For dogs, barking is a way of communicating. However, this can sometimes become annoying especially when the barking is uncontrollable. If you’re looking to get a poodle, you may be concerned about this. You may be asking:
Do poodles bark a lot? No, poodles don’t really bark a lot. However, they are highly observant and can develop a habit of barking at every interesting thing that happens around them. Therefore, it is important that you control this behavior by training your poodle to avoid excessive barking.
In this article, I explain how to go about training your poodle to stop incessant barking.
How not to do it:
The wrong way to go about reforming your canine friend’s excessive barking ways is to shout at your poodle to stop the barking. Your poodle will likely see this as a sign that you like his barking and are joining in the chorus. Hence, he could bark even more.
Therefore, instead of further stimulating your dog, you should speak to him calmly and firmly, preferably with a simple word like ‘quiet’ that he understands.
Your poodle will respond appropriately to this command based on how well you’ve trained him.
In the following sections, I’ll show you how to properly train your dog to obey your ‘quiet’ commands.
Why Poodles Bark
Equally important as knowing how to train your poodle, is learning why poodles bark in the first place.
This is because you don’t want to force off your poodle’s barking when it could actually be for good reason.
For instance, you still want your poodle to bark to you when he’s distressed and needs your help. So, why do poodles bark?
- Boredom – Your poodle may simply be bored and is craving some excitement. You can provide some excitement by taking him for a walk, giving him a toy, or engaging him in a game of fetch.
- Home alone – Poodles are sensitive and can have anxiety when they are left alone. Miniature poodles, especially, are known to develop separation anxiety when their owner is away from them.
You can help the poodle to cope during this time by offering lots of toys and enrichment so that he is engaged when you’re away.
You can also place your poodle by a window where he can look around for some excitement. Also, some calming sounds wouldn’t hurt.
- Guarding his territory – The presence of other dogs or even a squirrel in the backyard can trigger your poodle to bark at the intruder repeatedly. The same goes for human intruders. If the intruder is harmless, like a squirrel or a bird, you can train your poodle to avoid these distractions by offering a treat when he lets it slide.
- Alarm – Poodles were bred as hunting dogs and, therefore, their senses are highly tuned. Therefore, several things may trigger your poodle. For instance, sudden sharp sounds such as doorbells can trigger your poodle to start barking. You can control unnecessary barking at doorbells by following the training guidelines below.
- Greeting – Sometimes your poodle may bark at another dog as a form of ‘greeting’. We’ll assume this is a ‘happy’ greeting if he’s furiously wagging his tail.
What your Poodle’s barking means
Now, I’m no dog whisperer, but based on your poodle’s barking pitch, he could be telling you different things. Here’s what it could be:
- Howling – This may happen when your poodle is trying to communicate with a fellow canine.
- Low tone barking – Your poodle may use this kind of barking when it has been triggered by something it doesn’t yet know to be safe or threatening. The trigger looks ominous and unusual.
- High pitched barking – This may happen when your poodle is calling for your attention or when it just wants to be noticed. For instance, your poodle may be outside and wants to come inside the home because it’s chilly out there.
- Growling – This may happen when your poodle is guarding its territory. It is the kind of barking that warns intruders to keep away. If your poodle uses it on you, it’s best to give him a minute.
- Whimpering – This is common among poodle puppies. It is often a sign that your poodle feels ignored or lonely.
Training your Poodle not to bark
Being hunting dogs, poodles have a natural knack for barking. So, you should not expect your poodle to give it up completely.
However, with good training, you can train your poodle good barking manners.
Most dog trainers recommend teaching your poodle basic obedience commands even before you start him on the ‘quiet’ training.
This is because it is easier for your poodle to learn ‘quiet’ if he is accustomed to basic obedience training.
Also, some poodles won’t bark when they are obeying some of the basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’.
In any case, poodles are highly intelligent dogs and even though your poodle has not gone through basic obedience training, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t learn the ‘quiet’ command given enough time. Here’s the exercise for training your poodle not to bark;
In most cases, yappy poodles do not do extensive barking just because they can. Therefore, before everything else, investigate and make sure that your poodle is not actually trying to direct your attention to a real problem.
If it’s a real alert (for instance there’s someone at the door), praise him and give a treat. If it’s a fake alert, move on to step two.
Ignore the barking
When your poodle starts barking, turn away and ignore his barking no matter how long it lasts. This will achieve two things: it will communicate to your poodle that you don’t respond to unnecessary barking, and it will tire him out eventually.
Rewards for quiet
When your poodle stops barking, praise him and give him a treat. Also, give him attention. You can also give him a favorite toy or game.
In giving these treats, hold up your hand, say ‘quiet’ and then release the treat. Over time, your poodle should associate this hand gesture and the word ‘quiet’ with a reward and it’ll stop barking.
Repeat this process of ignoring the barking and rewarding obedience or good barking manners. It will take some time but if you’re consistent and persistent, your poodle will change appropriately. Poodles are very good at forming habits.
Important: As you train your poodle to stop barking, it is important that you don’t punish barking. Some trainers may recommend using bark collars that basically release a spray of citrus smell – which dogs hate – when the poodle starts barking.
However, this method is not sure proof since some poodles are smart and they’ll know the spray runs out eventually – so they could simply wait it out. Personally, I do not think negative reinforcement works best, so I wouldn’t go for these bark collars.
Like other dogs, poodles often do a good amount of barking. Some poodles may bark excessively at triggers that are not a problem.
To identify these moments, it’s important to notice when and why your poodle barks.
Then, you can teach him good barking manners: not barking at every single exciting thing he sees. It may take some time but it is well worth the effort – for a calmer life for you and your poodle.