Dogs will always be dogs so don’t be surprised if your pooch barks, whines, and howls sometimes. It is completely normal since it’s their unique way of communicating and of expressing themselves. Most of the time, however, we want our pooches to bark when they need to warn us about possible dangers. Nevertheless, too much dog barking can be considered a canine behavioral problem. As a matter of fact, the nuisance your dog may be causing is punishable by law.
What’s Wrong With Fido?
Dogs bark for countless reasons. They don’t make noise only out of spite, to annoy you, or to disturb your neighbors. Dogs generally bark to indicate warning or alert if they sense some sort of threat. They also bark sometimes because they’re anxious, excited, or bored. While some make a noise to get attention, others bark to respond to other dogs. Understanding what exactly are the reasons why your dog is barking relentlessly will help you deal with his behavior problem properly.
How to Keep your Dog from Barking Excessively
As soon as you determine the reason why your pooch is barking excessively, you can start controlling his behavior by initially removing any potential sources of his acting up. Try to avoid encouraging the barking inadvertently, and provide your dog with better things to get busy with besides woofing persistently.
1. Burn off your dog’s pent up energy by giving him sufficient amount of physical and mental stimulation.
2. Never leave your pooch alone for too long.
3. Do not comfort your dog when he is barking out of anxiety or to seek attention. Hugging and petting him will only reward his misbehavior; thus, reinforce it.
4. Never shout at your dog to make him stop from barking. This will not help. In fact, it will only cause him to become even noisier – you can’t correct a barking dog by barking back at him!
5. Punishing your dog will not be helpful so never resort to the use of shock collars. Not only that it is unkind and unhelpful- most dogs eventually learn to work around these devices.
6. Try getting Fido’s attention with a whistle or clap. The moment he quiets down, immediately redirect his attention to things that are more rewarding such as treats or toys. Practicing some basic commands such as “sit” and “down” will also help divert his focus.
7. Regardless of the reason, never let your pooch bark incessantly outside. It will be the fastest way to transform your neighbors into fierce enemies- compelling them to call your local authorities.
8. Train Fido how to “speak” and be “quiet”, and talk to your vet or animal behaviorist if your dog’s barking issues continue.
You can also use your dog’s barking as a training opportunity. The moment he barks, firmly give the “speak!” command and offer him a treat. It will take some time and consistency, but your dog will eventually learn only to “speak” when you tell him to, rather than at his own free will.
Also, remember to reward your dog when his barking is for a legitimate reason. After all, you still want him to feel comfortable alerting you to any potential dangers.