Are you a dog owner that just won’t stop barking? While dogs are undeniably cute, there’s no denying that constant barking can get annoying and even cause problems for the people around you.
So what should you do in this situation? Don’t worry. We at Feedfond are here to help you understand why exactly what makes dogs bark and what you can do to stop them.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Why Do Dogs Bark?
- How to Stop your Dog from Barking
- Final Thoughts
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking is one of the ways your dog communicates with you. This is why it’s extremely important that you can try to figure out why they’re barking before you do anything else.
Here are some of the main reasons your dog might be barking:
#1. To Protect their Territory
Dogs are very territorial creatures. Their territories don’t just stop at the end of your garden that you cover with a dog fence. Their territory might include the yard, your sofa, your car and anything you own.
Even the places your dog visits frequently, like the roads they walk on every day, may be considered part of their territory.
So, when any other human or animal encroaches on these territories, your dog might start barking.
You know how apprehensive you feel when new people walk onto your property? Well, it’s the same for your dog.
#2. Frustrated Barking
Sometimes dogs bark when they’re feeling powerless or frustrated. These feelings arise when your dog is restricted or tied up, or when they can’t reach something they want.
#3. Out of Fear
Dogs may seem like tough creatures, but the truth is, they get scared too. And since they have no other way to express their fear, they release it by barking.
You may notice that your dog barks when they are surprised by something like a sudden noise or even the sight of a bearded man. This is a stress response and is more frequent in dogs that haven’t been properly socialized.
Barking out of fear can be one of the most annoying and incessant types. It may be alarming to other people around you. But remember, it’s just your dog’s reaction to something that’s scared them.
We all know how dogs love company and they need to be entertained at all times. When you leave your dog alone for too long, they will get bored and start acting out.
Dog’s need to be mentally stimulated just as much as they need physical exercise. Remember, a bored dog is a sad dog. Since these creatures are proven great company during loneliness, you shouldn’t let them be when they’re all alone.
So, if your dog starts barking in a situation like this, it is probably their way of entertaining or soothing themselves.
Related Read: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Dog Away From Trash
#5. Out of Excitement
Dogs may bark as a way of greeting other animals or their owners. You’ll notice that this type of barking is a happy bark, with a lot of excitement, jumping around and tail wagging.
You may also notice that your dog barks a lot while playing. In fact, whenever your dog even anticipates something fun – like traveling, a car ride, a simple walk or when they see a pack of treats – they may start to bark.
This is just your dog telling you that they’re excited and ready to have a good time.
#6. Socially Facilitated Barking
You’ll often notice that when one dog in the neighborhood starts barking, there’s a domino effect. Within seconds all the dogs in the neighborhood will start howling and barking like there’s no tomorrow.
This is called socially facilitated barking. This happens because dogs are essentially packed animals. When they hear the sound of other dogs they can’t reach, it makes them feel isolated.
#7. To Seek Attention
Dogs don’t have any other way to communicate with you, except by barking.
So, when they want to grab your attention or if they want to go outside or get a treat, they’ll bark.
This is the same as when kids ask their parents for food or something they really want.
#8. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety barking is much worse than distressed barking. Your dog might also partake in destructive behavior and suffer from depression. This problem is also a lot more difficult to solve.
Separation anxiety is a very serious issue and should be addressed properly. Dog’s suffering from separation anxiety when they’re separated from their owners.
#9. Underlying Medical Problems
Sometimes barking isn’t just about feelings. If your dog is barking and whining more than usual, they might actually be in pain or some sort of discomfort.
So, before you take any steps to tackle barking, make sure you’re checking your dog’s paws for splinters or bee stings. You should also get a checkup from the vet to rule out more serious issues.
How to Stop your Dog from Barking
Now, that you know why dogs bark, it’s time to learn what you can do to stop it.
Here are some tried and tested methods that might help stop your dog from barking unnecessarily:
#1. Teach Dog to Speak and Quite
To stop your dog from barking, you’ll need to teach them the ‘quiet’ command.
Whenever your dog barks, say ‘quiet’ firmly and wait for your dog to stop. The moment the barking stops, even it if is a minor pause, praise your dog and give them a treat.
Remember not to reward your dog while they bark, even by it’s by mistake!
If you keep teaching your dog the quiet command, they’ll soon associate positive treatment with no barking.
You could also attempt to teach your dog to speak on command and after they learn this, work on the quiet command. The quiet command doesn’t have to be a vocal command, it can even be a signal like placing your finger on your lips.
This might actually work better because dogs catch onto body signs faster than oral commands.
#2. Tire Out your Dog
A dog with too much energy is more likely to bark. So, when you’re planning to keep your dog alone for a while, make sure to prepare accordingly. Before leaving, let your dog out to play or take them for a long walk to tire them out
Regular exercise and training sessions along with play time are recommended. These activities should be enough to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated.
You could also enroll your dog in a daycare center when you’re away or set up a treat dispensing toy with a webcam to keep them company while you’re at work.
#3. Remove Barking Triggers
If your dog tends to bark at people or neighborhood dogs, you should consider using sight barriers. Make sure there’s a fence around your yard that your dog can’t see through. Hedges are also a good way to block their view as well.
Covering windows with curtains or opaque films is also a good idea. There’s a certain type of window film that lets light in but doesn’t let you see outside that works well for this. You could even spray on a glass coating.
#4. Prevent Doorbell Barking
If you have a dog that goes crazy every time the doorbell rings, you can train them to react differently. First, you need to set a spot where you’ll ask your dog to go. This spot should be away from the door, but the door should still be in their line of vision.
Place some treats on the spot and say ‘go to spot’ pointing to the spot. Once your dog learns to do this properly, start opening the door when they go to the spot.
If your dog starts moving from their place, close the door. Keep practicing this until your dog learns to stay at their spot. You can then improve on this training by getting someone to ring the doorbell while your dog is sitting in their spot.
#5. Don’t Pay Attention to Barking
Dogs tend to bark to get your attention. So try to ignore your dog whenever they bark. Don’t reward your dog for barking, even when it’s the cutest welcome after a long day. Just wait until your dog stops barking before you show them, love.
The rule is the same for pretty much every time your dog barks. They might be barking for food, for water or to go outside. Make sure you never give in to their demands to feed them straight away. You can always teach your dog other ways to ask for what they want.
For example, train your dog to use a bell when they want to go outside. And if they do bark for something, wait until they quiet down before addressing the issue.
Even scolding your dog will be considered as attention, so it’s important that you refrain from acknowledging their barking in any way.
#6. Set up a Quiet Zone
Designate a corner or place in your house as the ‘quiet zone’. This could be your dog’s crate, which must be made as comfortable as possible. It could also just be a corner blocked off by baby gates or a specific room in your house.
The quiet zone should have a calm and soothing environment. You can place some of your dog’s favorite toys, beds and soft blankets there as well as things that will keep them happy and distracted.
When your dog barks at people, you could give your dog a time out in the quiet zone. This is not a punishment, just a way to re-adjust themselves.
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#7. Get your Dog Used to Barking Triggers
To stop your dog from barking, you need to identify the cause first. Observe your dog’s behavior closely and once you know what it is that’s causing the barking, you can put a plan into action. Say for example another dog is the trigger.
Start off by getting a friend to introduce the other dog from a distance, where they don’t cause your dog to bark. While this happens, give your dog a lot of praise and give them treats.
Then ask your friend to bring the dog nearer and continue with the praising and treating. Make your friend take the dog further away, and stop treating or praising your dog.
Alternate this step with bringing the other dog nearer and keep repeating the process. This will allow your dog to associate positive feelings towards the other dog.
#8. Technological Help
There are quite a few things you can buy to teach your dog not to bark. First on the list is the bark collar. These can be shock collars that are sensitive to sound and startle your dog with a harmless shock whenever they bark.
They can also be ultrasound correcting or water or citronella spraying collars, that work in the same way.
It doesn’t just stop there. Some collars on the market even give off pheromones that create a soothing environment for your dog. You could even consider investing in a white noise machine to help calm your dog.
Our personal favorite is the Thundershirt pressure wrap. This is essentially a jacket that wraps around your dog and applies light pressure, like a hug!
It makes your dog feel much calmer and safer and works great for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety.
#9. Professional Help
If your dog is barking a lot more than usual you should take them to a vet. The barking might be a sign of an underlying medical issue.
For issues like separation anxiety, the process is a bit more complicated. You’ll need the help of an animal behaviorist.
These professionals will help train your dog or might give them some medicine to help with adjustment.
Dogs bark because it’s in their nature. It’s how they express themselves. But if the barking is becoming a menace, rest assured that you can always train your dog to stop, or at least reduce their barking.
Just make sure that you don’t apply force or strict punishment like muzzles. This is cruel and it honestly won’t help.
Positive reinforcement with plenty of patience and love will go a long way to getting your dog to stop barking, and it will yield much better results. Good luck!
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