Dogs barking is a normal behavior.The question becomes when does it become excessive and how to stop it. If this has become a major concern, he first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why he is barking, you can start to treat his barking problem. Let’s Review why Dogs Bark.
WHY DOGS BARK
Barking is the main vocal communication that dogs use, and it can mean different things. As pet owners, it can be unnerving and difficult to deal with. As a Professional Pet Sitter and Pet Owner, there is more patience with it, because there is an underlying understanding. Here are some reasons why dogs bark:
We all know that animals are protective of their territory. Conveying that protectiveness results in excessive barking many times. As the threat gets closer, the barking often gets louder. Your dog will look alert and even aggressive during this type of barking. As an owner, don’t take it granted. Always figure out what’s going on.
Alarm/Fear: Once you come to some conclusion of why your dog is barking. Sometimes they may not simply be protecting their territory. They may be alarming you of something they fear. Some dogs bark at any noise or object that catches their attention or startles them. This can happen anywhere, not just in their home territory.
Boredom/Loneliness: As Pet Owners, our pet babies are not the only part of our lives. They don’t understand that many times . Dogs are pack animals. Dogs left alone for long periods, whether in the house or in the yard, can become bored or sad and often will bark because separation anxiety, boredom or loneliness.
Greeting/Play: Every time your dog looks at you, the level of Oxytocin Increases in their brain. Oxtytocin is the feel good hormone that animals and people feel when they are in love and it calms down the anxiety. Think of “Puppy Love“. Therefore, Dogs often bark when greeting people or other animals. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with tail wags and sometimes jumping. And they get more excited when they see their owner again, even if its 5 minutes later.
Attention Seeking: Also , when training your dogs, dogs learn quickly that barking when they want something, such as going outside, playing, or getting a treat os great communication.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: We talked about Separation Anxiety earlier. Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
Getting your dog to bark less will take time, work, practice, and consistency. It won’t happen overnight, but with proper techniques and time, you can see progress.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned as an owner and more as a professional pet sitter to start your efforts to control your dog’s barking.
- Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because he thinks you’re joining in. So the first rule is to speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell.
- Most dogs don’t know what you want when you’re yelling at them to “shut up.” So train your dog to understand the word “Quiet!”
Here are two methods:
1) When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a high level treat, such as cheese or chicken bits to make it worth more than the barking.)
2) Another Method, You can teach your dog to “speak”, then once he’s doing that reliably, signal him to stop barking with a different command, such as “hush”, while holding your finger to your lips (dogs often pick up body signals faster than voice commands.) Practice these commands when he’s calm, and in time he should learn to stop barking at your command, even when he wants to bark at something.
- A tired dog is a quiet dog. If your dog barks when alone, tire him out before you go. Take a long walk or run, play ball or take a trip to the dog park before leaving.
- Don’t allow problems to go on and on. The longer a dog does something, the more ingrained it becomes. Barking can give dogs an adrenaline rush, which makes the barking pleasant. And allowing a dog to bark in certain situations, such as when the mailman arrives, can eventually make a dog aggressive in those situations. What if your dog gets out one day as the mail is being delivered? Deal with barking problems as quickly as possible.
- Some medical problems can cause excessive barking, from bee stings to brain disease to ongoing pain. Older pets can develop a form of canine senility that causes excessive vocalizations. It’s always a good idea to have a pet checked out to be sure there’s no medical reason for a problem.
Until Next Time…..
- Barking (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) (neilhutchinspositively.wordpress.com)
- Bark Collar: Dogs Are Not Subjected To Physical Or Psychological Suffering (pamperedpetpalace.info)
- The Barking Dog Blues: Why Dogs Bark and What to Do About It (psychologytoday.com)