Dog Barking Problem: Controlling Your Dog’s Constant Barking
Dogs bark. It is part of their normal and natural communication and behavior. Dogs can bark for appropriate and good reasons. The more you learn about dogs, the better your relationship will be. If you wish to know more about the reasons why your dog barks, here you go: Dog Barking Problem: Common Reasons For Your Dog’s Constant Barking
If we want to control barking, we need a dog that can obey us and relax. The dog needs to look to their owner for behavior clues. If we can call them, have them lie down (dogs don’t bark as much when lying down) and stay, we are well on the way to solving a nuisance barking problem. In addition, there are some common principles we can use in modifying barking behavior.
First, in most cases shouting “No” is only going to make matters worse since the dog is thinking you are barking too (and is probably happy you joined in).
Be consistent. Pick a one-word command e.g., “Enough” for the behavior you want and always use that word in the same tone of voice. Everyone in the household must use the same command and act identically.
Be patient with your dog and yourself. Changing behavior takes a lot of time, and you need to take it slowly, one step at a time. If you become angry at your dog, the chance to correctly modify the behavior will be gone.
Reward the dog for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is much more powerful than punishment. Physical punishment will do nothing but make your dog fearful of you and break down the bond you wish to have with them. Often, picking a very special treat like small pieces of cooked chicken or hot dog will make the reward seem even better. As time goes on, you will not give a treat every time, sometimes just rewarding with a “Good Dog” and a pat on the dog’s chest.
Control the situation. As much as possible, set up situations to use as training. Practice in short, frequent sessions, generally 5-10 minutes each.
Do not be afraid to ask an expert. Animal trainers, behaviorists, and your veterinarian can give you valuable advice. Having them witness your dog’s barking episodes may give them valuable clues on helping you solve the barking problem.
Still Curious About Common Barking Reasons?
The key to knowing what to do with our dog’s barKing is to know why they do so in the first place. Here are some of the common reasons why they bark:
- Trained to Bark: certain dogs are trained to bark while doing their jobs. Most common are the guard dogs.
- Territorial Protection: when one comes near their territory, the dogs bark to show that you are intruding.
- Startle barking: occurs in response to an unfamiliar or sudden sound or movement. As with an alert/warning bark, we need to be able to control this type of barking quickly.
- Self-identification barking: is what you may be hearing when your dog seems to be answering other dogs he hears barking in the neighborhood. It is his way of saying, “I am over here.”
- Play/excitement barks: often short and sharp. These barks are common if the dog gets too excited with the game. Often a time-out is in order.
- Lonely/anxious barking: occurs if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. The barking can become self-reinforcing as he becomes more stimulated and anxious. Anxious barks tend to get higher in pitch as the dog becomes more upset. This type of barking can be especially annoying to your neighbors.
- Lack of Exercise: your dog may need some time to stretch those muscles and give them time to play.
- Improper Confinement: when their muscles due to small confinements in crates or cages, they bark or whimper.
- Environmental Reasons: unfamiliar movements, people, or sounds cause dogs to bark as they may see it as a threat or fear it.
- Boredom, Frustration, Loneliness: dogs feel lonely too and when they do, they bark and howl. Bored barkers simply need an outlet for their energy and a more stimulating environment.
- Alert/warning barks: are the type of barks some owners encourage. They want their dog to alert them to the presence of a danger or suspicious stranger. Warning barks tend to become more rapid as the intruder approaches. Aggressive barks are low in pitch and may be combined with growls. We need to be able to distinguish warning barks from barks due to fear.
- The Returning Family Member.
Is There Any Other Reason?
? “I need to relieve myself please.”
If this is the case, do not allow your dog’s barking to be its way of alerting you. You can try using a clicker to teach him a “Hush” command and then teach him an alternate alert signal such as pawing at the door. Every time he barks to go out, hush him, ask him if he has to “Go Potty” and then paw at the door with your hand. Repeat this process every time he barks to go out. Praise and treat every time he follows your lead.
? “I think someone is calling me.”
Sometimes you’ll find dogs barking at each other. This doesn’t happen very often unless you have a dog next door that won’t shut up. You can try to distract him by playing with him or starting a game of fetch but this won’t solve the problem. Teaching him the “hush” command is the best way to eliminate this behavior.
? “I heard a loud noise and I don’t know what it is.”
If you know that the noise does not pose a threat, stop the dog barking by playing with him or starting a game of fetch.
? “I’m thirsty.”
Try teaching him the “Hush” command by using a clicker, and then when he has quieted down, fill his bowl with water. You can teach him to paw at his bowl by tapping on his bowl when he’s alerting you to fill his bowl. He will pick up on this after a while.
? “Don’t you dare come near my food while I’m eating?”
Do not allow him to respond this way whenever someone walks by him while he’s eating. Next time it’s time to feed, place the bowl on your lap and feed him one morsel at a time. Do not allow him to reach the bowl. Show him that you are in control of his food. Do it until your pet gets accustomed to having someone touch his food. Have different members of the household try it as well. This will help desensitize him and show him he can trust you.
If you have an overly-aggressive dog, then we would not recommend this.
Your dog deserves the very best, that’s why you should learn how to feed them properly: Dog food for puppies: Why is it so important to get the best food for dogs.
Control The Barking Behavior
Once you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can begin to control the behavior. Below are the things to do as agreed by most pet owners and handlers alike regarding barking and resolving it:
- After getting your dog’s attention, practice basic commands, like sit and down in order to shift their focus.
- Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if possible.
- Avoid punishments like shock collars. They are not only painful and unkind – many dogs will learn to test them and eventually work around them.
- Consult your veterinarian and/or trainer if you continue to face barking issues despite your best efforts.
- Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
- DO NOT let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason. You can hardly train them to stop barking by yelling at them across the yard. Plus, it is one of the fastest ways to turn neighbors into enemies and send an invitation to your local police.
- Do not punish your dog for barking at certain sounds, like car doors slamming and kids playing in the street, but then encourage him to bark at other sounds, like people at the door. You must be consistent!
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so there is not as much pent-up energy to burn by barking.
- Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when she is barking for attention or out of anxiety – that would be rewarding the behavior, thus encouraging it.
- Never tie your dog’s muzzle closed with rope, cord, rubber bands or anything else. Doing this is dangerous, painful and inhumane.
- Never use a muzzle or Husher to keep your dog quiet for long periods of time or when you’re not actively supervising him. Dogs can’t eat, drink or pant to cool themselves while wearing muzzles, so making your dog wear one for long periods of time would be inhumane.
- Shouting at your dog to stop barking does not help. It may actually cause them to bark even more.
- Train your dog to Speak and Be Quiet.
- Try to get their attention with a clap or whistle. Once they are quiet, redirect their attention to something productive and rewarding – like a toy or treat.
- Unless a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist advises you to do otherwise, never use punishment procedures if your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety. This could make them feel worse and, as a result, its barking might increase.
Hey you, new dog owner. Now that you have a new puppy, this is the best time to train them the best way possible. So take a look at this: House and Crate Training 101: How To Crate Train Your Dog.
Training A Dog yourself
Now that we already are equipped with the knowledge about barking and their types, here are some easy steps in training our dog not to bark. They are simple and need not be professionals to be able to pull it off. All you need is patience:
- Reward Silence – When your dog is barking, distracts it and wait for it to quiet down. Once it is quiet, provide a reward.
- Don’t Let Him Greet Visitors – His excitement about visitors, delivery guys and other guests is largely due to their importance to him. If he routinely gets to greet people at the door then their visits matter. Deny him access to the doorway and ask your guests to ignore him when they arrive. Removing the importance visitors have for him can help reduce his eagerness to bark.
- Provide More Exercise – A properly exercised dog is easier to train and also more relaxed. This helps solve barking issues. An exercised dog naps; an unexercised dog looks for something to do.
- Deny Access to Barking Stations – If they have barking stations (by a window or door or the fence outside) deny them access. Managing the environment prevents them from seeing things that trigger their barking – such as dogs, animals or people.
- Ignore Attention Seeking Barking – If they bark to get your attention and you respond, you’ve lost. If you are their focus when they are barking, ignore them. They will move on to another strategy soon enough.
- Ignore Attention Seeking Barking – If he barks to get your attention and you respond, you’ve lost. If you are his focus when he’s barking, ignore him. He’ll move on to another strategy soon enough.
- Provide Him with Something to Do – Dogs were originally bred for specific purposes. Without their jobs, they become bored, and a bored dog is more likely to bark. Provide him with interactive toys for entertainment.
- Use Training Tools – Make things easy on yourself by using training products. These provide quick results without harming your dog. Use dog crates, as it makes it easy to manage their environment. Crates solve a lot of training problems, including barking, chewing, digging, and more.
- Teach Him Speak and Be Quiet – Teach him to speak and hush on command. Once he grasps these you’ll be able to communicate with him when he begins barking too much. Then simply reward him for following your “Be Quiet” instruction.
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