Here are Some Tips for When Your dog Barks Too Much
Owners are often frustrated when a dog barks too much. Why do dogs bark? The answer is simple: dogs bark because they are telling you something, communicating with other dogs, or attempting to communicate with humans. When you don’t understand why your dog is barking, it is easy to feel irritating and just want them to “BE QUIET.” We get angry and yell at them and sometimes we resort to punishing them. Instead of behaving this way we need to take the time to understand what they are trying to tell us.
Like us, dogs have a language and barking is part of that language. With a little understanding and proper training we can solve the barking problem.
Barking can be classified as follows:
1. Excitement Barking
2. Warning Barking
3. Fear Barking
4. Guard Barking
5. Frustration Barking
6. Learned Barking
We have heard all 6 of these barks, but probably didn’t pay much attention to the differences.
Excitement barking is usually a series of high pitched barks and a lot of body movement. The warning bark is a quick low sounding bark. It sounds like the word “woof.” Fear barking is high pitched and like excitement barking it comes in a long series of barks. Unlike excitement barking which sounds happy, fear barking sounds like the dog is becoming hysterical.
Guard barking is easy to recognize. The dog will growl then bark. The barking may be one or two or even three times followed by another growl. We have all heard frustration barking. That’s the one that drives us crazy. It is the endless bark bark bark bark bark bark that seems to go on forever. And of course, learned barking is the bark that your dog does to get your attention. The dog will bark and then turn to look at you knowing that some type action will take place. Think of this, “a barking dog gets attention” and that is what most dogs want. The fact that we might be reprimanding the dog does not matter, as long as the dog is getting what it wants. Most of us have reinforced that behavior unknowingly.
Once you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can begin to control the behavior. The best way to prevent excessive barking in the first place is to try and remove any potential sources of the behavior. You also want to be certain not to encourage the barking. Finally, give your dog better things to do besides barking.
• Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so there is not as much pent-up energy to burn by barking.
• Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if possible.
• Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when she is barking for attention or out of anxiety – that would be rewarding the behavior or encouraging it.
• Shouting at your dog to stop barking does not help. It may actually cause the dog to bark even more.
• Avoid punishments like hitting the dog. This will not solve the problem and will only teach the dog to avoid you instead of not barking.
• Try to get the dogs attention with a clap or whistle. Once the dog is quiet, redirect their attention to something productive and rewarding – like a toy or treat.
• After getting your dog’s attention, practice basic commands, like sit and down in order to shift their focus.
• Don’t let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason. You cannot train her to stop barking by yelling at her across the yard. Plus, this is an easy way to cause frustration with neighbors also.
• Consult a trainer if you continue to face barking issues despite your best efforts.
So the next time you think a barking dog is aggressive, dominant, or is just being a pain in the neck don’t get angry, instead take a moment to listen.
At Highland Canine Training, LLC, we specialize in rehabilitating behavior problems and helping dog owners resolve problems with their dogs. If you need help or advice with barking or excessive vocalization, please feel free to call us at 866.200.2207 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer free in-home evaluations and offer affordable and effective solutions to all dog behavior problems. This article is the tenth in a series of information on Treating Dog Behavior Problems. Be sure to follow the links below to learn more about the topics in this series.
- Treating Dog Behavior Problems
- Why Dogs Bite and How to Control Dog Biting
- Is Your Dog Aggressive Toward People?
- Is Your Dog An Escape Artist?
- How to Stop Destructive Dog Behavior
- Dealing with the Disobedient Dog
- Understanding Problems Between Dogs
- Dog Housebreaking & Soiling in the House
- My Dog Barks Too Much