What To Do If You Have An Excessively Barking Dog
“My dog barks too much. What can I do?” Some dog owners are unrealistic and expect their dog never to bark. It is one of the ways that they communicate, so this is like expecting people not to talk. Excessive barking is a different matter, and this needs to be curtailed. The best way to stop your dog barking too much, is to understand why she is doing it.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
There are a few reasons why your dog will bark, and depending upon the situation this can mean different things. One of the main reasons that a dog will bark is to protect her territory. If another person or animal encroaches into what she believes is her territory, then she can bark too much. The closer that the animal or person gets, the louder the barking will be, and she may even become aggressive.
If your dog is lonely or bored then this can lead to barking. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and if your dog is left on their own for a long period of time they can become sad or fed up, and will just start barking because they are upset. Fear will make dogs bark too. If they are startled by a noise or alarmed by something that they see, then barking can be triggered.
When your dog wants something from you they may bark. This is a way of getting your attention, and this can mean that she wants to play a game, be given a treat or go out for a walk. Dogs can also bark as a way of greeting people or other animals. This is a pleasant bark, and she will probably be wagging her tail at the same time.
How To Stop A Dog From Barking Too Much
Teaching your dog not to bark excessively will take effort, time and a lot of patience. Consistency is very important as well, and you will need to practice often. Progress can be slow, but if you follow the right techniques then you will experience positive change.
Before you start any dog barking training, you need to understand that if you shout at your dog when she is barking excessively, this will probably encourage her to bark even more as she will think that you are joining in with her!
So be calm with her, and firm with your commands, but don’t shout. Your dog will probably not understand what you want her to do if you keep yelling “shut up”, so you need to teach her the word “quiet” instead.
If your dog starts to bark a lot then say “quiet” to her calmly and firmly. When she stops then give her a treat and praise her, even if this is just a pause for breath. Make sure that you never reward your dog while she is barking. She will eventually figure out that when she stops barking after the word “quiet”, she will receive a treat.
An alternative method to this you can train your dog to speak. Once she has learned this then you can give her the signal to stop barking such as “stop”, and then hold your fingers to your lips as you would with a child. This kind of body signal is often understood faster by dogs than verbal commands. You can practice this when she is calm, and given time she should stop barking even if she wants to.
You will get much better results from your training if your dog is tired. If you know that your dog will bark a lot when you leaver her alone, then take her for a long walk or play some energetic games before you have to leave her.
If your dog barks too much then do not leave it too long before you try and fix it. Excessive barking will become an ingrained behavior if you let it go on and on. Barking can be a pleasant experience for your dog, as it can provide them with an adrenaline rush. If you do not stop her barking excessively when someone comes to the front door, then this can become really aggressive and cause even more problems,
Pain can cause your dog to bark a lot, so have her checked out by a vet to makes sure that she has not been stung by a wasp or bee, or that she does not have some kind of brain disease. When dogs get older they can suffer from senility, which can cause excessive barking to occur.
Your Dog Is Lonely Or Bored
When you know the reason for your dog’s excessive barking you can use different techniques to work on this. If you know that your dog will bark continuously when left alone, you need to think about providing things that will stop her being bored and lonely.
Don’t keep your dog outdoors when you have to leave her. Barking dogs can seriously annoy the neighbors, and it can be dangerous for your dog. It is not uncommon for dogs to be poisoned by disgruntled neighbors, or she may even try to escape to go and look for you.
Leave her indoors with her favorite toys. Food dispensing toys that are a challenge can be fun and keep dogs amused for a long time. This will also provide additional security for your home. Hire a dog walker to take her out if you have to work all day, and there are dog sitting services available where somebody will sit with your dog and play with them.
Refrain from leaving your dog outside at night to bark her head off. Bring her indoors where she can quietly sleep. There is always dog day care if your budget allows for this, and this will get her used to being with other dogs too.
Territory Protection And Fear
If you limit what your dog can see then this will help reduce the instances of excessive barking due to fear and territorial issues. Use solid wood fencing for the yard so she cannot see everything outside. If she is inside, then draw the curtains or use opaque film on the windows and any transparent doors.
Greeting People And Barking
A lot of dogs will bark like crazy when you return home, or there is somebody else at the door. You will need to teach your dog to behave differently to prevent this problem. Train your dog to go to a place near the door and sit before you open it. Don’t let them too close to the door, but still let them see it. Practice this a lot, and giver her treats when she does what you want her to do.
Once she has got used to sitting in the same place near the door, you can start opening it while she is there. After a few repetitions of successfully doing this, get a member of the family to go to the door and ring the bell. She will want to move from her place at the beginning, but with some practice she will learn to stay seated in her place when the door is opened and people enter.
If your dog barks happily at you when you return home, then never give a reward for this. Don’t give any praise either, and resist the temptation to pat her on the head. Avoid any eye contact while she is still barking, and once she stops and calms down, praise her and give her some love.
Your Dog Wants Your Attention
When you do your dog barking training, you must always remember never to reward your dog when she barks. If your dog wants to go outside and starts barking, then never just open the door for her. If you do this she will associate barking with getting what she wants from you. Teach her to do something else instead. You could get her to just sit by the door and wait, or you could even tie a bell to the door handle and open the door when she rings it.
The same can be applied to wanting water or food in her bowl. If she barks when she wants these things then just ignore her. Train her to do something else other than barking, to let you know that one of her bowls is empty. You could teach her to tap the bowl with her nose, to make a noise telling you this. When she does this, immediately fill the bowl.
Compulsive Barking Or Separation Anxiety
There are some dog barking solutions for separation anxiety and compulsive barking, but these problems can be really difficult to deal with, and sometimes you will need the help of a specialist behaviourist trainer or veterinary behaviourist.
A professional dog trainer can also assist with this, and if you equip yourself with the right online dog training courses you will be able to tackle this problem yourself. The Doggy Dan Online Dog Trainer course is perfect for this, and you can find out more about this excellent course here.
Should You Use Dog Bark Collars For Dog Bark Training?
The dog training market is full of products that claim they can stop your dog from barking excessively, in no time at all. There are collars that you can buy, which will provide ultrasonic or audible corrections to your dog when they are wearing it and start barking. It has been proven that these collars do not work well for all types of dog.
Some of the dog barking collars have a citronella spray which can stop your dog barking. If your dog is smart, then she will quickly learn that these sprays run out pretty fast, and if she barks a lot it will happen faster. Once the spray has finished, she will be able to bark whenever she wants.
The use of shock collars to control barking is definitely not recommended. These can cause your dog a lot of harm, and even make your dog aggressive. If they are receiving shocks, then they may associate this pain with the person or animal that they are barking at and this can make your dog bark even more and even lunge angrily towards them.
There are other harmless gadgets that you can use to stop your dog barking in particular areas. An example of this is a barking activated water spray. When your dog barks, they will be sprayed with a jet of water to make them stop. There are also noise making machines that are activated by your dog barking. In this case an irritating noise will be sounded.
These devices can work well and will not harm your dog. It is better to use them when you are around, so that you can reward her for stopping the barking. It is all about reinforcement, and your dog will learn to associate stopping barking with pleasure.
Do Not Even Consider These Things To Stop Your Dog Barking
Don’t encourage any form of barking. Some dog owners think it is OK to encourage their dogs to bark at people as they are walking by, or when there is a sudden noise such as a door slamming shut. They will then discourage their dogs from barking in other situations. This is really not a good idea. Consistency is always the best policy.
Avoid any temptation to muzzle your dog to stop her from barking. This kind of constraint can really cause harm to your dog. She can get into trouble with it, and if you are not there to help then this can have serious consequences.
“Debarking” a dog is one of the most horrible things imaginable. It involves surgery where folds of tissue are removed from the dog’s larynx. It can even mean the removal of the dog’s voice box. Your dog will no longer be able to bark, and will make a strange rasping sound instead.
There is no attempt here to understand the root cause of the dog’s excessive barking. There are many known complications with this procedure, which includes difficulty with breathing and choking problems which can threaten a dog’s life. Continuous pain is another serious side effect. It is not a foolproof procedure either. There have been many examples where dogs have regained their ability to bark. If you really love your dog, you will have nothing to do with this.
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