How to Stop your Dog from Barking at Everything
Dogs make fantastic loyal pets, but they require a great deal of care and attention from their owners. Sometimes, dogs can misbehave, and cause problems for their owners. A frustrating problem, which many dog owners encounter, is excessive barking from their pet. It is natural for dogs to bark.
Barking, in addition to howling and whining, is the way that dogs communicate vocally. However, some dogs bark excessively at everything, from people walking past their house, to their owners. When a dogs barking becomes excessive, it is frustrating for you as the owner and for your neighbors too.
It is important to realize, however, that you can’t stop a dog from barking entirely. This would be unfair, as it is part of a dog’s natural behavior.
Understand why your Dog is Barking Excessively
Dogs don’t just bark for the sake of barking, but rather they bark to try to communicate and express their emotions. Dogs that bark excessively are often trying to tell their owner something.
If you want your pet to stop barking, you must figure out what is causing your pet to bark excessively. There are a number of reasons why your dog may be barking excessively:
- Attention-Seeking: Some dogs simply bark to get the attention of their owners, and most of the time this behavior works. This means that they keep repeating this behavior, in order to garner more attention.
- Excitement: Some dogs bark when they are about to go for a walk, or do something exciting.
- Anxiety: If your pet barks to greet you, this is not necessarily a happy greeting. Many owners love being greeted by their pet, but if your pet is barking when you come home, they are trying to tell you that something is wrong. It is likely that your pet is experiencing separation anxiety. This is highly common in dogs who spend a lot of time alone, and it usually occurs when pets are left alone for extended periods of time.
- Boredom: If a dog isn’t provided with enough mental stimulation, it can cause them to become bored. When dogs are bored, they often bark excessively.
- Pent up Energy: If a dog isn’t exercised properly, their energy and frustration can build up and it will lead to excessive barking.
- Protection and To Alert you: Some dogs bark when they hear noises from outside, and this can be an annoyance to their owner. Your dog thinks that it is being protective of its territory.
Once you understand the reasons why dogs bark, it will be much easier for you to stop your pet’s excessive barking.
Be Calm, Positive and Patient when Dealing with Excessive Barking
The first step in dealing with your pet’s excessive barking is to ensure that you are going to take a calm, positive, and patient approach during the endeavor. Many people shout at their dogs to stop barking, but this only makes the barking worse.
When training your pet to curb their barking, you need to be calm and positive, rather than angry or frustrated. You also need to understand that bad behaviors can’t be corrected over night, especially if your dog is older.
Don’t Reward your Pet for Barking
Many owners mistakenly provide their pet with more attention when their dogs bark. Some owners try to comfort their pets to reduce the barking, but this simply makes the barking worse, especially if the dog is barking to get attention. When your dog barks, do not provide them with any positive reinforcement.
Don’t give your dog treats to try to stop the barking, and don’t fuss over your pet either. They will soon understand that their barking does not get them positive attention.
Interrupt Excessive Barking and Redirect your Dog’s Focus
When your pet is barking excessively, interrupt the behavior using a sound or a gesture, such as a clap or a whistle. Once you have interrupted your pet’s behavior, you need to redirect their focus. The best way to do this is to give your pet a simple command, such as “sit”, right after you have interrupted their barking.
Once your dog has sat, command them to stay. When your pet seems calm again, praise them and then let them go about their business again. Don’t just interrupt your pet’s barking, and then walk away, as your pet will most likely just start barking again. It is important to praise your pet when they stop barking.
Provide your Dog with enough Physical Exercise and Mental Stimulation
As mentioned above, dogs often bark because they don’t get enough physical or mental stimulation. All dogs must be walked every day, no matter what breed they are. You must ensure that your pet receives at least one walk per day. Dogs cannot be stuck in the house without exercise, as they will become, bored, destructive and even depressed.
Mental stimulation is also very important for dogs, especially for intelligent breeds. Dogs that aren’t given mental stimulation often become bored and will bark excessively. In addition to your pet’s walks, try playing simple games indoors, like hide and seek with your pet.
Puzzle toys, which you can hide treats in also provide your pet with some mental stimulation. Always ensure that your pet has enough activities to keep them occupied, and prevent boredom.
Don’t Leave your Dog Alone for Extended Periods of Time
If your dog is barking excessively, especially when you are out of the house, or when you come home, then it is likely that your pet is feeling anxious. Many dogs that are left alone for extended periods of time get separation anxiety. Ensuring that your pet gets enough exercise and mental stimulation can help, to an extent.
You can also leave your pet with some toys to keep them occupied. However, keeping a dog alone frequently, for extended periods of time will still likely lead to separation anxiety. This is why, as a dog owner, it is important to ensure that your pet is not left alone for any longer than eight hours at a time.
If you can, have someone check in on your pet while you are out of the house. You can also hire dog walkers who can come to your home to walk your dog and socialize them, while you are out of the house.
Stopping your pet’s excessive barking will take time and patience. With the right training, and a good attitude, however, you can vastly reduce the amount of barking that your pet does.
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