Barking is a dog’s way of communicating. While barks can mean many things – joy, warning, or aggression – excessive barking is usually a sign of discomfort.
How can you tell what your dog is trying to say to you? Read more about the reasons for dog barking.
I bark, therefore I am
FYI – dogs often bark to inform their humans about something: Bicycle passing, people shouting, other dogs walking down the street.
Double meaning – it’s common for dogs to bark when they feel anxious. The bark indicates that they’re actually not afraid and ready to protect you from potential harm.
Go away – dogs bark when they want to scare off others: Animals, people, or a vacuum cleaner.
First warning – before attacking, dogs bark as a warning sign; this type of barking is accompanied by a tense body posture.
Look at me – dogs quickly learn that you pay attention to them when they bark, so they just do it.
Overjoyed – sometimes, dogs bark excessively to tell you that they’re super happy.
Medical conditions – Dogs, just like humans, can experience pain and discomfort that they cannot express through words. Therefore, it is essential to take your dog for regular check-ups with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Excessive barking might also mean your dog is discontent or frustrated – they’re left alone in the house for hours, or are just bored. In any case, you shouldn’t dismiss it.
As you know your dog best, you can probably deduce the cause by observing them, but the following questions can help you identify the reason:
Does my dog feel safe?
Do they get enough exercise and mental stimulation?
What about playtime or bedtime?
Do they like their food?
If your dog is left alone for extended periods, it is essential to provide them with adequate mental stimulation to prevent boredom and frustration. You can consider leaving them with interactive toys, such as puzzles or chew toys, to keep them occupied. Additionally, you can hire a dog walker or pet sitter to take your dog for a walk or playtime during the day.
If the constant barking seems related to any emotional stress – anxiety or aggression toward others – it’s best to consult a behaviorist and develop a plan to help you and your dog. For dogs who experience separation anxiety, desensitization training can help them to cope with being alone. During the desensitization training, you can gradually increase the time your dog is left alone, starting from a few minutes and increasing the duration over time.
So how can you teach your dog to stop barking? Let’s start with what Not to do:
Avoid the instinct to hush your dog by shouting at him – they’ll interpret your gesture as, “Hey, we’re shouting together!” Furthermore, you risk causing your pooch to feel anxious, which will make training more difficult.
Don’t use electric collars or chokes that are marketed as a way to “help” with excessive barking – these cause constant discomfort and behavioral problems.
Your best option is thoughtful education: We recommend Dogo’s Hush exercise, which will teach your dog to stop barking using positive incentives. Note: It’s best to start with the Speak exercise (bark on a cue) before moving to Hush.
Positive reinforcement is the best approach to teach your dog to stop barking. You can use treats, praise, and playtime as rewards for good behavior. Moreover, it is essential to remain consistent in your training approach, and to avoid punishing your dog for barking. Remember, patience and consistency are key to achieving success in training your dog to stop barking excessively.