Dogs sure do love to bark. See below for case in point.
Barking is a dog’s main form of vocal communication – to try to get your dog to stop barking completely would be the equivalent of you never speaking a word again, impossible. However, there are certainly times when barking can become excessive.
To reduce your dog’s barking in those moments when it seems excessive, it’s crucial to understand what’s causing them to bark in the first place.
Continue reading to learn why dogs bark and how you can stop your dog from incessantly barking.
Why Dogs Bark
Barking can mean different things depending on the situation. Here are some of the most common reasons your canine pal barks:
- Protecting territory from a perceived threat: As a pet parent, this one is probably obvious to you…dogs are very protective of their territory. When a human, other dog/animal, or vehicle approaches their territory, they perceive it as a threat. The closer the perceived threat gets, the louder and more aggressive the barking becomes.
- Seeking your attention: Your dog might bark when they want something from you, such as a treat, going outside, playing together, or even a belly rub.
- Following the crowd: Have you noticed that once one dog in your neighborhood starts to bark all of the sudden every dog is barking, including yours? This is socially facilitated barking and is a common occurrence when all the dogs are out at the same time.
- Boredom or loneliness: In an ideal world, you and your dog would be able to spend every moment together. Dogs are naturally social creatures and when they’re left alone for extended periods of time, they may become bored and sad and bark to express their feelings.
- Greeting others: Barking doesn’t always have a negative connotation. Your dog may bark in excitement when greeting people or other dogs. This barking is typically accompanied by a wagging tail and sometimes jumping – signs of happiness. 🤗
- Stress: Did you know barking is a common sign of stress? Your four-legged friend barks in certain situations to alert you that they’re nervous and scared. When you have to leave the house for work, for instance, your pup may start barking simply because they have no idea when you’ll return and are panicking.
Your dog might also bark at unfamiliar sounds and sights, again, out of fear. Perhaps you’ve noticed your pup goes crazy barking on Halloween each year. That’s because the night is filled with constant doorbell ringing and strangers in costumes, both of which are startling for your dog. It’s a prime example of how the unknown can lead to a stressful bark-fest.
Tips for Handling Excessive Dog Barking
Barking may seem annoying in the heat of the moment, but your dog is always doing it for a reason. Once you establish what that reason is, it becomes much easier to help them tone it down. Consider these strategies to reduce the barking:
- Never yell at your dog to stop barking. This will ultimately backfire. Your dog will think you’re barking with them and subsequently do the opposite of what you want.
- Ignore the barking. As mentioned above, your dog may be barking to get your attention. If you give your pup what they want, it teaches them that barking equals reward and will always bark when they want something. The best thing you can do is stay silent and avoid looking into those puppy eyes.
- Remove the trigger. Though not always possible, in some instances you can remove the trigger so your dog can no longer hear or see it. For example, if your pup is barking at a stranger walking outside, shut the window and close the blinds. On big days that are sensory overloads like the 4th of July or Halloween, having a designated safe space in the house for your dog is key. This space will prevent your dog from hearing and seeing all the action, and, as a result, also prevent the barking.
- Make sure your dog is getting an adequate amount of exercise. Exercise prevents boredom and tires your dog out so when they’re left alone, they’ll be more likely to rest instead of barking out your name.
- Keep your dog occupied. Regardless of the situation, the more occupied your dog is, the less likely they are to engage in barking. Interactive dog toys, treats, or bones give your dog something to do – and they won’t be able to chew and bark at the same time. If you’re looking for something both occupying AND calming, check out our Chillers Relaxing Hard Chews.
You’ve reached the end of this article! See you next time. 🐶