There are plenty of reasons dogs bark. Sometimes it’s to get your attention — other times, it’s to communicate with another animal. Whatever the reason may be, barking is completely normal. However, it can become an issue when it’s excessive. Let’s go over some top reasons dogs bark excessively and how to stop excessive barking.
Why Is My Dog Barking Excessively?
If your dog barks nonstop, you’re not alone. Plenty of dogs bark as a way to communicate emotions or deal with stress. Here are a few top reasons your pet might be behaving this way.
If your dog barks excessively throughout the day, it may be trying to entertain itself. Just like people, dogs need to be engaged physically and mentally. This issue most commonly occurs in dogs that are left alone for extended periods of time. You can prevent boredom barking by ensuring your pet receives the following:
- Mental stimulation
Most dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, as well as a good amount of socialization (with either their owners or other dogs). These needs can be fulfilled by taking a walk or visiting a local dog park. Ideally, dogs should exercise their brains as well — puzzle toys, chew toys and scavenger hunts offer prime opportunities for mental stimulation.
If you’re busy with work or familial obligations, consider hiring a dog walker to keep your pet entertained. They can come in once or twice a day, play with your dog and ensure it gets some exercise. Alternatively, you could send your pet to a local doggy daycare.
Once your dog bonds with you, it’ll probably become more affectionate and clingy. While this isn’t a problem on its own, it can escalate to a more severe issue: separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety will whine, whimper or bark when they’re left alone for extended periods of time. In mild cases, you can encourage your dog to stop barking and become more independent by doing the following:
- Leaving toys for them to play with
- Keeping a window easily accessible
- Investing in a treat dispenser machine or toy
In addition to providing entertainment, avoid making a big fuss when leaving or entering the home. Dogs pick up on our emotions — if you’re overly apologetic or friendly when you return, they’ll associate your departure with negativity.
Sometimes, the anxiety may persist or even worsen. In these cases, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. They can give you more insight into helping your dog feel comfortable alone.
Once a dog gets used to a home, it may become territorial and consider itself the home’s protector. When this happens, it’ll typically bark at any strangers who get close to the house, from mailmen and neighbors to random pedestrians on the street. The goal is to ward off people while making the dog owner aware of strangers. Ultimately, it doesn’t realize these strangers are generally not a threat.
The best way to deal with territorial barking is through positive reinforcement. When your pet starts barking at somebody, take out a treat. When the dog stops barking, reward it with the treat. Avoid yelling or scolding, as this will only encourage the barking.
If a dog is barking excessively, it could be because it’s afraid of something. Some dogs are naturally anxious and more likely to be cautious than others. Compulsive barking may be its way of warning you, or it could just be how it responds to stress. Either way, you can resolve this issue by eliminating the triggers that make your dog fearful. Here are a few things many canines dislike:
- Loud noises
If your dog is scared of loud noises, try leaving it in a quiet room. For instance, say someone is doing construction work in front of your home — you should keep your dog in the back (where the noise is less likely to infiltrate). Meanwhile, if it’s afraid of cars (or anything commonly found outdoors), keep it away from windows.
Sometimes fear is triggered by something inside the house (such as stairs). Finding a safe space away from this trigger can go a long way when it comes to preventing barking.
It’s normal for dogs to bark when they get excited about something. For instance, you might notice your dog bark and jump when it sees another dog or one of its favorite toys. Usually, that excitement (and the barking) will fade after a short period of time. However, in rare cases, your dog may be so excited that the barking simply doesn’t stop.
The best way to deal with this type of barking is to get rid of stimuli that trigger your dog’s excitement. When your dog is home alone, try leaving the blinds closed or keeping your pet away from windows — the outdoor views can definitely encourage barking.
It’s important to look out for the health of our dogs. Barking (in rare cases) can be a cry for help. Since dogs can’t tell us they’re in pain, they’ll resort to barking as their primary form of communication. If you’re worried about pain, look out for the following symptoms:
If you suspect your dog is in pain, take it to your veterinarian for a checkup.
Most dogs bark when they want to get their owner’s attention. However, this becomes an issue when it becomes constant. Sometimes, attention-seeking is a side effect of anxiety. However, in many cases, dogs bark because they want something from their owner (such as food).
If you suspect your dog is barking because it wants treats, avoid rewarding it with food — this will teach it that its barking is effective and reinforce the behavior. Instead, offer treats when it’s quiet and well-behaved.
Why Is Excessive Barking Bad?
Consistent barking is more than just a mild annoyance. When left unaddressed, it can lead to even more negative behaviors, such as:
- Licking paws
When a dog’s needs aren’t satisfied by barking, it’ll often resort to one of these problem behaviors to cope with the stress. In severe cases, consistent barking can damage the vocal cords and cause laryngitis. Ultimately, barking is not a problem you should ignore.
Ways To Stop Excessive Barking
The best way to stop a dog’s barking is by addressing the root of the issue. For instance, if your dog is barking due to pain, taking it to the vet and getting a diagnosis can resolve the problem. Of course, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause behind problematic barking. If you’re unsure what the issue is, try one of these generic methods.
Keep Your Dog Busy
A tired dog is less likely to bark than a dog that’s full of energy. Keep your dog physically engaged with walks and runs — this way, when it’s at home, it’s more likely to relax or take a nap. In case it still has some leftover energy, leave out a few toys for it to play with. If you’re not at home during the day, see if a friend or neighbor can check in on your furry friend.
Socialize Your Dog
Dogs that are secure and at ease in their environment will bark less than dogs that are nervous, uncomfortable or overly cautious. A great way to make your dog more confident is to properly socialize it. This involves exploring your surroundings and introducing your dog to new things, such as strangers, other dogs and loud noises.
Consult a Trainer
Many of the bad behaviors found in young dogs can be modified with the help of a certified professional dog trainer. After meeting your dog, the trainer will identify the cause behind the barking and develop techniques to help prevent it. Although training can be implemented at any age, it’s best to start as early as possible. For the best results, find a breeder that trains their puppies, such as Pride & Prejudoodles.
Pride & Prejudoodles: Adopt a Dog Today
There’s no denying the advantages of adopting a new puppy. Not only are they affectionate and loving, but they also provide endless bouts of entertainment. On the flip side, there’s some work involved — young puppies are susceptible to certain dog behavior issues, such as anxiety, play biting and (of course) excessive barking. At Pride & Prejudoodles, we make things easier by offering a selection of well-behaved, trained puppies. Our training covers the following:
- Obedience commands
- Leash walking
- Behavior modification
We also coat-test and health-test puppies to ensure they’re hypoallergenic and in good shape. Our goal is to make the puppy adopting experience as pleasant as possible for new owners. Contact us today to find your new furry best friend!