When dogs bark, sometimes it is their way of communicating with other animals or humans, while other times it’s to express their feelings. For example, when they feel startled by something or someone, they might bark in surprise. But while the reasons for this behaviour are diverse, it is most likely due to instinctual responses that have been passed on through generations of canines.
How to stop your dog from barking?
Find the trigger
There are many reasons that your dog may be barking and trying to stop it on the spot can prove difficult. For this reason, identifying what is triggering the behaviour in order to fix the problem is essential. Controlling your dog’s barking needs time and patience–your goal should be to eliminate unwanted noise while keeping your dog safe.
A “trigger” can be a word or other sound that has an effect on your pet. For example, if hearing you say “sit” causes your dog to assume that you want to participate in training, he may begin barking whenever he hears the word.
Are there any specific words or sounds that cause your dog to bark? If so, you should not repeat them as much as possible. You can also try ignoring the word or sound when it happens, but if you do this make sure to praise your pet when he is quiet instead.
Retrain their behaviour
The more something upsets your pet, the more likely he is to bark in that situation. If barking results in a positive result, your pet may continue to do it. It is very important to train your dog and show him that barking does not pay off. This can be done by rewarding your pet when he is quiet.
Make a chart of when your dog’s barking is a problem and focus on retraining behaviour during those times. This way you will be able to create good habits for the long run.
If you have chosen to train your dog through positive encouragement, make sure that you are consistent with your training methods. Consistency will help your pet understand what it takes to get what he wants.
Control their environment
You can reduce the chances of your dog barking if you spend some time looking for any outside factors that might be triggering the behaviour. For example, if your dog barks at mail carriers or neighbours, you can work on training your pet to control his emotions. When the mailman comes by, try making a game out of it by tapping your dog’s favourite toy when he is quiet. Another option is to teach your pet a “quiet” command and reward him when he does it correctly.
If you are leaving your dog alone for long periods of time, you can create a “happy place” or area in your house that is your dog’s alone. When he is in this area, he will have access to his toys and other things that make him happy.
Get rid of triggers completely
As mentioned above, sometimes you have to remove triggers from your dog’s environment in order to get rid of barking behaviour. For example, if your dog is barking at the mail carrier, you can put your dog in a separate room. If you live in an apartment or do not have many options for this process, you can simply wait until the mail man leaves and then resume your daily activities with your pet.
Removing triggers is not always possible. In these cases, try using a deterrent such as an ultrasonic device. These products work by emitting sound that cannot be heard by humans but are startling to dogs. This will hopefully have a good impact on your pet’s behaviour.
Make sure that your dog gets adequate exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. This way he will be less likely to get bored during the day and find something to do on his own, like barking.
Keep in mind that these solutions will not work for everyone. For some pet owners, it may not be worth the time or effort to retrain their dog’s behaviour. This is why you should choose your problem wisely and make sure that your dog cares enough about his environment to change his behaviour.
Type of Barking
If you want to control your dog’s barking, you should know the types of noises that he makes. Understanding these types of noises will help you understand why your pet is barking and how it can be fixed.
Alert Barking – Alert barking is when your dog barks to alert you that someone is approaching, like a mailman or a stranger in your yard. This type of barking can be very annoying and if left unchecked it can lead to more serious issues in the future such as territorial aggression or fear-based behaviour.
Playful Barking – Playful barking is when your dog barks to let you know that he is playing and looking for attention. You will hear this type of barking more often if your dog is playing with other dogs or people.
Dominant/Aggressive Barks – Dominant or aggressive barking is when your dog barks while standing on his hind legs or in an aggressive stance as a sign of dominance over another animal. Your dog might be trying to establish his pack status with you as well by doing something like this.
Fear/Anxiety-Based Behaviours – Fear-based behaviours are when your dog is triggered by something and begins barking out of fear. This type of behaviour can be very harmful to your dog if it is not controlled early on.
If you can determine the type of barking behaviour that your dog has, you may be able to solve the problem yourself without having to call in a professional trainer. Remember, you should never punish your dog for any types of barking as this will only make him anxious and afraid.
Sometimes you do not have to look too far into your dog’s past to find the cause of his barking. You can simply look around your house and see if there have been any recent changes that may be causing the issue. For example, if you recently got a new couch, dog bed or vacuum cleaner, it would not be unreasonable to assume that these things could be triggering your dog’s behaviour.
In addition to household items, you should also be aware of seasonal changes. For example, if your dog usually barks during the winter months when it is colder outside, he might start barking in the summer months when it is hotter or during a thunderstorm. Just like humans, dogs can get anxious and scared during these types of events and begin acting uncontrollably.
Lack of Exercise
A lack of exercise is one of the most popular reasons why dogs bark excessively. Dogs that lack proper exercise are often bored and need to expend their energy in some way. This is why the majority of dogs choose to bark instead of play or take long naps. It is no wonder that when you leave your dog alone for very long periods of time, he may resort to barking in order to occupy his time.
If you are noticing that your pet is barking more frequently than normal, it could be because he is too bored and needs more exercise. If this is the case, you may want to try getting him a more active toy or a puppy kindergarten to keep him busy and out of your hair.
If you recognize that your dog is barking because of a lack of exercise, you can always try taking him for a short walk during the day. As long as he gets some form of physical activity each day, he should not require frequent walks as long as his energy levels are being maintained.
Another common reason why dogs bark excessively is because of excessive overstimulation. A dog that has too many items to choose from, toys or chew items, can become bored and can start barking to express his frustration. In addition, if he cannot get the things that he wants when he wants them, it can lead to barking as a form of frustration.
When you notice that your dog is barking more frequently than normal, you can use a crate to keep him in at all times. By confining him to a place where he cannot find his favourite objects, he should not bark as much. If he is only confined to a crate, he will not have any reason to keep barking.
Crate training is one of the most effective ways to reduce excessive barking in your dog. Simply confining him to a crate for short periods of time during the day can help him stop barking.
When you notice that your dog is barking excessively, it is important that you separate him from other people and other animals for a few hours per day. By giving him time to be alone and spend time with himself, he will learn that his own company and being alone in general are good things rather than negative things.
A dog who barks excessively is a common problem, but it can be dealt with. By following the steps above, you can help your dog stop barking and be a happy companion. Dog barking is embarrassing to have around, and it can get dogs into trouble with neighbours or apartment managers. By taking the time to read this article, you will understand how to deal with your dog’s excessive barking and enjoy a well-behaved companion for many years to come.