Every dog barks from time to time, barking is a form of communication that your dog uses to tell you many things, like hunger or fear. But sometimes some dogs will bark excessively and this becomes a problem when you can’t find peace at your own house. What you must do depends on what your dog needs.
Why Do Dogs Usually Bark?
Like we’ve said before, barking is a form of vocal communication that dogs use to communicate a variety of situations, it usually depends on the situation, so first, you have to pay attention to the situation or the thing your dog is barking at.
To give you an idea of what your dog might be saying, here are some of the most common reasons for barking:
Fear is a common emotion in most animals, so if your dog feels threatened or feels under attack, then you will hear some barking. This can happen anywhere, in the park, in your yard, and even inside your house. Pay attention if your dog barks after hearing a noise or seeing someone unknown, this can mean your dog is afraid and feels defensive.
There is a difference when your dog barks from fear and when it barks from territory. This happens when someone, (a friend, a family member, or another dog) enters your dog’s territory. The barking will get louder when your dog’s perceived threat gets closer and closer to them.
In this type of barking, your dog will look more aggressive and hostile, and if your dog gets angry enough it might bite you or the threat, so be careful.
Dogs are social animals, so if they feel unattended, alone or ignored for a long period of time, they will surely bark. This is a way for them to express their sadness or boredom. Pay attention if your dog’s excessive barking happens after being left alone for long periods of time.
The Need To Play
Another type of barking is when they are playing or seeing someone after a long time. Your dog can become very jumpy, move the tail and lick you. This can sometimes become a problem if your dog constantly wants to play, so pay attention if this is your case.
Yes, dogs can have separation anxiety, and it’s a very real feeling for them. This happens when they are left alone on the house and don’t stop barking. This type of barking is different because it is often accompanied by other symptoms like pacing and depression.
They feel very anxious, so they bark loud, run around in circles around the fence or the door, it may become a problem with your neighbours. So pay attention if a neighbour says that your dog doesn’t stop barking once you leave the house.
How Do You Get A Dog To Stop Barking?
Once you have identified the main reason why you think your dog is barking excessively, you can tackle the issue properly. If you are consistent, you will definitively see the results.
This is a task that requires you to have a lot of patience, and consistency. Your dog won’t stop barking in a matter of days, there is no secret to get results in a few days. You will need a lot of time and work on your work, but if you take the time you will be helping your dog unleash his potential and control his emotions.
Here are some tips you need to know before you try anything:
- Don’t yell. If you yell at your dog, he will think you are copying him, and he will reinforce that behaviour. Be clear and don’t yell.
- Train your dog to understand the “Quiet” command. That way, if he’s barking excessively and you say “Quiet!”, he will understand that and calm down.
- Tackle the issue as soon as possible. As soon as you realize there is a barking problem, figure out why and then work on it quickly. The longer you take to solve this issue, the more rooted it will become in your dog’s brain. Never allow barking at certain situations, especially if it’s about other people, because your dog could become aggressive and attack.
- Check the vet. An external factor can cause excessive barking, like an illness or an ongoing pain, especially if you have an old dog. Go to a veterinarian to rule out any possible disease.
- Go outside and play! Remember that dogs love nature and going outside, so take a walk to help your dog release all the energy and become happier.
Train Your Dog To Be Quiet
When he starts excessive barking, just say “Quiet” and wait for him to be quiet to praise him, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Be sure he isn’t barking when you give him the treat, as you will be having the opposite effect. Use a very delicious treat to encourage your dog.
Every time he barks at something or at a situation, use the “Quiet” command with a firm voice, and reward him for obedience, never reward him if he’s still barking, just ignore him until he stops and then you can reward him. You can also bring a finger in front of your mouth when you say “Quiet”, because dogs can understand better when you use body language.
After several attempts of correctly rewarding your dog with the “Quiet” command, you will start seeing positive results. This technique is also good because it teaches your dog obedience and it also teaches him to control his first impulses.
Specific Tricks For Every Situation
If Your Dog Is Scared Or Aggressive
This kind of barking is motivated after the dog sees a perceived threat to their territory, so a good way for you to eradicate this is to limit what your dog can see. Limit the access to windows, use bigger fences, limit access to the doors.
If your dog is barking to a friend or a family member, let him know that this person isn’t a threat. Allow your dog to become comfortable with this person, and allow the person to give him a treat to let the dog know that he is no danger.
If Your Dog Feels Lonely
If your dog can’t find peace when you are gone, then you need to take action and help your dog cope with your absence. You can buy him toys for him to play and chew while you are not at home. It’s also recommended leaving your dog inside the house to avoid any problems with your neighbours and the loud barking.
Inside the house, they still might be restless. Consider paying someone to walk your dog for an hour while you are gone and see if you have any results. Another option is to take your dog to dog daycare for a few days to see if it has a positive effect on him.
If your dog sleeps outside and barks all night long, then it’s better if you bring him back to the house. Dogs can easily accommodate inside a house after a few days. Remember to train your dog to use the bathroom outside the house, and while you train him, he will feel attended and less lonely.
But if this a case of severe anxiety and depression, then go to the veterinarian and see what they have to say about it. Sometimes dogs need medications to help them cope with anxiety, but it’s always good to check with your veterinarian first.
If Your Dog Is Playful
When you have a playful dog that is always happy, moves the tail and barks when you enter the house, but doesn’t stop immediately then you have a problem. One way to act on this problem is to use the “Quiet” command while entering the house and reward him for staying quiet.
One thing to avoid is to fall into his greeting. Don’t acknowledge him when he begins excessive barking, just ignore him and don’t look at him in the eyes until he calms down, if he doesn’t calm down just pretend he isn’t there until he calms and then reward him.
Should I Use A Bark Collar?
This really depends on the dog. Some collars have ultrasonic corrections that could work in some dogs. Other collars spray citronella, and they are effective on some dogs, but sometimes they will bark at them and become aggressive at the collar. Shock collars will only cause pain to your pet and it will likely make it more aggressive than ever, so we wouldn’t recommend it.
Some other products are bark-activated water sprayers hat shoot water at a dog when it starts barking loud, it’s good to let your dog know that barking is an undesired trait without much harm.
Things You Should Never Do
You should never be inconsistent with what you are teaching to your dog. Don’t praise him for barking at certain sounds and discourage him to bark at others, you will only confuse your dog and will make him anxious.
You should never completely forbid a dog to bark, remember that it’s natural, what you should discourage is excessive barking, not regular barking, so let your dog bark in peace.
And never submit your dog under any kind of surgical procedure to stop his barking. This is unethical and it won’t address the real cause of the barking.
Just be patient and try to understand your dog. Keep in mind that he can’t communicate with words what he’s felling, so he will communicate in one of the few ways he knows, barking. Know your dog, know what he wants and needs and then begin a journey together to help him control his emotions and impulses.