Why Dogs Bark and Curbing Excessive Barking
How to Treat Excessive Barking continued...
Alternatively, 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 “quiet”, 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.
Once you know why your dog is barking, you can start working on ways to decrease his annoying habit. Here are some specific reasons why dogs bark, and how you can help lessen the noise:
Territorial/Protective/Alarm/Fear: Because this type of barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees. If he’s in a fenced yard, use solid wood instead of chain fencing. Indoors, limit access to windows and doors or cover them with an opaque film.
Boredom/Loneliness: If your dog barks excessively while you’re gone, you need to provide more activities or companionship to keep him from being lonely or bored.
Bringing an outdoors dog inside will lessen the noise impact on neighbors, and provide extra security for your home. It’s also safer because dogs left alone outside can face theft, escapes, poisoning, harassment, and other dangers.
But dogs can still bark inside if bored. So 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.
Providing something for your dog to do during the day also can 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.