive barking. You should, instead, use appropriate methods to stop a dog’s extreme barking.

Since the actual bone of contention in this question is when to let your dog bark and when to stop it, this article will resolve the issue for you once and for all.

Should I Let My Dog Bark?

When to Let Your Dog Bark

Allowing your dog to bark is good practice by a dog owner. It is part of what experts describe as animal welfare.

A dog whose owner promotes its welfare helps the pet cope well with its living conditions. And an excellent way to promoting canine welfare is allowing your dog to express innate behavior such as barking.

So, you should let your dog bark if:

All these situations qualify as normal barking. In fact, if your dog were in the wild, he would bark at an intruder or prey without anyone asking him to stop. So, normal barking should not be repressed in their home either.

However, your dog’s barking can cross normal limits, and you should do something to stop your dog’s barking.

When to Stop Your Dog from Barking

You should stop your dog from barking if your pet’s communication code counts for excessive barking.

Excessive barking can describe several situations based on these three factors:

Bear in mind that excessive barking can point to behavioral or health problems such as separation anxiety, lack of exercise and mental stimulation, and pain from an injury or joint disease such as arthritis.

However, your neighbors may not be interested to know why your dog is barking excessively and disturbing their peace.

Besides, in countries like the UK, your dog’s extreme barking can count as a statutory nuisance if:

Also, in cities like Lancaster in Los Angeles, CA, excessive barking can be reported by neighbors and yield citations or court proceedings.

In other cities like Campbelltown in South Wales, Australia, there’s a number tag to what counts as excessive dog barking:

As you can guess, it’s best to steer clear of your neighbors’ rage and any adverse legal consequences by stopping your dog’s excessive barking. I’ll tell you how with a few tips.

Tips to Stop Your Dog from Barking

The best way to stop your dog from barking is to notice the triggers and work to eliminate them. Here are some quick tips to stop your dog from barking, depending on the cause.

If your dog is barking from loneliness:

  1. Walk your dog daily to prevent boredom. Complement walks with indoor and outdoor play.
  2. Teach your dog anti-bark commands. I usually combine positive reinforcement with my favorite bark collar to teach my dog to pair the commands with positive experiences.
  3. Provide your dog with a variety of toys. Your dog will use those to keep engaged, even when you are not home.
  4. Make time for your dog. Dogs can show behavior similar to infant attachment and bark to show insecure attachment if you don’t have time for them.
  5. Consider a dog daycare if you work for long hours. Alternatively, hire a dog walker.

If your dog is barking to protect you, mark his territory, or due to fear:

  1. Train your dog to obey the “Quiet” or “Stop” command once he’s announced an intruder with one or two barks.
  2. Desensitize your dog to fear stimuli and barking triggers. That way, your dog knows strangers, the postman, or other dogs are not always enemies.
  3. Never encourage your dog to bark at people, other animals, or things. Your dog will take it as acceptable behavior, and it will be hard to stop him.
  4. Eliminate the occasions for barking. For example, you can block your dog’s view of the gate if he excessively barks at approaching persons.
  5. Use familiar cues such as “Come” or “Sit” to call the dog to yourself. This will reassure the pet about his and your safety.

The Bottom Line

Your dog will let out a bark at some point or another to alert you of an approaching visitor or invite you to play. That is normal dog behavior, and you should not stop it.

However, if your dog barks continuously and at odd times of the day or night, you should consider stopping him from barking. That’s if you don’t want trouble with neighbors and the law.

Noticing the barking triggers is the first step. You can then eliminate the stimulus and train your dog to bark naturally or stay quiet when the occasion calls for it.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!