Every dog barks. It’s in their nature and it would be rather unreasonable to expect your dog to never bark. It is their natural way of communication: to bark when they get excited, angry, nervous or aggressive or at things or people that they come into contact with. However, if your dog is barking too much and becoming a nuisance to you and others in the neighborhood, then you surely do have a problem. That’s why in today’s article, we will share a few tips on how to get the excessive barking under control while creating basic obedience rules for your dog:
Take Your Dog to the Vet
Similar to aggression problems, dogs may bark a lot due to pain or underlying physical conditions. Therefore, they might not respond to the removal of stimuli, quieting strategies, or obedience trainings. This is what makes it imperative to take your dog to the veterinarian to see if he/she may have an illness, which is causing the excessive barking. If your dog has never displayed signs of being aggressive or excessive in barking, it is imperative that you visit the vet immediately as this display can be a sign that your dog is very seriously ill.
Understand Why Your Dog is Barking
If pain or illness doesn’t seem to be the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, then perhaps it’s time you understand why your dog is barking. Remember that dogs do bark for several reasons which include barking because of inactivity, loneliness, and boredom, barking through fear, barking due to physical discomfort, attention seeking, or when hungry. Therefore, by having identified a reason, you will successfully be able to seek out a remedy that will nullify the cause and get the barking under control. To identify these different reasons can take several hours, days or weeks. However, the pay-off in the end is immeasurable to your peace of mind and to that of your neighbors.
Consider Obedience Training
If, after visiting the vet and working through all the other issues your dog may have, you are still unable to identify a reason for the barking, consider training your dog to respond to your commands. This is known as “obedience training” and involves stopping your dog from barking by demonstrating to them when to be quiet. For instance, when your dog is barking, consider saying words such as ‘stay quiet’ with a low tone of voice. You can use other words as commands as well. Some people find success using words spoken in another language. In doing this, it becomes a more predominant word or command to your dog. In doing training this way, your dog will develop an understanding and will be able to control his barking based on your commands.
Reward Your Dog When he Stops
Once your dog learns commands and stops barking, reward and appreciate them immediately for being such a good pet. It’s quite important that you do this instantly after they stop barking, so that they understand clearly what the reward is for. Not to mention, if you make each reward interesting and unique, they will wait for a reward each time and likely respond quicker to your training commands. However, never make the mistake of rewarding your dog, just to keep them quiet. This will only create bad habits and ultimately result into more barking.
Never Leave Your Dog Bored or Lonely
As mentioned earlier, barking is often a cry for attention when dogs are bored or lonely. Therefore, barking through boredom is a common trait among dogs, especially the working breeds. While it’s not always possible to be with your dog constantly, it is easy to ensure your dog never gets shorted of exercise. You can accomplish this by leaving a few toys (such as balls or chew ropes) every day when you leave. If you put aside a special basket with toys they only get when you are gone, it makes those toys more special. Have a few different ones that you can trade out every day. So maybe you have a big green ball one day and the next a smaller or larger ball of a different color. Same with a rope toy, try to have more than one so that you can switch and trade them out. They will likely never get bored with seemingly new toys every day. Do make certain that the ball/toy is appropriate for their size and will not cause any issues while you are not in attendance.
Dogs need plenty of exercise to keep their minds from going stagnant. That can also be a cause of boredom and barking. When deciding on the exercise your dog will receive, take into account the size of your dog, the breed they are and what they are bred for. Smaller lap dogs won’t need the same intense exercise that a larger breed will. Dog breeds that are more laid back and not necessarily in the working class breeds, will also need a more toned down exercise routine. Dogs who need to be working or have a job so they don’t get bored, will benefit greatly from an intense workout at least once a day. A good way to do this is buying a toy that holds the ball in a plastic handle and then you toss it out. It’s effective for the more active breeds as it forces them to run and grab the ball and bring it back. Not only does it work the body, it works the mind as well. And don’t forget daily walks with all breeds/sizes of dogs. It is not only great exercise for both of you but a good way to socialize and bond with your pet. For most dogs a walk is the highlight of their day!
Becoming familiar with the tips mentioned above, and putting them into action should make getting your dog’s barking under control. Which certainly will make life much happier for both you and your dog.