How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Noises Outside

How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Noises Outside
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Noises Outside

Owning a dog is one of life’s greatest joys, but let's face it, few things are more exasperating than your dog’s relentless barking at every noise outside. Whether it's the mail carrier, a passing car, or the neighbor's kids playing, many dogs have an instinctive urge to bark at perceived threats.

Instead of shushing or scolding your furry friend, there's a more enjoyable and effective solution that will have your dog wagging its tail instead of barking up a storm. A dog trainer shared a playful and successful strategy on TikTok, demonstrating how she trained her dog to stop barking at outside noises through a game.

Understanding the Barking Instinct

Canine behavior specialist Emilee Mahar suggests using a conditioning method to distract dogs from the stimuli that prompt their barking. Mahar explains that reprimanding your dog adds stress to their already agitated state. Instead, she recommends changing their reaction to outside noises by associating these sounds with a fun activity.

@emileedoglady Dogs barking at noises outside of the home is a really common form of reactivity. Just like everything else in Dog Training overtime you decrease the amount of rewards that they need to get the desired behavior you want. #dogtraining #dogbarking ♬ original sound - Emilee Mahar - Dog Trainer

“I promise you, yelling at them and punishing them is not going to get you as far as you want,” Mahar said. “You need to change the way that they feel about the noises outside of the home happening.”

The "Quiet" Command Game

Mahar teaches her clients to connect hearing a noise outside with playing a game. The first step is to give your dog a simple but firm command like “quiet” as soon as they bark at a noise. Immediately after, initiate a training session by rewarding them with several treats. This redirection helps change their behavior and reaction to outside noises.

According to Dogtopia, reinforcing this technique with praise, such as saying “Good quiet,” after the distraction works, can make it even more effective. Consistency and patience are key for this approach to work.

Tailoring the Method to Your Dog

Dogs are unique, and this method may not be immediately effective for those prone to losing interest once a noise catches their attention. Different breeds will also react differently, so it’s important to understand your dog’s specific needs.

However, continuous effort will likely yield results. After all, what dog doesn’t get excited by a game of treats?

Addressing Concerns About Positive Reinforcement

Some people might worry that this method could teach dogs to bark for treats, but Mahar clarifies that the technique is meant to shift their attention from one stimulus to another. Telling your dog “no” or “stop” out of frustration won’t be effective unless you pair it with stimulating actions and games to catch their attention. Repetition is crucial for success.

@emileedoglady Replying to @Fernsby ♬ original sound - Emilee Mahar - Dog Trainer

Keeping Your Dog Engaged

Beyond the “quiet” command game, there are other ways to distract your dog from outside noises. Taking your dog for a walk, playing fetch with their favorite toy, or simply giving them love and attention can work wonders.

Understanding Your Dog’s Barking

Dogs often bark at outside noises due to their need to protect their home, which stems from fear or territorial instincts. While this behavior can be annoying, it’s important not to get upset. This barking could alert you to real threats.

One person commented, "I don't yell at them for doing their job. I tell them, 'It's okay. Thank you. We're good. We're safe. Thank you,' and they stop barking."

Dogs might also bark for attention, so ensure their needs for love and affection are met daily.

The Importance of Physical and Mental Stimulation

Physical and mental stimulation are critical in reducing your dog’s barking. Regular exercise, like daily walks or play sessions, can help burn off excess energy and reduce anxiety. Mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or training sessions, can keep your dog’s mind engaged and less focused on outside noises.

Additional Tips for Reducing Barking

  • Create a calm environment: Use white noise machines or calming music to mask outside noises.
  • Provide a safe space: Designate a quiet area in your home where your dog can retreat when they feel anxious.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Always reward your dog for calm behavior and responding to commands.


Overall, Mahar’s method, combined with teaching your dog trigger words like “quiet” and “good quiet,” can effectively reduce unwanted barking. With consistent practice, patience, and understanding, you can enjoy a more peaceful home while keeping your furry friend happy and engaged.

Implementing these techniques and providing ample physical and mental stimulation will help your dog stay calm and less reactive to outside noises. Remember, a well-exercised and mentally stimulated dog is a happy and quiet dog.

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