menu close open event RSVP required ticketed event
Toggle Search

Barking, Crying and Whining

Why is he barking, and how can I make him stop?

Dogs bark for many reasons. Some dogs may bark at any little noise, while others may not bark at all. Some breeds are more prone to barking than others. Below are several reasons why dogs bark and recommendations to control barking.

Excessive Barking Outside

Your dog may be barking excessively when outside because of boredom and frustration.


  • Supervise your dog outside and keep him inside when you cannot supervise him.
  • Spend more time with your dog by attending a Manner’s Class at the Wisconsin Humane Society or class of your choice.
  • Exercise your dog for short sessions throughout the day or a little longer during his current exercise time.
  • Provide your dog with interactive toys and encourage him to work. Examples of interactive toys are Kongs, Busy Buddies, or Starmark™ Treat-Dispensing Football, all of which can all be purchased at Animal Antics at the Wisconsin Humane Society. You can also rotate and switch toys on a regular basis to keep him busy.

Alarm/Territorial Barking

Some dogs bark at passersby, other animals, the doorbell or anything that comes too close to their area. This is their way of letting you know something has changed.


  • When your dog is barking at noises that are outside while he is inside, teach your dog a “quiet” cue. When your dog starts barking, say “quiet” and interrupt his barking with a “shaker can." (A “shaker can” can be made by filling an empty soda can with eight to ten pennies then taping the top shut.) When your dog is quiet, stop shaking the can immediately and reward him by saying, “good” and giving him a tasty treat. Do not continue to shake the can.
  • If your dog barks at a specific triggering event, such as the doorbell, teach him a “quiet” cue. Have a friend or family member ring the doorbell while standing by the door. When your dog ceases barking, give the cue “quiet” and give him a tasty treat. Remain calm and do not shout the cue. Continue pairing silence with the cue “quiet” in this manner.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered to decrease territorial behavior.
  • If your dog alarm barks outside, supervise him outside. If you cannot supervise your dog outside and your fence is open, increase the visual barriers. Plant shrubs or trees to limit what he can see. You can also weave vinyl strips through the holes of a chainlink fence.
  • If your dog barks when left alone inside the house, leave the radio or television on softly while you are gone.
  • Manage your dog’s environment. If he barks when he sees something out the window, limit his access to the window by moving furniture to block the window. To block his view, you can also crate your dog while you are gone or when you cannot supervise him.
  • The most important change is to increase the amount of stimulation your dog receives. Whenever possible take him on errands with you. Take him to the park, a manners class, and even on a quick car ride. The more variety and change in your dog’s daily life, the less exciting slight changes in the home will become.

Whining or Barking for Attention


  • Ignore this behavior. If you begin early, your dog will learn that “whining gets me nothing.” If your dog has been whining for quite some time, it is likely that the behavior will get worse before getting better. Reward your dog for good behavior - being quiet. This is the time to give your dog attention. Remember to be consistent.

Barking or Whining in the Crate

Some dogs and puppies will bark and whine when first placed inside the appropriate-size crate.


  • Ignore your dog. Do not allow him to come out of the crate while he is whining. When your dog is quiet for a couple minutes, reward him with a yummy treat while keeping your behavior low-key and pleasant. (You can toss the treat into the crate from a few feet away.) After your dog has been quiet in the crate, reward him with some time out to play with you.
  • If your dog whines or barks continuously in the crate, teach him a “quiet” cue. When your dog starts barking or whining, say “quiet” and interrupt his barking by shaking a “shaker can”. (A “shaker can” can be made by filling an empty soda can with eight to ten pennies then taping the top shut.) When your dog is quiet, stop shaking the can immediately and reward him by saying, “good” and giving him a tasty treat. Do not continue to shake the can.
  • If barking and whining is occurring at night, move the crate into the bedroom where you are sleeping.

If your dog is drooling continuously, defecating or urinating, and does not settle, this may be a sign of something more serious. Please contact the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Behavior Hotline by dialing (414) 431-6173 for more assistance.

If you would like to work with a Wisconsin Humane Society behaviorist one-on-one regarding this behavior topic, please call 414-431-6173 or email to schedule a consultation.