Why Dogs Bark and Curbing Excessive Barking

Nobody should assume that a dog will never bark. That is equivalent to expecting a youngster to never speak. However, some bark excessively. If this is a problem in your household, the first thing you should do is investigate the reasons behind your dog’s frequent barking. Once you determine the cause of their barking, you may begin to solve the problem.

Why Dogs Bark

Barking is one form of vocal communication used by dogs, and its meaning can vary depending on the context. Here are several reasons why dogs bark:

Territorial/protective: Excessive barking is typically the response of your dog whenever it perceives that someone or another animal has entered an area that it considers to be its territory. Typically, as the threat approaches, the barking becomes louder. This style of barking will make your dog appear alert and even hostile.

Alarm/Fear: Some dogs will start barking at any noise or object that catches their attention or makes them feel scared. This could occur everywhere, not just on their home turf. In a condition of dread, their ears will be pinned back, and their tail will be tucked between their legs.

Boredom/Loneliness: Dogs are pack animals; therefore, they are not prone to feelings of boredom or alone. Long-term confinement of a dog, whether in the home or the yard, can lead to boredom, depression, and excessive barking.

Greeting/Play: Dogs frequently bark when welcoming people or other animals. It is typically accompanied by a wagging tail and sometimes hopping.

Attention Seeking: Dogs frequently bark when they want something, such as to be let outdoors, to play, or to receive a treat.

Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: When left alone, dogs with separation anxiety frequently bark excessively. In addition, they typically display additional symptoms, including pacing, destructiveness, melancholy, and improper elimination. It would appear that people who bark compulsively do so exclusively for the purpose of hearing the sound of their own voices. In addition to this, they have a tendency to participate in behaviors that are repeated on a regular basis, such as running in circles or along a fence.

How to Treat Excessive Barking

To lessen the amount of barking that your dog does, you will need time, effort, practice, and consistency. You won’t see results immediately, but with patience and the use of the appropriate strategies, you can make progress.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin to control your dog’s barking.

  • Your dog barks more when you shout because it believes you are joining in. Therefore, the first rule is to talk gently and strongly, without shouting.
  • Most dogs do not understand what you want when you yell “shut up” at them. Therefore, teach your dog to comprehend the word “Quiet!”

Here are two methods:

When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, authoritative tone. Before praising and rewarding them, wait until they cease barking, even if it’s just to take a breath. Caution should be taken never to reward them when they are barking. They will eventually learn that if they remain quiet when they hear the word “quiet,” they will be rewarded with a treat for their good behavior (and make it a delicious treat, such as chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)

You can also teach your dog to “speak.” After they have done this repeatedly, you can then give them a separate command, such as “silent,” while putting your finger to your lips to communicate that you want them to halt their barking (dogs often pick up body signals faster than voice commands.). If you practice these orders with them while they are calm, they should learn to stop barking when you tell them to, even if they would prefer to continue doing so.

  • A worn-out dog tends to be a calm dog. If you find that your dog barks when left alone, be sure to tire them out before you leave. Before you head out the door, go for a long walk or run, play some ball, or visit the dog park.
  • Don’t let problems fester and become worse over time. The longer a dog engages in a certain behavior, the more embedded it eventually becomes. Canines can experience a rush of adrenaline whenever they bark, which makes the dogs’ barking more enjoyable. In addition, allowing a dog to bark in particular situations, such as when the mailman arrives, can gradually teach a dog to behave aggressively in those situations. What will happen if your dog lets itself out one day when the mail is being delivered? Take immediate action to address the issues with the barking.
  • Barking too much can be a symptom of a number of medical conditions, including brain diseases, bee stings, and chronic discomfort. A sort of canine senility that results in an excessive amount of vocalizations can occur in older canines. It is always a good idea to get a pet checked out by a veterinary professional to ensure that there is no underlying medical condition causing the issue.

When you have determined the reason that your dog is barking, you can then begin looking into solutions to stop it:

Territorial/Protective/Alarm/Fear: Once you have discovered the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can then move on to investigating potential solutions to the problem. If they are contained within a fence, solid wood fencing is preferable than chain link. Restrict window and door access from the interior or cover them with an opaque film.

Boredom/Loneliness: If your dog barks excessively while you’re away, you should provide them with extra companionship or activities to prevent them from becoming lonely or bored.

Bringing an outside dog inside will reduce the noise impact on your neighbors and give additional home security. It is also safer, as pets left outside are susceptible to theft, elopement, poisoning, harassment, and other hazards.

However, bored dogs can still bark indoors. Therefore, if your dog barks throughout the day while you are at work, have someone walk or play with your dog for at least one hour per day.

Providing your dog with something to do during the day might also be beneficial. Try leaving out a few food-dispensing toys, which are available in various sizes and forms. These can occupy them for several hours, after which they will likely take a nap.

Dogs that bark throughout the night should be brought indoors. Dogs quickly learn to sleep quietly indoors and provide additional family safety.

Additionally, you can drop off your pet at doggie daycare two or three times each week, or engage in agility, obedience, or another sort of active canine training.

Greeting/Play: To prevent a dog from barking incessantly when you return home or the doorbell rings, you will need to teach them alternative behaviors. You can teach your dog to go to a certain spot and remain there even when the door opens and closes. It would be ideal if they could see the door without having to be too close to it. Choose a location and try training your dog to go there and stay, but avoid the door for now. Make it a game and provide numerous opportunities for praise and prizes.

As soon as your pet is able to accomplish this behavior in a regular manner, you should start opening the door while they are in the area that has been assigned to them.

Once you are able to open the door and your dog will remain in place, have someone actually enter the home. Initially, your dog will stray from their location, but with time and effort, they will learn to remain there when the door opens and guests enter the room.

Never give your dog a treat for barking at you when your return home. Do not pet or even establish eye contact with your dog until it has stopped barking and is sitting peacefully. Then, recognize and commend them.

Attention seeking: Never reward barking. If your dog barks when it wants water and you respond by filling its dish, you have taught it to bark to get what it wants. If they bark to go outside, the result is identical. So instruct them to ring a bell you attached to the doorknob in order to leave. Bang the water dish before filling it, and they may begin to push it with their snout to replicate the sound. Find non-barking methods for your dog to communicate.

Wait a few minutes, do something unrelated, and then refill their dish, so they do not realize their barking was effective.

Do not discipline your pet. That is still considered attention to a dog. The secret is to ignore your dog and their desires until they cease barking.

Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Both separation anxiety and excessive barking are difficult to treat and require the assistance of a veterinarian behaviorist or a licensed applied animal behaviorist. Dogs with these issues frequently require medication therapy to assist them in coping and learning new, acceptable behaviors.

 

Bark Collars. Should you use one?

There are a variety of products on the market that claim to immediately halt barking. Your dog’s collar can administer auditory or ultrasonic corrections, but they are not effective for all dogs. Collars that spray citronella are frequently effective, but some dogs have learned to deplete the spray and bark at will.

Shock collars, which give your pet an unpleasant shock, can injure animals and make them aggressive, particularly if canines link the pain they are experiencing with the object or animal they are barking at.

If your dog barks in a specific location, other off-collar gadgets may be effective.When they detect the sound of your dog barking, bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers will either shoot water at your dog or produce a loud noise. There are some situations in which they can be effective in stopping a dog from barking in a specific location; however, they are most effective when you are there to congratulate your pet when it ceases barking. This will assist you in training your dog to behave in the manner that you want.

What not to do:

  • Do not encourage your dog to bark at certain sounds, such as a slamming door or people walking by, and discourage it from barking at others.
  • Never use a muzzle or other kind of restraint to keep a dog quiet for extended periods of time or when it is unsupervised. It could be harmful to your pet.

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