Why Dogs Bark: How to Stop Excessive Barking
All organisms have their way of communicating – a barking is simply how dogs do it. It is a natural occurrence that they use to express themselves towards each other or other species. Different animals like wolves, seals, and coyotes also bark. It is easy to differentiate between a dog’s bark and another animal’s mainly because dogs bark very frequently. It is not an unusual behavior of theirs and can sometimes become excessive and annoying. One theory hypothesizes that when dogs were domesticated, it altered parts of their personality, and they became more vocal as compared to their wild counterparts. This article will take a look at why dogs bark and how to stop excessive barking with tried and tested methods.
Reasons Why Dogs Bark
There are various reasons why dogs bark, and sometimes it may even seem like they are doing it just because they can. On some occasions, however, your dog might be trying to tell you something important, which you need to pay attention to. There is a debate on whether barking is really a way that dogs communicate, making it a little controversial. Some of the following reasons, however, are universal and apply to a lot of dogs. One of the most general reasons is the breed of dog, and some are known to be loud and vocal as compared to others. Other reasons include the following.
One of the most common reasons that come to mind when a dog barks is that it’s trying to warn you against incoming danger. It is natural for the dog to bark when someone comes to the door or strangers are passing by. Their protective and territorial instinct triggers them to alert you of danger so that you can arm yourself. It is not until they are assured that the threat is no longer near that they will stop barking. You can distinguish this bark by its sharpness, loudness, and authority, which is meant to scare away the intruder and can be useful for protection.
Animals feel anxious too, and dogs sometimes bark to show theirs and is also a way to calm themselves down. Some dogs do not like to be alone, and so will exhibit some behaviors such as barking to prove this. They do not do well with separation and will let everybody hear it. Dogs also cope better in a pack, which helps them stay both physically and mentally stimulated. Any slight boredom will trigger a barking spree meant to express their unhappiness. You can detect that your dog is anxious if the barking is high-pitched and closely followed by whining. The anxiety is sometimes mixed with fear, and they will bark more at loud noises or when they are in a new environment.
- Seeking attention
Everybody, once in a while, likes to be the center of attraction and focus because it makes them feel special. Whenever a dog feels like this, it will bark to get the spotlight shine on it. They might also be trying to get your attention when they are hungry or need to go out. There is no way that you can tell these things, so they will bark to notify you. This type of barking is usually a mixture of loud sounds and whining that sounds like that of a child’s.
Dogs do not joke with their playtime since it is one way to keep fit while having fun. It is not rare for your dog to bark out of excitement while playing, and this is very common with younger dogs and puppies. They do not only bark in the presence of humans but other dogs as well, and it sounds upbeat and almost musical. Even before playtime has started, the dog will still bark in anticipation of the activity. This includes before going on walks or jogs. The excitement is also there when they are happy to see you, and the barking is a form of greeting.
- Medical problem
When dogs are in pain or are experiencing tenderness in some part of their body, they might bark a lot to react. Areas around the ears and mouth that are difficult to access can be a significant cause of the pain. Alzheimer’s disease in aging dogs can also trigger them to bark a lot more, mainly because they are not aware of their actions. The condition produces disorders that are similar to cognitive dysfunction, which can make them bark non-stop.
How to Stop Excessive Barking
Excessive barking is likely to continue if there is no intervention from the owner. The way forward to stop your dog from barking is first to identify what is making them bark and eliminate the problem. After all, you cannot put a stop to something if you do not know where it is coming from. Some dog barking solutions include the following
- Veterinary visit
Vets are trained specialists in animal care and are in the best position to help you. They can tell you precisely what is going on with your pet and give you functioning solutions, more so if it is medical. If you notice that your dog’s barking might be due to pain or sensitivity, then visiting the vet will do you both some good. They can come up with a plan to help in your attempt at dog bark control, to give you and the animal some rest. Whereas you might generalize the cause of your dog’s barking to one thing, the vet will access the animal’s needs and give recommendations based on that.
- Training/ Behavior modification
If the cause of the barking is due to fear, anxiety, attention-seeking or loneliness, then the first thing to do is remove those triggers. If you have to be out of the house a lot, find someone to stay with the dog, so it does not get lonely. You can as well get them toys to play with to keep them busy so that they do not remember they are alone. Also, make sure your dog has a lot of exercises so that they do not have extra energy to bark. You can train your dog, using simple commands and rewards to encourage good behavior. You can teach the animal to be quiet after a while of barking, which is a useful technique for when strangers are around.
A lack of exposure to the outside world can make your dog timid and fearful all the time, increasing their tendency to bark. You should keep your dog around other dogs and people more so that it learns that not all occasions require barking. A Doggy daycare could be an option if you have the means for it. At school, a professional dog trainer will teach yours how to behave appropriately when among others, which will save you a whole lot of embarrassment.
- Dog bark collars
You can use dog bark collars to minimize barking in your dog. They include the citronella collar, which sprays anytime your dog barks, releasing a fluid your dog hates. There are also ultrasonic beep collars and shock collars that deter your dog from barking. The best bark collar will be one that has a muzzle that holds the dog’s mouth shut. It is suitable because it poses the least risk of hurting your dog.
What Not to Do to Stop Dog Barking
There may be some behaviors you are not aware of, that won’t make your dog stop barking, rather it may encourage your dog to bark more. Other useful tips on how to stop a dog from barking include the following:
- Do not give in to the dog so that it gradually realizes it is not going to get what it wants. Avoid petting or cajoling them whenever they start yapping, and after some time, excessive barking will stop. Wait until they are quiet before you give them what they want so that they associate being silent with getting their requests fulfilled.
- Do not shout at the dog when you want it to stop barking since this can stimulate them even to bark more. Sometimes, they might think you are trying to play with them, and the barking will be reinforced.
- Do not hit or throw objects at the dog because it is unkind and will only make the dog feel sadder. Your dog might also become used to it and learn to ignore them to continue barking.
- Do not let your dog bark excessively when it is outside so that your neighbors do not become your enemies. You can do that by training them to be quiet and put together whenever they are out.
So from now on, if ever you hear someone complain that ‘my dog won’t stop barking!’ with your knowledge from this article, you should be able to tell them why. Granted it is not always easy to make dog stop barking, but all the information found here about how to control dog barking comes from tried and tested methods that others have used. If, at any point, it becomes overwhelming and out of your control, consult a professional to help you solve the problem.
- Why do dogs bark? – RSPCA Pet Insurance
- 5 Reasons Your Dog Won’t Stop Barking – PetMD
- Why Do Dogs Bark? Reasons Dogs Bark and How to Stop Excessive Dog Barking – Dogster