Dogs that yap and bark can aggravate both you and your neighbors. Curing your dog of an established yapping problem does take time and patience, but it is possible. The most important part of curing the issue is consistency in how you deal with the yapping issue.
Determine if your dog is actually barking at something. Dogs have much better hearing than humans, which means that your dog may actually hear something he feels he should warn you about. If he seems to go to a particular spot and look outside while barking, he is probably responding to something you cannot hear.
Consider using a white noise machine or playing a radio softly. If your dog is barking in response to noises outside, encourage him to be quiet by drowning out some of the noise.
Teach your dog to be quiet on command. Keep some treats handy while doing this, as an immediate reward makes the process move quicker. When you catch your dog yapping, tell him "hush," "quiet" or any other command you choose, but use the same one each time. He will probably stop barking when he hears your voice, praise him and toss him a treat. Continue the process, and he will soon learn to quiet on your command.
Use your quiet command without providing treats every time. Once you are confident he understands what you expect, tell him to hush and keep going about your everyday activities. You want him to listen to you with or without treats.
Expand his horizons. As you train him to be quiet, you can also do things to make him less prone to bark in the first place. Walk him through the neighborhood so he becomes comfortable with the sights and sounds of where he lives. Take him to a local dog park where he can play with other dogs. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise each day so that he doesn't have a lot of pent-up energy.
Items you will need
- White noise machine
- The Humane Society of the United States: Barking: How to Get Your Dog To Quiet Down
- The Good Behavior Book for Dogs; Colleen Paige
- Small Dog image by Nick Scott-Jones from Fotolia.com