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Why Your Furry Dog Is Barking and How to Stop It

Why-Is-My-Dog-Barking-at-Nothing-Causes-and-Treatments

Extreme dog barking can be quite frustrating and create tension between family members (and even with your neighbors). Counting to the frustration is the fact that barking is a normal dog behavior — it’s one way they express themselves. Dogs bark more than wolves do, and it’s accepted that more periodic barking is a side effect of particular breeding during the domestication method of dogs.

  • Some breeds are predisposed to bark more additional as part of their conventional job, but this may not decode well to regular pet life. Your dog’s barking may also signify an underlying behavioral problem, making it important to manage the cause rather than just trying to get your dog not to bark. But don’t worry! If your dog is barking overly at what feels like any and everything, there are things you can do.

Why Dogs Bark

Dogs bark for various reasons, depending on what’s happening to close them and how they’re feeling. Attention barking is their way of telling you someone or something is coming or nearby. A dog may react with an alert bark when they hear another dog bark further away. Many dog breeds will alert with excited barking and baying when they detect a smell trail. Territorial barking is how dogs prevent others from entering the property or approaching their family. Territorial barking is quite common in guardian breeds.

  • Dogs bark during play and when they get enthusiastic, such as when you return home or when they’re having a playdate with their favorite friend. In some cases, a dog may bark out of excitement in the car when you reach the dog park.
  • Many dogs have learned to need bark, as it usually works to get concentration. Your dog may be demanding barking if they bark to get you to look, talk to, play with, or pet them. Some dogs even demand bark as part of appealing for food or out of boredom. Providing lots of mental enrichment and physical activity is important to help a dog calm and relax. 
  • Extreme barking can happen if a dog sorrows from separation anxiety or isolation distress. If your dog howls, and barks, when left alone, it’s important to work with a certified behavior advisor and your veterinarian. A dog with separation anxiety is undergoing a panic attack. They aren’t barking to make you angry — they cannot help themselves. A professional will help you create a plan to reduce your dog’s distress at being left alone. A veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist may recommend anti-anxiety medications in more extreme cases.
  • Dogs may also bark aggressively if they are fearful of specific things in their environment. If your dog barks too on leashed walks when they see other dogs or people, this can be a sign of leash reactivity or fear-based aggression.
  • It’s also important to make sure your dog isn’t barking or vocalizing due to pain or other health issues. Barking for seemingly no reason, or improved barking behavior that has grown recently can be related to canine mental decline or issues such as sight or hearing loss. If your dog’s extreme barking is a recent action, plan an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up. 

How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark Excessively

First, decide why your dog is barking. This will help you to address the underlying cause instead of just reacting to the barking when it happens. If barking is due to stress or fear, connect with an authorized skills trainer and your veterinarian to start treatment.

If your dog is barking due to boredom, think about what kind of mind enrichment you can add to their everyday routine. Ditch the food bowl and work their brains with a food puzzle for meals. 

  • If your dog is demanding to bark, you’ll also want to research mental enrichment and exercise throughout the day. Take note of what they are demanding, when they tend to demand bark, and how you react. Does their bark make you react in any way? This can include looking at them, touching or rubbing them, or talking to them — even if it’s with reprimands. All your dog learns is barking gets your concentration!
  • If you think your dog is about to demand a bark, be proactive and ask them for an option and proper behavior, such as a sit or a contact. Reward them with what they wanted in the first place, attention, or play. If you’re busy and can’t interact with them, redirect their awareness to a proper activity that they can enjoy on their own. Another option is teaching your dog that barking at you for attention has the opposite effect — it makes you go away. If your dog barks, turn your back, walk away, or leave the room entirely. Pair this with teaching them more polite ways of asking for your attention.
  • Alert barking is a bit tougher to teach a dog not to do, but it is possible. To stop your dog’s barking, consider closing the curtains to block their sight outside if they bark at passers-by. If they bark when they hear noises, turning on the tv, radio, or a white noise machine can help mask outside noise.

Teaching your dog that the cue “quiet” means stop barking is a perfect way to stop the barking after one or two woofs. When your dog is barking, say “quiet” in a happy tone and immediately place a treat in front of their nose. When they close their mouth to sniff the treat, praise and give them the treat. Over time, test their learning by saying “quiet” without showing the treat. If they close their mouth, praise, and reward. Work with a certified dog trainer if your dog has a bad barking habit. They can help strengthen a quiet cue and use counter-conditioning techniques to help with alert barking. 

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