Why dogs bark
Barking is a type of vocal communication that dogs use. And they can bark for several reasons. You should not expect your dog to cut it out completely, it’s in their nature. However, you can try and better understand the reasons behind dog barking, so you can curb it, or if it’s excessive then put a stop to it. So let’s have a look at the several reasons behind dog barking.
Perhaps it is one one of the most natural reasons behind dog baring. When a person or another animal comes into your are your dog feels the need to alert you. It is in their genes, so to speak as they were domesticated to protect their family and homes. During this, your dog might look alert and even aggressive.
Some dogs bark when an object or noise catches their attention. This can happen anywhere, even outside their territory. It is usually a look of fear associated with this type of barking, as often your dog doesn’t know the object that triggered it.
Pups often bark when they greet their human or other dogs. It is usually quite a happy one, and does no last long. Usually a couple of quick borks, that dies out quickly.
Dogs would often bark when they want something. It is a bad form of attention seeking, and can happen for any reason. For more info on this, read our article of demand barking.
Dogs with separation anxiety often bark when left home alone. It is excessive barking and the only thing that could stop them is owner returning home. Some dogs will even howl, or get into mischief when left alone.
How to stop excessive barking
Getting your dog to bark less will take time, practice and patience. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t magically manage this overnight. Our tips are definitely going to help you but before we dive in, here is a few tips on what not to do. You should never shout at your dog, as he will only thing you encourage hime by joining in. Also do not get aggressive, and yell at him. Instead try to teach him one ‘code word’ to quiet down.
One method to do this is to tell your dog ‘Quiet’ very calmly when he starts barking. Wait until he stopped, even if this is only for a breather and praise him and pet him. Then keep repeating this until he starts grasping the meaning of the word. Eventually he will start associating your ‘code word’ with something delicious. I must add that some dogs are smart enough to turn this method to their advantage, and start barking for they want a treat or your attention.
If this method does not quite work, then try tiring him out. Try taking them out on a walk longer than your usual, to make sure he gets exposed to plenty of stimulation. Perhaps even picking up agility or a more demanding form of exercise will do the trick too. A tired dog won’t bark, he will sleep.
Don’t let the problem escalate. If something he does over and over again is overlooked, it is going to be even the harder to put a stop to. For example the mail comes and your dog gets worked up, or he wants your attention and keeps on barking in your face. Try to put a stop to these situations, before they escalate any further. tell your dog the word you kept practicing, eg. ‘Quiet’, then try to distract him from the situation that’s causing the barking. If he quiets down, make sure to pay him attention or give hime a treat.
How to stop boredom barking
If your dog barks while you’re at work all day, get someone to walk your dog or play with her for at least an hour a day. It could be ample distraction for him. Alternatively doggie daycare is a great option. If you cannot afford or don’t want to opt for any of these, then providing something for your dog to do during the day can also help. Try leaving out a couple of food-dispensing toys, which come in different shapes and sizes. These can keep him busy for several hours, then he’ll probably take a nap.
Also, there are plenty of toys that are designed to keep high maintenance pups entertained. You could also invest in a doggie camera, to make sure you can spy on your pup, and alternatively reprimand them for behaving bad. If none of these work, then you could try and alternate your home office days with friends, who also own a dog, so you have someone to look after him always. Is your work pet friendly? Take your dog to work with you.
How to stop attention seeking and compulsive barking
Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. If he barks to go outside, it’s the same. So teach him to ring a bell you tied to the door handle to go out. Bang the water dish before filling it, and maybe he’ll start pushing it with his nose to make the same noise. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking. If he barks and you see his dish is empty, wait a few minutes, go do something else, then fill it, so he won’t know his barking was effective.
Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist. If this issue is not too severe, you can try reading this article and following one of our methods. Remember, if you decide to train your pup who has separation anxiety, first you need to know what exactly causes it. Perhaps a trauma in is past, or the fact that you limit his area when you leave the house. If you have the direct cause remember to take small steps and be very patient with him. Separation anxiety is a very tricky thing to handle.
What not to do
Never encourage your dog to bark at people, things or noises. Never use a muzzle to stop barking and do not use a choke collar. Instead try and teach your dog that you are the pack leader, and he has nothing to worry about or get defensive about. Generally taking your dog for a long walk every day and giving him plenty of mental and physical stimulation will keep him healthy and balanced. Nonetheless, if all else fails contact a professional, so you can start a program personalized to your needs.