Is Your Dog a Bark Machine? We Can Fix That

As the police can tell you, I’m a rather chatty mutt, but even I have my limits. My human’s neighbor (let’s call him Phil) has a noisy, barking mutt (let’s call him Steve) who keeps us up all night. This rowdy, little hellion barks at mailmen, passers-by, my family and just about anything else that walks, flies or crawls. Luckily, I took care of it – here’s how.

According to WebMD, barking is vocal communication that can be triggered at various times due to a slew of factors. Here are some reasons why dogs are prompted to bark:

It can be a territorial thing: When a human or animal comes into a zone your dog considers her territory, it often leads to excessive barking. As the perceived threat closes in, the barking gets louder and more erratic. Your dog will appear aggressive during this type of barking.

They’ve gone a bit haywire: Some skittish dogs bark at anything that catches their attention or startles them. Unfortunately, this can happen anywhere, not just in their home territory.

Separation anxiety/compulsive barking: Dogs with separation anxiety can excessively bark when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, such as pacing and destructive behavior. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. Heck, we’ve all been there. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles.

Treating Excessive Barking

  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise, so there is not as much pent-up energy to burn by barking, according to about.com.
  • Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when she’s barking for attention, or due to anxiety – that rewards the behavior and encourages it.
  • Shouting at your dog to stop barking doesn’t usually help either. It may actually cause her to bark even more.
  • Avoid punishments like shock collars. Many dogs will learn to test them and eventually work around them. Instead, consult your vet or trainer on how best to teach her a quiet
  • Distract her with a clap or whistle. Once she’s quiet, redirect their attention to something productive and rewarding, like a toy or treat.

Bonus: Tip of the Month

Nonstop barking can be annoying, but you can’t fix the behavior if you’re frustrated. It boils down to balance, and dogs don’t follow unbalanced leaders. In fact, your mutt will mirror your behavior. If you’re aggravated with them, they will be, too. Take a little time to cut out your own internal barking first, and your dog will begin to adjust their behavior.

Keep up the positive reinforcement with an “I (heart) My ShednPooper” t-shirt!

Hogan

Hogan, ShednPooper’s go-to mutt advocate, offers a wealth of canine facts, tips and resources that strengthen the bond between people and their mutts.