Understanding Why Dogs Bark and how Excessive Barking can be Curbed.
If you own a dog, you are well aware that barking is a fact of life. However, if your dog barks excessively and disturbs your household or your neighbors, you may need to come up with ways to reduce this habit to a more tolerable level.
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, such as when they are excited, frustrated, scared, or even bored. Almost all dogs will bark a warning to their masters when a stranger is approaching. This type of barking is also a way of proclaiming “I am protecting this property so watch out.” This kind of bark is generally loud, sharp, and authoritative.
Anxious or frustrated barking is sometimes an act of self-soothing for many dog breeds. This type of bark is usually high-pitched and features a somewhat whining sound. Such barking is frequently seen in dogs who experience separation anxiety when their owners leave home.
When a dog is naturally excited about something in his or her environment, barking is the most common way for the animal to express this emotion. Such barking is particularly common in young dogs and puppies. In addition, many breeds bark when playing, merely to express their enjoyment of the game in which they are participating. Certain dogs will also bark excitedly in anticipation of a walk or ride in the car.
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You may have noticed that your pooch will also bark when he or she wants attention. This bark is similar to the rather sad barking of a dog who is bored from being left alone. Bored dogs and puppies often bark to release excess energy that should be expended during proper activity and exercise.
Consider the reason your dog is barking in order to determine the best way to reduce this behavior. For example, if your dog is barking out of boredom, make sure he or she is walked every day and has the opportunity to participate in a suitable amount of exercise. This will all but eliminate barking from boredom.
If your dog barks when you leave home due to the aforementioned separation anxiety, one way to tone down this behavior is for you to refrain from making a ceremony out of leaving the house. Don’t make a big production out of saying goodbye to your pooch, as this will only make the situation worse. The goal is to get him or her to see you leaving the house as a normal thing that happens on a daily basis, but to realize that you always return.
If your dog is excessively territorial, keeping him or her in an area where passerby’s are not highly visible is a good idea. If you have a large backyard, consider installing a high fence, as this way your dog can run and play, but will not necessarily notice every stranger who passes by.
Simply giving your dog something to do other than bark is always a good idea as well. When a dog is distracted with even a simple object such as a chew toy, he or she will forget about barking for awhile. You may also wish to consider enrolling your dog in obedience school so that he or she will learn to recognize and follow stop barking commands whenever they are given. Although this may require a monetary investment, you will probably find that the end result is worth the cost. Finally, never simply yell at your dog to stop barking, as most canines translate this as you barking with them, rather than trying to get them to stop. Dogs will always bark, but by following the aforementioned tips, such activity can be kept within normal parameters.