Dogs bark, they do it for several reasons and you can’t expect your dog to not bark, it’s like expecting you to not speak, like at all! It’s natural for dogs to bark, however, it’s nuisance for their owners and even their neighbors, so how to make your dog stop barking? at least when it’s inconvenient to bark.
Why Is My Dog Barking?
A question rather common among most dog owners! Barking is the equivalent of talking for dogs; it’s a vocal communication that can be translated to different things depending on several factors.
Understanding why is your dog barking is the first step to stopping him from barking. There are many reasons that can make your dog bark, but according to the ASPCA, the most common ones include but not limited to:
- Territorial: this is usually a natural response or a reaction to other strangers whether it’s humans or animals (not necessarily dogs) trespassing or crossing an area your dog considers his own territory. A dogs’ territory can be anything from the backyard to your car, the path you usually take for walks, even the neighbors’ house if they don’t have a dog.
Basically, any place your dog spends much time in or associated with you. territorial barking is the second most common reason for dog barking and it usually starts low and normal then it gets louder and your dog gets more aggressive as the trespasser comes closer or refuses to leave.
- Protection: considered as the first reason for dog barking, this is usually mixed with territorial barking as they have so many common criteria. in this case, your dog will usually be barking at a stranger be it an animal or even a human, however, it doesn’t have to be on territorial grounds, it can happen whenever your dog feels threatened or thinks that someone is trying to hurt you.
In addition, protective barking is usually more aggressive and loud. Also, protective barking happens less frequently than territorial barking.
- Hyperattention: also called alarm barking. Some dogs have an attention issue and they bark at anything that catches their attention suddenly, it can be a cat, a squirrel, a passing car, a noise, or whatever it is. This usually happens with younger dogs who are, unlike senior dogs, less used to things around them.
- Attention: this is also a rather common reason for your dog to bark. If you have an attention seeker, he’ll most likely be barking a lot to grab your attention or another animal’s attention. Your dog is usually expecting a reward of some kind after this. This is a behavior issue that can be easily fixed with good training.
- Boredom: just like their wolf ancestors, dogs are pack animals who like the company. If your dog is alone most of the day or locked in an apartment, expect a lot of barking as your dog is likely to be bored.
- Anxiety: yes, dogs get anxious too. Separation anxiety is the most common form of dog anxiety and can make your dog bark a lot. other symptoms that accompany anxiety are destructiveness and pacing. Another type of dog barking is called compulsive barking where your dog will usually bark excessively for no obvious reason other than to hear his own voice.
- Social Barking: this type of barking usually happens in neighborhoods where your dog will bark when hearing other dogs bark, even from far away. Think of it as a playfully long-range conversation.
- Illness: YES, injury or internal illness can cause excessive and annoying barking for dogs. If you can’t quietly point out why your dog is barking a lot, take him to the vet for a check-up.
How To Make a Dog Stop Barking?
Stopping your dog from barking is not an easy task. In most cases, it’s a behavior that needs correcting. It will take you some time until you’ll get it done and you will need to follow a set of tips to go through doing so. these tricks and tips will help you put an end to your dog’s annoying non-stop barking, or at least control it, hopefully.
- Take your dog to the vet, especially if you don’t take your dog on a regular basis, which you should do by the way. This will roll out any possibility for a medical concern.
- Find out why your dog is barking by comparing the previously mentioned reasons with your dog’s mental and physical state. take into consideration his physical activity, where he usually goes if he is an outdoor dog, other animals in the household or nearby neighbors…etc. This can help you decide on how to proceed to the other steps to fix excessive dog barking.
- Try to walk your dog longer and more frequently. This will allow him to have more playtime and let him relax a little more, especially if you’re the kind of person who gets caught up with life all day long.
- Let your dog around people. A dog who had time to experience different people (people in wheelchairs, cars, bikes, runners, workers…etc.) will most likely feel safe around them again and will less likely bark at them.
- Buy your dog toys and puzzles to keep him occupied. Dogs think and get bored too, so what’s better to kill boredom than a fun puzzle dog game?
- If you’re the type of person that leaves for most of the day leaving their dog alone in an apartment, try to leave the tv or the radio on, preferably on a channel that you watch a lot, this will give your dog a sense of familiarity.
- Close the curtains in rooms you don’t need to prevent your dog from looking at people or cars passing by, at least until he’s familiar with them (tip 3 will help).
- Don’t forget the teach your dog to be calm! yes, many dogs aren’t properly trained and they don’t know the quite command. According to the AKC, you need to use a calm firm voice to teach your dog the “quiet command” and positively reward good behavior with treats or belly rubs and this will stop a dog from barking.
- Do not shout at your dog when he is barking, it will only stimulate him to bark even more!
- Never yell “shut up” at your dog and never use different commands. A good way to stop a dog from barking is by using the same command which is “Quite”, this way your dog will always be familiar with the command and won’t get confused.
- A barking dog is an energetic dog. if your dog barks a lot he might be a hyperactive dog that needs more physical activities. You can sign him up for some dog exercises or leave him at a dog walker during work and you will find him quieter when you get back.
- Poor hygiene can make your dog bark a lot. Ticks and Fleas might be too annoying for your dog. Check out the complete guidelines about how to remove ticks and fleas from home.
- Teach your dog a calmer greeting than a barking frenzy.
- Spend more time with your dog outside, rub him over, and get touchy with him to let him know he is okay and he doesn’t need to be afraid.
- Never reward your dog for barking. If your dog barks when he needs water or food, don’t give him that until he responds to the quite command, otherwise, you will be rewarding the negative behavior.
- Never use muzzles or other products to stop a dog from barking, they can hurt your dog!
Keep in mind that barking is a usual thing and that all dogs barks, what’s unusual is excessive barking. It’s a behavior that can be corrected following a set of tricks and tips, however, never punish your dog for barking, it will only make him confused, instead reward him when he gets quiet, even with something as simple as a belly rub!
In case you couldn’t make a dog stop barking, you can ask for the help of a professional dog trainer or a vet behaviorist.
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