Help! – My Dog Won’t Stop Barking

Excessive barking can be extremely frustrating.

Barking serves many functions within the canine community, from friendly communication to a not so friendly warning. Even though barking is a natural function, it can become a serious problem when it becomes excessive.

Loud Noise, Small Spaces

Barking can be a particularly difficult problem for dog owners who live in small spaces where there are large concentrations of other people. City dwellers and apartment residents are particularly prone to problems with the neighbors when their dogs bark incessantly. When you throw in the fact that many communities have enacted noise ordinances that include barking dogs, the issue becomes even more serious.

Excessive Barking a Real Concern

The problem becomes still more serious when you realize that many dogs surrendered to shelters ended up there because of barking problems and other behavioral issues. With so much at stake it just makes sense to learn as much as you can about what makes dogs bark, and more importantly, what can be done when that natural behavior becomes a real nuisance.

What To Do

Fortunately there are some things pet owners can do to keep their dogs from barking all night and keeping the neighbors awake. The first step is to find out why the dog is barking. Different dogs will have different triggers for their barking, and until you understand what your dog is trying to say you will not be able to truly deal with the problem.

Figure Out Why He Barks

For instance, some dogs will bark when they are stressed or frightened, and they may bark more when their owners go away. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and this separation anxiety can lead to many problems – not only excessive barking but also problems with chewing and other destructive behaviors. Dog owners can help their dogs to feel more secure by taking frequent short trips away from their pet, slowly building up the animal’s confidence and helping to mitigate the stress they may be feeling.

Other Reasons to Bark

Other dogs will bark when they feel threatened, and dog owners can help their pets feel more confident by establishing themselves as the clear pack leader. It can be difficult for a dog to determine what constitutes a real threat, however, and dog owners should keep in mind that a barking dog can indeed be a good defense against burglars and prowlers. While it is a good idea to break an excessive barking habit, dogs should not be afraid to bark when there is truly a problem.

Don’t Reinforce Unwanted Behavior

When training the dog not to bark when there is no need, it is important for the owner not to accidentally reinforce the bad behavior. For instance, if you pay attention to the dog when he barks, he will learn that barking gets him what he wants. While it is certainly hard to ignore a barking dog, it is important not to reinforce an undesirable behavior.

Boredom is a Cause

If your dog is fine when you are at home but barks constantly when you are away, it may simply be that the dog is bored. We all know how boring it can be to sit at home all day with nothing to do, and your dog is no exception. It may be a good idea to invest in some new toys for the dog to try to alleviate the type of boredom that can cause problems with barking.

It may also be a good idea to leave a radio or television on to keep the dog company. Dogs love the sound of human voices, and leaving the radio or television on can provide reassurance and companionship, especially for anxious dogs or those prone to separation anxiety issues.

Positive Reinforcement

Last but not least, do not forget the importance of positive reinforcement when it comes to dog training. Positive reinforcement is always important, and when the dog does what you want he should receive your full attention and plenty of lavish praise. When your dog behaves properly and does not bark, be sure to give him lots of friendly scratches behind the ears, and perhaps even a treat or two. Dog training is a delicate dance of negative and positive behaviors and reinforcements, and it is important for dog owners to learn to read their dogs’ body language in order to make the most of every training opportunity.

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Rose
I just got two Yorkies about three months ago and they both bark like the dickens whenever I take them for a walk and they see other people. My Yorkies love me and my husband, but they just seem to want to growl and bark at everyone else. This made it really uncomfortable to take them for walks. So, I bought the "spray sense" collar. This collar sprays a citrus like substance whenever the dogs bark. The dogs don't like it because of the sound it makes when it sprays and the citrus smell. I've only been using the collar for about a week and already my dogs have stopped barking at everyone when we take them for walks. They still bark if someone comes up to the door when we are all home though, which is a good thing.
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My Labrador is 14 months old. She barks at the smallest thing during the day but the early hours of the morning are worst as she stands in the middle of the garden just barking. This gets worse when she hears other dogs barking in a distance. Help!!! What do I do?? I'm at my wits end :(
 
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