Dogs are the most popular and beloved household pets across the world. Their unconditional love for humans and loyalty raise them to such high levels. People who have dogs as pets are incredibly lucky to have a loyal companion.
However, different problems can arise when living with dogs, mainly because of their high energy and excitement levels. One of these problems is a continuous dog barking, which can be annoying to the people who live around the dog.
Instead of shipping the dog off or unfairly punishing it, there are better ways to deal with this behavior.
Understand Why Dogs Bark
Firstly, acknowledge that asking dogs not to bark is similar to asking toddlers not to explore. That is to say; it is futile and unfair to the dog. It will occasionally cry, especially if it gets exciting.
However, sometimes, the barking behavior can be excessive. To control the barking behavior, you first need to understand why it occurs.
Although dogs are incredibly brave, they are not immune to being afraid of something or someone.
It is possible that your dog is scared of something and is barking in response to it. This can occur both in your home and outdoors, especially in unfamiliar settings.
If your dog has been put in a situation it has not faced before; it might react to some new stimulus in the environment.
Sometimes, dogs get startled due to unfamiliar objects or people and other animals creeping upon them.
Another similar reason is to protect their territory. Dogs can be pretty territorial and even possessive.
If they sense a threat to the area they consider theirs, they can bark loudly and for long periods until the risk, which could be people or animals, is removed. It is not uncommon for dogs to appear irritated and threatened when this happens.
Sometimes, all a dog needs are some loving. If you have not been paying attention because of your busy schedule, maybe that’s why your dog is barking so much.
It can bark more than usual if it is lonely or wants to play, go for a walk, or even ask for a treat.
Dogs can also become anxious after being separated from their owners or family. Symptoms like chasing their tails, running around in circles, and excessive pacing suggest that the dog might be going through a tough time.
If your dogs are lonely and depressed, they likely bark so that they may hear their voice to feel better.
One possible reason is pain. If you can’t find a reason behind your dog’s increased barking, check for injuries, especially if you have let it out on its own for long periods or if your dog is prone to get hurt.
A light examination of its body might reveal any bruised or wounded spots. We suggest a visit to the veterinarian might be in order, especially if the issue is regarding ear or mouth infection or injury.
6. Old Age
As much as we might hate it, like all other creatures, dog’s age. This can mean several things.
For instance, dogs can often face deafness in old age, which leads to them barking and creating more noise, and they won’t even know that they have been barking so loud.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s are unfortunately not limited to humans but also occur in dogs, which is one of the reasons why they might bark.
What Not to Do
Before we delve into a list of things that you should try out if your dog is exhibiting excessive barking behaviors, we need first to clarify some things no dog owner should do to curb these behaviors.
When you think of dogs barking too much, especially after the reasons listed above, think of them as children. It never does well to scream at children about what they are doing wrong.
It might create self-esteem issues, depression, and rebellion in them, which only adds to the problem of barking.
- Never physically abuse your dogs or use collars that electrocute them for barking.
- Remember that there is a difference between disciplining your dogs and abusing them.
- It is painful and can cause your dog to be distrustful of you.
- If you use those collars, they might even figure out ways to evade them.
- Don’t try the surgical method known as “debarking.”
- This surgery involves operating on and removing almost all of the vocal cords.
- Most people and veterinarians consider this animal abuse unnecessary, and dogs can’t give consent.
- The surgical removal results in the dog only being able to produce a small amount of noise.
- It does not solve the problems that provoke barking behavior such as fear, loneliness, or anxiety.
- It only cancels out the noise associated with it.
- Try to discourage your dog from barking continuously in the outdoors.
Otherwise, this can lead to the neighbors becoming annoyed and filing a complaint against you and your dog, leading to inquiries regarding how safe the dog is, especially if the area has children.
Letting the behavior go on too long also results in more problems, mainly as the dog gets used to behaving whichever way it pleases.
How to Control Your Dog’s Barking
Your dog’s peace of mind also means your peace of mind. There are many ways to help your dog. Here is a brief but effective list to help you.
1. Keep Your Cool
Like most things in life, it takes time and patience to accomplish the task of training your dog to stop barking.
It won’t do it; instead of figuring out a way to help the poor animal, you take your frustrations out on it. If you become angry, your dog will likely imitate your behavior and become angry or frustrated.
2. Visit a Professional
The first thing you ought to do is visit somebody who knows what they are doing.
Vets can check out your dog for signs of bruises or wounds and determine if the dog is in pain or if it has suffered some sort of physical abuse. They can also identify if your dog is suffering from some disease, especially if it is painful.
Professionals trained to examine a dog’s psychological behavior may also provide insight into the best mode of operation.
3. Teach It to Be Quiet
There are many ways to train your dog to understand what quiet means. From YouTubers to professionals, you can find many ways to train them, especially when yelling isn’t recommended.
For instance, you can use a reward system. Ask your dog to be quiet when it barks, and if it complies, offer a treat and some wholehearted praise. Keep repeating this, and you will have it conditioned in no time.
4. Tire It Out
Built-up energy can cause dogs to crave stimulation. If you haven’t been taking it out on a walk or allowing it to be stimulated both physically and mentally, the chances are that it is taking it out on you by barking excessively.
Take it out on a walk or run, which will benefit you too. Play with your dog and let it engage in different activities.
Many games are meant for dogs, but even if you don’t have them, a simple game of fetch now and then might work wonders. If your furry buddy gets tired, it will most likely become quiet.
5. Ignore the Dog
It seems contrary, but sometimes, it is better to do nothing. If your dog seeks undue attention, you can always ignore it while it barks.
It will most likely stop when you don’t engage with it at all. Make sure you offer treats or some other reward when it stops.
Sooner or later, the dog will learn that not barking results in rewards and adopts that behavior.
6. Deal with the Stimulus
Some sort of stimulus is at play here. You can completely remove the stimulus if it is a threatening animal or an abusive person.
In the case of non-harmful entities, get your dog used to the stimulus. If you apply the principles of classical conditioning, you can get away with it.
Every day, feed your dog treats when it comes into contact with that stimulus. Don’t go to your pet directly. Do this from a distance and proceed to move closer and closer with time.
There is no need to give treats in the absence of the stimulus because you are trying to create an association between rewards and the stimulus.
It can be hard to train dogs, but with time and patience, everything is possible. Continue loving them and putting time and effort into them. They will come around.