Barking is a natural habit of dogs to signal other members of the canine and family pack in times of play and in times of warning. However, excessive noise can certainly be a common complaint from neighbours. Socializing and crate training puppies can certainly help to prevent problem vocalization by eliminating anxiety and fear in new situations where the dog may otherwise feel threatened. Attention getting barking must not be rewarded by petting, feeding or even talking to the dog when barking.
Training the dog to respond to a “quiet” command, after a “sit”/”stay” is excellent, but must be done before the barking begins. Yelling or punishing the dog will only reinforce the attention, and once the dog is quiet, a reward should be given. If the barking is already underway, placing a food reward near the dog to get it’s attention should deter the bark long enough to stop the bark. Once the dog is sniffing the treat, give the “quiet” command. Once the dog is quiet, reward with “good quiet” and give the treat. When the “quiet” command is established, retraining with increasing stimuli such as new people, doorbells, etc, can be presented.
Barking collars or other remote training devices can be used – appropriate use is of paramount importance, with rewards again being used for good behaviour.
If you are having a problem with barking with your own dog, please discuss the most appropriate approach to correcting the problem with a veterinarian.