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Bark Bark Bark! Why Your Dog Barks and How To Fix It

Posted by Hot Dog Collars on 12/05/16 11:38 AM

why dogs bark Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate their emotions. While it's something to be expected, excessive barking can be troublesome for pet owners and annoying for neighbors. To manage your pet's barking issue, it helps to understand why canines bark to get to the root of the behavioral problem.

Common Reasons Why Dogs Bark

Dogs use various types of vocal communication, including howling, grunting, whining, and barking. Younger pups tend to make loud crying noises, especially when they feel upset. Some breeds are more inclined to bark easily due to the way they have been bred and trained as watchdogs or herding dogs.

Dogs bark in response to a variety of situations. Here are the most common reasons associated with barking in dogs.

Protective of a territory: An unwelcome individual, whether a person or animal, that enters a dog's personal territory may cause the canine to bark in an agitated manner. The barking gets more intense as the perceived threat draws nearer. Dogs may get aggressive as their defensive instinct kicks in.

Alerted to danger: Dogs are generally encouraged by most pet owners to bark loudly if they sense some form of danger. Some dogs bark a lot when they get startled due to sudden noise or movement, and their barking gets into a rapid pace as the source of danger approaches. When dogs transition from warning barks to aggressive barks, their barking lowers in pitch and combines with growling.

Annoyed when not given a coveted object: When you're eating a delicious hamburger and your dog keeps barking at you, it's very likely that your rambunctious pet wants the same food you're enjoying by yourself. Besides food, dogs may bark excessively when they do not obtain certain things at home or anywhere else, especially objects that they want to bite and chew.

In want of your attention: Dogs will bark to grab your attention, particularly when they want to go outside, play with you, or have a treat.

Playful and excited: Barking that involves tail wagging and a bit of jumping indicates happiness and excitement, like when greeting other people or dogs. A happy bark is typically short and sharp.

Responsive to other dogs: You may have observed that your dog tends to bark abruptly in response to the barking of other dogs. Your pet behaves this way in order to let the other dogs know of his presence.

is my dog bored Bored: When you leave your dog at home for hours without letting him play, he may get bored and start barking. Dogs require stimulating activities to release pent-up energy.

Lonely and anxious: Dogs love to stay close to their owners, which is why they may bark excessively when separated from their owners for long periods. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety do not like being left alone, and they show symptoms such as depression, aggressiveness, and improper elimination.

Compulsive behavior: Some dogs are compulsive barkers, which means they actually like to hear how they sound like. They typically also like to run in circles and do other repetitive actions.

How to Stop Excessive Barking

Controlling your dog's barking behavior doesn't happen overnight. You need much patience and perseverance to train your pet to bark lesser and lesser by the day. Also, you may find it tougher to manage excessive barking if your dog is predisposed to the behavioral problem due to his particular breed. Common dog breeds that are prone to barking include beagles, fox terriers, cairn terriers, Yorkshire terriers, and West Highland white terriers.

When training your dog to minimize barking, remember to talk in a calm yet resolved manner. Avoid yelling or scolding your pet, as this still comes across as encouragement for your dog to keep on barking. Be consistent when instructing your dog not to bark at certain noises, movements, and situations. Also, go with positive reinforcement which rewards good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.

Follow these steps to promote an obedient behavior and reduce barking.

Use word commands.

While your dog barks, say "quiet" calmly and firmly. Always use the same tone when saying this command. Wait for him to stop barking; the moment he stops -- take note, NOT while he barks -- praise him immediately and offer a nice treat.

dog training Repeat this method until your dog understands that he receives a delectable treat when he stops barking after hearing you say "quiet." Over time, offer verbal rewards in place of food treats. You may pat your dog's head, scratch his belly, or tell him he's a "good dog" to give him an incentive to follow your command.

Train your dog to stay in a corner.

Teach your dog to stay in a particular spot, ideally an area where he can see the door but not get too close to it, if he likes to bark excitedly whenever you come home or a visitor stops by. Make sure to avoid petting your dog, making eye contact, or offering any kind of reward until he sits quietly.

Like teaching word commands, use delicious treats and positive praises to encourage obedience. Ask help from a family member or friend who will act as a visitor and help you with your training sessions.

Limit what your dog sees.

If your dog usually barks from being protective of territory or being alerted to danger, such as catching sight of a passerby or spotting the mail carrier, try to prevent him from seeing people who come to your home. Replace chain fencing with solid wood and install a frosted window film to ensure your dog doesn't get startled by passersbys.

Provide entertainment and companionship while you're gone.

Make sure your dog is entertained enough while you're out for hours, especially if your dog gets easily bored or experiences separation anxiety. Provide fun activities and interesting toys, such as food-dispensing toys. You may want to hire a trusted pet sitter who can be a fun and reliable companion for your dog.

Alternatively, ask a friend to play with your dog or walk him to the park for one hour when you're running errands or at work. Moreover, explore options such as using video chat technology that allows pet owners to communicate with their pets while they're in the office and on the go.

Do not give in to attention-seeking behavior.

When you do what your dog wants every time he barks, he will consider barking as an effective means to get your attention. Instead of caving into his demands, find other ways to make communication between the two of you easier. For example, if he barks at the door whenever he wants to go outside, tie a bell to the door handle, teach him to ring it, and only allow him to go out when he rings the bell.

Expose your dog regularly to certain sounds.

To handle startled barking, record the sound that usually makes your dog agitated and triggers barking, and play it back in low volumes to help your dog feel relaxed while listening to it. Give him a reward when he stays quiet. Play the sound more loudly as time goes by until your dog gets accustomed to the sound.

If you've tried everything else and you've exhausted numerous options without getting significant results, it's a good idea to seek help from a certified animal behaviorist, veterinarian, or professional animal trainer. Compulsive barkers and dogs with separation anxiety, in particular, may need the most help from qualified professionals.