Dogs are social animals that communicate with each other through barking. It’s a natural behavior, but it can be problematic if your pet barks excessively. And no one should expect a dog to never bark. That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively. If that’s a problem in your home, the first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why they are barking, you can start to treat their barking problem.
A common cause for nuisance barking occurs when dogs bark when left alone by their owners. They may be bored or lonely and feel the need to communicate with their owners to let them know they need attention. Some dogs may feel the need to protect their territory if it’s invaded by strangers. If you’re getting a new dog, it’s important that you determine what causes your pet to bark excessively and start working on training techniques before the behavior becomes a problem.
According to “The Whole Dog Journal,” most breeds of dogs are prone to excessive barking. It’s not just a matter of training, though that is an important step in the process. You may need to try different types of training techniques with your pet to determine which approach works best for them.
Here are some guidelines on how to treat your dog’s barking problem:
- Do not yell at or punish your dog for barking, especially if they are scared or hurt. Yelling will only frighten them and make things worse. If you feel the need to yell, step into another room until you calm down before returning to deal with your pet.
- Be consistent when it comes to training techniques when dealing with barking. Your pet will become confused if you use different punishment techniques at different times.
- Learn to read the signals that your dog is trying to communicate with their barks, including whines and growls. If they are being territorial or anxious, there may be no way to stop the behavior without help from a professional trainer.
- If you have a new pet, set them up for success. Make sure to give them plenty of exercise and playtime each day. You may also need to hire a trainer if the barking is too much for you to handle on your own.
Why Dogs Bark
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Dogs communicate with each other through barking, but there are some situations where your pet may be putting too much emphasis on their vocal skills. Many dogs bark when they’re left alone while others bark because of a high level of anxiety.
Your dog could also be a barker if you’ve moved into a new home or neighborhood and they’re unsure who comes and goes in the area. Other common reasons for a dog to bark include:
- A desire to get your attention: Some dogs may see barking as a way to gain access into your universe of attention, including when you’re busy with other things.
- Dwelling on past traumatic events: When a dog overreacts to loud noises, such as thunder and fireworks, they could be stuck in a past mindset that reminds them of something bad. A dog might also feel the need to protect its territory if it’s invaded by strangers.
- Boredom: If left alone for too long each day, some dogs may start barking to get your attention since you’re now out of sight.
Types of Dog Barking
A dog’s bark will differ from other animals in terms of pitch, tone, and volume. By listening to your pet’s vocalizations, you’ll be able to understand what they’re trying to communicate with their barks.
If a dog barks out of fear or anxiety, it may sound high-pitched and tinny. If they’re feeling territorial, their bark will be deeper in pitch. A bored dog may let out an oblong bark with long pauses in between each vocalization.
How to Stop Dogs’ Excessive Barking
No one should expect a dog to never bark. That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively. If that’s a problem in your home, the first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Once you know why they are barking, you can start to treat their barking problem.
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There are several techniques you can use to train your pet on how to communicate without using excessive barking. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep socialization in mind: Since dogs communicate with their barks, make sure they are getting positive attention throughout the day. This might include taking them out for walks or to your local dog park where they can meet new friends.
- Calmly correct the barking: Give specific commands like “be quiet” if your dog starts to bark when you’re watching TV or trying to sleep at night.
- Control access points: Your dog may be barking because they feel the need to guard one of the entrances in your home, including a doggy door or windows that face the street. Make sure to block these off if necessary and give them plenty of high places where they can comfortably monitor the house without feeling the urge to bark at passersby.
- Create a schedule: If you know when your dog is typically most likely to begin barking, set up a schedule that will help them understand when it’s time for exercise and playtime. Make sure they get plenty of attention throughout the day so they don’t feel the need to become territorial or bored.
- Locate the source of barking: If you can hear your dog barking but they’re out of sight, look for signs that could point to a potential cause such as damage (to furniture or siding), an open door, or window, and unfamiliar visitors.
- Silence the triggers: If your pet is barking because of anxiety or fear, try to remove themselves from the situation that makes them uneasy. For example, if they bark when they’re in the backyard alone, bring them inside and give them extra attention.
- Keep your pet healthy: It’s possible for dogs to develop phobias and compulsive behaviors if their brains aren’t getting all of the nutrients they need. Ask your vet about adding a supplement like CBD oil to your dog’s diet.
- Help reduce anxiety: Lavender is often used in pheromone sprays that can help reduce anxiety in dogs. You can also give your pet something sour to chew on, such as an orange peel or pawpaw fruit, since it may calm them down.
- Desensitize your dog to the triggers: If you know why your dog is barking excessively, make a plan to get them comfortable with what makes them nervous or scared. For example, if you can regularly take your pet to get groomed or get its nails clipped at your local vet’s office, they will soon grow accustomed to these situations and won’t be as afraid of them.
- Train your dog to “speak” and “quiet”: Use these two commands with positive reinforcement so your pet will learn exactly what you want from them when they use their voice. Eventually, they’ll understand that barking is OK in some cases but not others. If all else fails, you might want to seek professional help.
Dogs have often misunderstood animals, but owners can learn the basics of dog behavior by observing their pets closely. Once you know what your dog is trying to communicate with their barks, you may be able to prevent them from becoming a problem. If your pet’s barking has escalated into an excessive habit that’s beyond your control, you may need to look for professional help.
How to Stop Dogs from Barking
It’s important that you understand why your dog is barking and use different training techniques if needed to stop the behavior. When trying to stop a dog from excessive barking, it’s best to avoid yelling at them or punishing them because this can lead to further confusion and anxiety.
If your dog is anxious or territorial, it may not be able to stop barking without help from a professional trainer. You can try different training techniques for dogs at home, such as the following:
- Ignoring your pet: When you notice them barking excessively, step away and ignore them for a certain amount of time. This will teach them that only barking when necessary yields rewards.
- Positive reinforcement: When your dog barks, reward positive behavior and give them attention. This will teach them to bark less and focus on activities that bring them praise from their owners.
- Praise your dog for not barking: When your pet doesn’t bark for a certain amount of time, give them praise to reinforce the behavior.
- Ask for quiet: If you’re in public and notice your dog barking excessively, ask them to be quiet in an assertive tone. This will help them realize that there are times when they should not be vocalizing with other people.
- Distracting your pet: You can try to redirect their barking behavior by giving them a treat or playing with them just before they start barking. They may forget that they were about to bark when you give them something else fun to do.
No owner should expect a dog never to bark, but if the problem is overwhelming, you can take steps towards reducing it. The first step is understanding why your dog is barking too much. Once you know the cause, you can start to implement training techniques at home.
If your pet still shows signs of excessive barking even after trying these measures, they may need more help from a professional trainer or veterinarian. Keep in mind that any time your pet is excessively vocal, this could be a sign of another medical issue and you should seek the advice of a professional.
Conclusion: How to Stop my Dogs from Barking
Your dog barking excessively is not normal and should be addressed as soon as you notice it. Through observation, you may find the cause of your pet’s excessive vocalizations and how to stop barking. If all else fails, consider reaching out to a professional trainer or veterinarian who can help with the issue.