How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at the Neighbors

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

Home » Blog » How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at the Neighbors

It is definitely normal for your dog to bark. After all, it is their only method of communication to us humans. There are, however, instances where your dog could go crazy and bark non-stop. Maybe they see your neighbors who may be merely passing by your front yard. There could be various reasons for this. There are different ways you can try to stop your dog from barking. Better yet, train them to not bark at your neighbors.

How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at the Neighbors

As a pet owner, you are responsible for your dog, as well as others who could be affected or bothered by your dog. If your dog can’t seem to stop barking at your neighbors or other people they see, you might have to learn a few tricks to stop the barking.

PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world, has reported that its caseworkers have received numerous complaints about dogs. These involve ones who are constantly barking and causing an issue of too much noise in their neighborhoods.

Why Your Dog is Barking at Your Neighbors

Your dog could be barking because of the following reasons:

  • Your neighbor startled your dog in front of your door or window when they walked.
  • Your dog is overprotective of your house, yard, or its own territory. When it thinks your neighbor is violating its space or territory, it will feel threatened. This causes strong and loud barking.
  • Your dog wants to socialize and play with other dogs or people who caught its attention. The barking could just be a sign of greeting.
  • Your dog wants to communicate that its needs are not being met. Perhaps, this could be because they are feeling anxious, bored, or distressed.
Group of people with a dog sitting on a white mat on a grass field

Nonetheless, because of these complaints, debarking or devocalization has been an option for many to stop their dogs from barking. Although debarking is proven to not have side effects on the dogs who have already undergone the procedure, it still should be the last option to you if your dogs are barking for reasons of boredom, loneliness, or hunger.

As an alternative, we’ve listed down the methods you can use to train your dog to stop barking at your neighbors.

Things to Do to Stop A Dog From Barking At Passerby’s

Positive Reinforcement

Originally studied and proven by psychologist B.F.Skinner in the 1940s, positive reinforcement has been such a popular dog-training method. In fact, the theory has even emerged as one of the most used behavioral change methods even to humans.

This method is also called the clicker training. It states that, instead of the traditional way where you’re used to screaming or punishing your dog for its bad behavior, you should instead focus on appraising or rewarding it whenever it does something good.

In this case, whenever your dog stops barking, give it a treat or pet it to signify you are rewarding its behavior of not barking. With repetition, they will relate the action of not barking to a positive reinforcement which is the reward they get from you. Because they want the reward, they will stop barking.

Ignoring the Behavior

If you give it more attention when it’s barking, the dog may relate the barking to more attention, which is something they want to have more. Instead of continuously telling them not to bark, just wait patiently for them to stop. Then, reward them either with your attention or a treat.

Word Cue Command

Can you see the pattern here? You want your dog to relate barking to something that won’t be rewarding for them. Likewise, you want not barking or staying still as something that is positive for them.

In the case of the word cue command, what you want to do is relate a word (for example, “Quiet” or “Stop”) as a cue for when you want them to keep quiet. The key here is saying the cue word calmly and repetitively until the dog relates it to the action of not barking. 

Social Training Method

Your dog is most probably feeling like your neighbors are a threat. Naturally, they would want to scare them off from your yard or anywhere near your house. In order to turn this thing around, it is your job as the pet owner to introduce your dog to your neighbors. Walk your dog around your neighborhood so he knows those people are friends and not enemies.

It’s also a good thing for your dog to be social and to see other people or other dogs once in a while. He won’t feel bored or distressed, which could also cause their excessive barking.

The social training method could also include you asking your neighbors to visit your house. Ask them to ignore your dog at first, even if it’s barking. Then, ask them to drop your dog’s favorite treats one by one to give the dog a chance to trust and feel comfortable in your neighbors’ presence.

Blocking Their Vision

The simplest solution could also be to not let your dog see your neighbors. This won’t necessarily be solving the root cause of the problem. For a temporary solution, you may consider using tools like a white noise generator to drown out the footsteps or talking noises of your neighbors outside. You could use window films that lessen the outside noise while still letting light into your house.


Using these techniques could indeed help you train your dog to stop barking at your neighbors. Although in some cases, they still will bark to communicate something. The excessive and constant barking situations could be decreased if not avoided at the very least. The main thing is to make your dog relate the actions you want them to continuously do with positive rewards so they will get more used to doing them.

Sometimes a dog’s barking can not be stopped, no matter what methods you try. If needed, feel free to contact us at Care Animal Hospital for a consultation on our debarking service.