Dogs bark for many different reasons: to defend their territory, get attention, say hi, let you know if they are uncomfortable or frustrated, just to name a few. Experts suggest that if you want to get a dog to stop barking, you must first understand why he is barking. There is usually no quick fix for excessive barking. The solutions to controlling dog barking involve training, behavior modification and environmental changes.
Dogs bark in order to communicate with you. People usually appreciate their dog barking when he or she is letting them know someone is at the door, or when he needs something like a bathroom break. However, some dogs just don’t know when to be quiet, barking excessively or at inappropriate times.
Before attempting to address a barking problem, it is critical to determine why the dog is barking in the first place. In some cases, barking should be considered appropriate. However, if your dog is using barking just to get attention, this can become a problem. Some dogs use barking to demand food, to get you to play with them or take them on a walk. For this reason, training a dog to be quiet on command can be a valuable tool.
It is important to note that certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to excessive barking. Before bringing a new dog into your household, research the breed to determine how much effort it is going to take to make the dog curb his barking.
Types of Barking
- With territorial barking, dogs bark excessively at people or at other dogs when they approach what they view to be their territory. Your dog consider his territory to be the area around your house and anywhere that your dog associates with you, like your car.
- With alarm barking, a dog barks at every noise, regardless of where it is coming from.
- With attention-seeking barking, dogs bark at their owner to gain attention or get rewarded with food, play or toys.
- Greeting barking involves the dog barking out of excitement when they see people or other dogs.
- Compulsive barking is when a dog barks excessively and repeatedly. With the barking, the dogs may move around a lot, running back and forth or pacing.
- Social barking happens when the dog hears other dogs barking and decides to bark back.
- Frustration-induced barking happens when a dog is in a frustrating situation, such as when their movement or activity is limited.
- Dogs who are ill or injured may bark if they are in pain.
- Dogs with separation anxiety may bark excessively when they are left by themselves. They may also pace a lot, be destructive, eliminate where they shouldn’t or simply be depressed.
Before trying to modify your dog’s behavior, you should first rule out any medical reasons that may be causing your dog to bark too much. After you have determined that your dog is in good health, here is some expert advice from Vetstreet veterinarians on how to treat excessive barking.
- To manage alarm or territorial barking, it may help to block the dog’s view of areas that they are trying to guard, such as the windows. Dog owners shouldn’t let their dogs greet people at the front door, gate or property line. The dog should be trained to go to another location, such as a crate or mat, and wait until you have called them over to greet your visitor.
- If your dog is barking to seek your attention, it is up to the owner to never reward the dog for barking. Many dog owners respond to this type of barking by touching, scolding or talking to their dog when they bark, which gives the dog what it wants-attention. Instead, the dog owner should turn away from the dog, leave the room or stare at the ceiling. After the dog has stopped barking, the dog should be asked to sit, and then the dog can be rewarded with attention or treats.
- If your dog barks to go outside, installing a doggie door may help solve the problem. If the dog is barking because she wants to play, teach her to bring a toy over instead.
- If your dog barks to greet people, try and keep greetings calm and low-key. Your dog should be taught to sit and stay when they meet people at the door.
- If your dog is barking when he is left alone, it may be helpful to increase their exercise and mental interaction while you are at home with them. If this doesn’t help, you may need to seek guidance from a veterinary behaviorist.
About Anti-Bark Collars
There are several different types of anti-bark collars on the market. Some work with a spray of citronella, some with an ultrasonic tone, or more commonly with a static shock. You may find that an anti-bark collar works exceptionally well to manage a dog’s excessive barking. Whether you think a bark collar is the right solution for your dog is a matter of personal opinion. If you are concerned about your dog’s safety, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian for their professional recommendation.