Stop a Barking Dog by Understanding Why He Barks
Dogs are descendents of wild wolves and as you know, wolves don’t bark (they howl) – so why do domestic dogs bark?
The reason is that they have evolved to do so – through selection by humans!
Barking was originally encouraged in domesticated dogs to scare off intruders and to provide a measure of defence for masters (people).
However dogs can cause irritation to humans if they bark too much, too loudly or at the wrong times. Dogs dont know the difference between right and wrong, but they aim to please their master – the goal therefore is to TRAIN your dog not to bark at certain times, at certain people or in certain places.
To do that you can undertake positive reinforcement behavioral training.
You can also utilize the aid of anti-barking products like citronella spray collars and herbal/natural supplements that encourage calmness.
The cause of excessive dog barking must be discovered before you try and treat it: often your dog is simply asking for more attention, or could be expression some sort of physical pain. Make sure you rule out all possiblities before resorting to anti-barking products.
It is vital that you realize that a dog will bark for a variety of reasons. If you want to know how to stop a barking dog from making continual and inappropriate noise, you must understand the basics of dog communication.
Dogs don’t bark just to get on your nerves – or your neighbors nerves.
Nor do they bark to get revenge or make anyone angry. It is a form of communication, just like humans speak to communicate.
There are some breeds of dogs which are known to bark more than others (some have been bred that way). There are always exceptions to the rules, but on average the following breeds are known for being excessive barkers;
Terriers: Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Maltese, West Highland White Terrier, Fox Terrier, Silky Terrier and Boston Terrier.
Other dogs: Beagles (although I’ve met beagles that hardly make a sound), Pekinese and Chihuahua
Common reasons that dogs bark include:
- As a warning
- When anxious
- Excitement / Playing
- Responding/communicating with other dogs nearby
- Attention seeking
- Durign storms or fireworks
When you read the above situations where many dogs bark excessively you start to realize WHY it happens and how easy it might be to actually curb this unwanted behavior.
Listening closely to your dog and watching his behavior will lead to a greater understanding of WHY he is barking and at what times or what situation it is most likely to occur. Discouraging all barking is not necessary, but discouraging excessive barking is something you can do through behavioral training.
Dog Barking At Visitors
Most dogs will, by natural instinct, bark at unfamiliar people.
Especially those who wander into the dog’s territorial domain (otherwise known as your house).
The trouble starts when the barking goes on for more than a minute or two, and when you have guests who who you would like to invite into your home or yard without the incessant and potentially (with large dogs) intimidating barking.
Whether it’s a terrier yapping, or a much larger dog with an intimidating (to some people) bark, it’s difficult to have a relaxing time and make your guests feel comfortable if your dog simply won’t calm down.
It’s not just unfamiliar visitors (such as sales people knocking at the door) that dogs bark at though.
Even regular visits by friends and family can elicit some dogs to bark madly every single time. For thsee dogs, it’s got nothing to do with who it is. Just the fact that someone is there at all!
If people are starting to make excuses for avoiding your home because they’re tired of being faced with a barking dog at each visit, it’s time to do something about it!
Visitors can range from a one off door knocker (in which case you might even welcome the barking), to friends and family who have visited numerous times before but who, for some reason, your dog continues to treat as individuals who must be barked at. But there can be more than one reason for that and it’s important to first determine why your dog wants to vocalize at people who come to your home.
The range of reasons can go from intense fear to intense aggression and everything in between. Once you have an idea of the why, then you can start on the how to fix the problem.
Visitors Are Intruders?
dogs being territorial pack animals want to warn you, their pack, that there is an intruder present. Even if the intruder happens to be poor old Grandma coming over with birthday presents and cookies. It matters not to a dog who it is, unless it is someone they are entirely familiar with they are likely to put on the barking behaviour until the apparent intruder makes their exit….
3 Tips to Stop Excessive Dog Barking
Some dogs bark more than others – small terriers for example are well known for barking at just about anything (and sometimes nothing!). This article will give you 3 fast tips to help stop excessive dog barking in your beloved pet.
It is natural for dogs to bark but when dog barking gets out of control its time to take action for your sanity, as well as your neighbors.
Whilst you should never encourage your dog to stop barking altogether (that would be cruel), you can encourage him not to bark at the neighbors, or at night time (any other inappropriate times).
1. Positive Training
Training for bark control must involve positive reinforcement.
Never punish a dog for behavior that you find not to be ideal – instead, promote behavioral changes through training.
You can remove the dogs attention from barking by encouraging actions like sit, chase and stay. You should then offer a treat as a reward.
2. Anti-Bark Collars
These include shock, ultrasonic and citronella spray collars. We never recommend shock collars, but citrus spray collars can work well. They simply spray a gentle mist of scent in the dog’s face when he barks. This interrupts the bark and discourages further noise. This is a short term training solution and should NOT be left on the dog all the time.
3. More Exercise
Many dogs will bark excessively due to boredom or lack of physical and mental stimulation. Avoid this from happening by exercising your dog at least once daily (the more the better) and playing games and providing toys.
These three methods will start you off on the road to being able to stop excessive dog barking.
Remember: a well behaved dog is a happy and healthy dog – give your dog lots of love, quality food, exercise and regular vet checks in order to maintain ideal behavior and companionship.