5 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Barking and How to Stop Them

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Dogs, man’s best vocal friend. It isn’t reasonable to think that your dog will never bark. It is their way of speaking. However, when dog barking becomes excessive, it can be a very annoying problem. In order to put an end to excessive barking, you need to know why your dog is barking so much. When you understand the cause, you can begin to work on teaching your dog not to bark so much.

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Teaching your dog not to bark as much takes time, a lot of practice, and consistency. Be patient with your dog, and eventually, you will start to notice a difference. There area couple of things to keep in mind when you start training your dog to bark less. One, shouting at your dog will only get him more excited. You need to speak in a calm, firm voice to your dog. Two, most dogs can only understand single word instructions. Scolding him to “shut up” or “be quiet” doesn’t let him know what you want. Teach your dog to recognize the word “quiet” and what that means.

What Causes Excessive Dog Barking?

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Dogs bark. It’s how they communicate with one another and with their humans. The problem arises when your dog doesn’t seem to know when to quit barking. There are several reasons for excessive dog barking. We are going to take a look at five causes of barking.

Boredom and Loneliness

Excessive dog barking when you’re gone can be a sign that your dog is bored and lonely. Your dog is full of energy and has a lot of time by itself with nothing to do. When you are home, spend more time with your dog and play with him. Keeping your dog active while you are home will make him tired. Then, when you are away, he will be more likely to sleep than to bark.

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Make sure your dog has toys to play with while you are gone. The kind that you can put treats into can keep a dog stay busy for hours as he tries to get the food out of the toy. These toys come in different sizes, so you should be able to find one that is suitable for your dog.

See if you can get someone to walk your dog while you are away. This will give your dog added companionship and activity. Since dogs are pack animals, they need the socialization to be content. The added walk will help to keep your dog healthy as well.

If your dog lives outdoors, consider bringing him inside. This will give him more contact with you, which will make for a happier dog. Plus, having your dog inside will give your home some additional security. Bringing your dog inside is also safer for your dog; he is at less risk of being stolen, poisoned, or harassed.

Another option to consider is doggie daycare. If this service is available in your area, it can be very beneficial for your dog. Canine companionship is as important as human companionship for your dog. A day at doggie daycare is likely to help your dog sleep quietly all night.

They Want Attention

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Sometimes dog barking is an indication that your dog wants attention. The kind of attention your dog is asking for could range from needing food or water to wanting to be petted. This kind of dog barking is his way of asking for something that he needs.

When your dog barks for attention, use a little planned ignoring. Wait until after he stops barking. Then, wait a minute or two before giving your dog what he is asking for. If you respond right away, you are reinforcing the wrong behavior, and your dog will continue to bark when he wants something. Your dog can learn other ways to ask for what it is he needs or wants.

Also, do not correct your dog, as that is also attention as far as your dog is concerned. Correcting your dog immediately still teaches him that his barking will get him the attention of one sort or another. This will only encourage your dog to bark more the next time he wants attention.

Surprise, Surprise

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When something catches the attention of your dog, it is almost certain to start barking. It’s your dog’s way of alerting you to something out of the ordinary. Someone knocks on the door, a car horn goes off, a door slams, he sees a cat or another dog, these are just some examples of things that could surprise your dog.

Distraction is the key here. Instead of scolding your dog, distract him with a toy or a rawhide, something that will occupy his attention. Scolding your dog will only get him more excited and increase the level of barking.

If your dog looks out the window and barks at people or vehicles going by, try removing his access to the window. If necessary, put window film over the glass so that your dog will not be able to see through. Removing the source of the barking in this way is easier on you and your dog.

Anxiety

Anxiety in your dog can be caused by being left alone during the day, going to the vet, or just encountering a new situation. Dog barking can also be caused when they meet a new person. If your dog starts barking when you are leaving, he likely has separation anxiety.

Dogs with anxiety tend to bark aggressively because they are afraid. They bark, and possibly growl, in order to keep what they view as a threat away from them themselves. Remaining calm and giving the dog his space will often help to ease the anxiety that he feels.

Excitement

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Dogs also bark when they are happy or excited. You will often hear barking when your dog is playing or doing something that he really enjoys. Some dogs will begin barking when they are on a walk, playing with a favorite toy, or chasing after another animal, such as a rabbit or mouse.

Dog barking, due to excitement, will also be heard when you come home. Your dog is greeting you and letting you know that he is happy to see you. This barking is often accompanied by jumping up on you. One way to control this barking is to train your dog to stay in a certain spot when the door is being opened. Just keep the door in your dog’s view, if he can’t see who is coming in, it may lead to anxiety barking.

What Makes Dogs Bark at Night?

Dog barking at night is usually done by dogs who are outside. The causes of the barking are caused by things that are going on outside at night. The following are a few things that can trigger barking at night.

Noises

Dogs have exceptional hearing. They hear sounds that we have no idea are there. When you step outside to find out why your dog is barking, chances are that you are not going to hear anything. The sounds that your dog hears may be a good distance away from your home, but clear enough to your dog’s sensitive ears.

Wildlife

At night, your neighborhood may be a popular route for wild animals such as raccoons and deer. You might not see them in your yard, but your dog will. He will be able to see them in your neighbor’s yard, too. Even when your dog cannot see wild animals, he can still smell them.

Other Dogs

If your dog is outside at night and hears another dog barking, he will join in. As social pack animals, dogs communicate with each other through barking. When one dog starts, all the other dogs in the neighborhood generally join in because, instinctively, they think there must be a threat nearby.

Boredom and Loneliness

A dog that is outside by itself is going to become bored quickly. Barking is satisfying to a dog, so he will bark to entertain himself. The outside dog also gets lonely when their humans aren’t around. Excessive barking is a way to get that attention back.

What Are Some Anti-Dog Barking Tips?

Before you start training your dog not to bark, take some time to figure out why he is barking. Pay attention to when he is barking and where his focus is while he is barking. This will help you determine which of the above reasons is the cause of excessive barking. Then, try some of these tips to teach your dog to bark less.

A Quiet Treat

Keep treats on hand, small and soft, so your dog can eat them quickly. When your dog is barking, wait for him to stop. When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Slowly lengthen the amount of time he has to be quiet before rewarding him.

Bring Him In

If your dog is left alone outside, then he is most likely barking out of boredom and loneliness. Bringing him into the house with his pack, yes, we become our dog’s pack, eases that loneliness and gives him something to do. We are far more likely to pay attention to our dogs when they live in the house with us as one of the family.

On-cue Barking

Teach your dog to speak. Once he has that mastered, you can then cue him to stop with a new command. Saying “hush” or “quiet” while holding your finger to your lips is a good way to cue your dog. Practice this tip when your dog is not excited about something else and eventually, he will stop barking when you give him the command.

Tire Him Out

A dog that gets plenty of activity through walks and play will be tired. Using all that energy means he will be more interested in sleeping than in barking. Some breeds require far more activity than others, so make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.

Distraction

Get your dog to focus his attention on an activity that is incompatible to barking. Play fetch, give him a chewy treat or have him go lie down. These and other distractions will take his focus away from the source of his barking.

Familiarize

Slowly expose your dog to the trigger that causes him to bark. Reward him with treats when he remains quiet. Gradually, bring the barking trigger closer to your dog, or lengthen the amount of time he is near it. With time, your dog will come to accept the barking trigger as an acceptable part of his environment, and he will stop barking at it.

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The Don’ts

  1. Don’t yell at your dog to stop barking. Your yelling will only agitate your dog and cause him to bark more. Then, you have an even bigger task to accomplish. Don’t teach your dog to bark for things. Rewarding barking with treats, hugs, and pets, and an immediate walk will only reinforce the barking behavior.
  2. Don’t use a muzzle to keep your dog quiet for any length of time and especially if your dog is not supervised. He could be injured.
  3. Don’t encourage your dog to bark at some things and then expect him to be quiet for others. This simply confuses your dog, and he will bark at everything.
  4. Don’t let the excessive dog barking go on too long before you start to train him. Older habits are harder to break, even for your dog.

Conclusion

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Remember, dog barking is as natural for them as speaking is for us. You wouldn’t ask a loved one to never speak again, and you shouldn’t have that expectation of your dog, either.  Yes, it can be difficult and time-consuming to teach your dog not to bark, but the time and effort will be worth it when you have a more content canine companion in your home. So, stock up on treats, tune up your patience and prepare to spend some quality time with your dog teaching him not to bark. It can be done.

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