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How to Stop a Dog from Barking at the TV: 6 Effective Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

man watching TV with his dog

How to Stop a Dog from Barking at the TV: 6 Effective Tips

When you’re watching television, you don’t want your dog to bark at every little noise or movement on the screen. As much as you love your pet,  continuous growling and barking grate on your nerves. You want to relax in your home with your dog beside you.

Some dogs will only bark at particular triggers on TV, such as a bird flying or a wolf howling, while others will bark at almost anything you watch. A dog that won’t stop barking can feel like an impossible problem to solve, but there are proven steps you can take to reduce the problem. The steps in this guide will help you pinpoint the cause of your dog’s behavior and find a solution that works.

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Before You Begin Training

Every dog has a unique personality and temperament. Some dogs are more stubborn than others or have issues from past owners that are hard to fix. It may take time to address their barking at the television problem, but with patience and consistency, you can watch your favorite shows in peace again.

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Image By: BCCWM, Shutterstock

Tools

There are a few tools to have on hand before you start this process:

  • A treat your dog loves that’s safe for them to eat
  • A leash that’s easy for you to handle
  • A few videos online with barking triggers, such as squirrels or other dogs
  • A word or phrase, such as “leave it,” to say when your dog reacts to the television

Now that everything is in place, you can follow these six steps to keep your dog from making noise when you watch the TV.

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How to  Stop Your Dog from Barking at the TV

1. Sit With Your Dog in Front of the Television

The first step is to place your dog beside you in front of your TV. Pull up videos that you know will elicit a barking response. It’s best to pick clips that include several triggers so that you don’t waste time on commercials or random moments your dog won’t notice.

The key is to get your dog used to stimulating images and sounds on the screen. While not necessary, you may want to have your dog on a leash for the entire process. If they lunge toward the TV or try to get away from you, it’s easy to bring them close again.

woman watching tv with her do
Image By: Lazy_Bear, Shutterstock

2. Offer Your Dog Treats Before They Start Barking

As you start playing the videos, give your pup one of their favorite treats. The presence of their beloved snacks will distract your dog from what’s going on in front of them. Be careful only to give the treats when your dog isn’t reacting to the television. You don’t want to reward the behavior you’re trying to stop accidentally.


3. Use Your Selected Training Phrase

If your dog reacts in any way to the videos, use a firm but calm tone to tell them to stop the behavior. You can pick a word or short phrase that makes sense to you, such as “No” or “Stop.” Use the same command if you have already trained your dog to leave something alone. Repeatedly remind them to stop barking at the television or lunging toward it.

golden retriever dogs lying on the floor with their owner at home
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

4. Consistently Reward Your Dog When They Don’t Bark

Let your dog watch the videos with you as many times as it takes. Keep them close to you and show them the treats when they start to bark or react to the screen. Let your dog sniff the treat for a few seconds. If they quiet down, let them eat the snack. If they don’t, wait a bit and offer the treat again. While it can take time, your dog will quickly learn that they get rewarded when they relax.


5. Build Up the Tolerance to Videos & Be Patient

Like all training exercises, getting your dog to stop barking will take repeated sessions. Some dogs respond to the training more quickly than others. The key is to get your dog used to the stimuli and excitement on television and to be consistent with rewarding good behavior. You want the experience to be positive, so don’t react with anger.

dogs watching TV
Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

6. Keep Your Dog Out of the Room If You Don’t Have Time to Train

The quickest way to derail the process is to be inconsistent. Once you start this training, your dog will get confused if you let them bark at the television one day but not the next. You might have times when you don’t have the time or patience to work with your dog. If you just need to unwind, put your dog in their crate or another room where they can rest in a positive environment without getting confused.

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Final Thoughts

Dogs don’t bark to annoy you. They are usually just excited or nervous about what’s happening around them, but you can change their response to the environment with training. Positive reinforcement and being consistent with your dog will make all the difference. Every dog is different, so the time it takes for the training will vary. However, by following the steps in this article, hopefully, you’ll be able to stop this unwanted behavior.


Featured Image Credit: Eugenio Marongiu, Shutterstock

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