When a dog barks endlessly, it is very annoying for you, your neighbors and believe it or not your dog. Dogs should not bark at inappropriate times like when visitors come to your door, the mail man passes your house, or at other dogs when out on a walk. This is called nuisance barking.
On the flip side, dogs bark and growl as a natural means of communication. You can’t expect a dog not to bark at certain times. It would be like asking a newborn baby not to sleep! What is important is to find out why your dog is barking. Since barking dogs is the number one complaint I receive from pet owners, I always get to the root of the issue first before I try and fix the behavior.
Dogs generally bark for the following reasons:
- Believe it or not, the main reason dogs bark is because they are afraid. He is trying to tell you he is stressed. He is looking to you to keep him safe. If he doesn’t perceive you as the “pack leader”, he will assume the role himself. That means he gets to set the rules and boundaries and is in charge and it is his job to protect you. If your dog feels secure, he doesn’t need to bark or be on patrol to protect you from strangers at the door. You have to let him know that “you got this.”
- Dogs are pack creatures and don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. A dog left alone continuously may develop separation anxiety, which is a whole different issue. Dogs with separation anxiety will not only bark, but can destroy things or start marking in the house. Is it because your dog misses you so much? He is probably barking because he is bored.
- Just like children who don’t want to share their toys, dogs are very protective and territorial of what they perceive as theirs. That could be as small as the food bowl or as large as your house and yard.
- I once met a dog who only barked at men. Why? Maybe he was abused by a man prior to his adoption. Or what about the dog who barks at the vacuum cleaner? Some dogs only bark at specific things or people.
- Dogs will often bark at other dogs as a means of saying hello.
- If your dog barks because he is hungry and you immediately get his dinner, you have taught him to bark to get what he wants. Wait a few minutes to fill his dish
There is no magic wand to teach your dog NOT to bark. However, with consistent training and patience, getting your dog to bark only when it is appropriate is very doable.
Here’s a few tips for overcoming excessive barking:
- Don’t shout at your dog … that will cause him to bark more. Speak calmly and firmly without yelling.
- Issue a command to your dog and if her quiets down, offer a lot of praise. Do not use the words “shut up” as he won’t understand this.
- Remember that a quiet dog is a calm dog. If he barks when you are away, try to wear him out before you go.
- The sooner you stop the barking the better before it becomes a bad habit that is ingrained.
Most of all don’t let the excessive barking continue because it will only get worse and could develop into aggression. If your dog starts barking when you come through the door, do not look him in the eye or pet him until he calms down. Call me – Greg Schneider at Greg Knows Dogs because I’d love to help you have a well-behaved dog!