My Dog Won’t Stop Barking. What Can I Do?

Stopping a Dog from Barking

Dogs use barking to communicate a number of emotions and needs, but excessive barking can indicate a behavior problem. If you feel like your dog barks too much, the first step is to determine the cause.

Here are a list of reasons dogs bark, and what you can do to decrease the amount of barking associated with them:

Territorialism

Whether it is a favorite toy, your home, or your yard, dogs are very territorial.

If another person or animal tries to enter what they consider their territory, it can trigger excessive barking. This type of bark gets louder as the intruder gets closer, and your dog may take an alert, and even aggressive, stance.

The best way to control territorial barking is to limit what your dog can see. Limit access to windows and doors, and cover windows with opaque curtains. Solid wood fencing outdoors will keep passersby out of sight, and barking to a minimum.

Fear

Fearful barking can be triggered by anything that scares or startles your dog. It can happen anywhere, not just at home.

It will take some trial and error to figure out what sets your dog off, such as loud noises, a person, or simply new situations.

If loud noises (such as fireworks) are the trigger, try to keep your dog indoors during times when loud noises are more prevalent. You can turn on a fan or a white noise machine to drown out the noise and keep them calm.

You can also desensitize your dog to whatever is frightening them. This may require professional help, so be sure to discuss options with your vet.

Loneliness/Boredom

Dogs are pack animals, and do not like to be left alone. If you are getting complaints from neighbors that your dog is barking excessively while you are at work all day, it could be that they feeling sad and lonely.

Be sure to leave plenty for your dog to do while you are gone. It will tire them out so they will nap. Try some food-dispensing toys, or a ball that moves itself.

It may also be a good idea to hire a dog-walker to take your dog out for an hour a day, or enroll them in doggy day care a couple days a week

Greeting or Attention

Does your dog like to greet you and your guests at the door with loud, excited barking and jumping?

To tame this behavior, you need to replace it with another. One way you to do this is to train your dog to go to a special spot when someone is at the door.

Pick a spot that is not too close to the door, but where it is visible. Start by just getting your dog to go to that spot and stay, without opening the door. Once they have that down, you can have someone come to the door and practice having them go to the designated spot. It will take some practice and patience, but eventually your pet will catch on.

It is important that you do not acknowledge your dog if they bark at you for attention. Do not pet them or even make eye contact until they have settled. Once they are quiet, you can reward them with lots of praise and petting. They will soon learn that barking is not the way to get your attention.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is not very common in dogs, but can happen very suddenly after a big change, such as a new house or schedule.

If your dog follows you around everywhere, and acts stressed when you are getting ready to leave, they are probably suffering from separation anxiety. Try not to leave them alone for long periods of time, if possible. Then talk to your vet about possible behavior modification therapies and medications.

Pet Wellness Exams in Frederick, MD

At times, extreme behavior such as excessive barking can be made worse by an underlying medical condition. Stay on top of your dog’s health with regular wellness exams at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital!

Our exams cover everything from eating to play time, and give you an opportunity to discuss any concerns. We want to make sure your pet remains happy and healthy. Schedule your appointment today!

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