How can anyone expect a puppy not to bark? It is as illogical as expecting a young child never to speak. Barking can’t be eliminated as it is a natural behavior and a form of puppy communication. Still, there are ways to teach your puppy to reduce the barking so it does not become excessive. Barking is one type of vocal communication that dogs use. Depending on the situation, there are different meanings and purposes for a puppy’s bark. Here are some reasons why puppies bark.
Why puppies bark
Puppies will bark at anything that is scary or startles them. It can range from anything such as a new person, dog, an animal, an object, a sudden loud sound, or anything they fear in the outdoor environment.
If a person or animal comes close to an area that your puppy considers their territory, it will often trigger barking.
Puppies become unhappy when they are bored and not stimulated enough, both mentally and physically.
When puppies want attention for food, treats, playtime, potty time, or even just for affection and love, they will bark.
Puppies will often bark when they happily greet people or other dogs and bark during playtime out of excitement.
Along with other symptoms of stress, some puppies present barking behaviors as one of the symptoms of separation anxiety.
Some puppies will bark because they are experiencing physical pain or discomfort related to an injury or medical illness.
How to treat excessive barking
1. Create a safe space
There are many reasons why your puppy is barking inside of their crates, ranging from seeking attention, a need to go potty, desire for their food, symptoms of separation anxiety or stress, or your new dog may need some more time to acclimate to their crates. Once you figure out the trigger causing the barking inside the crate, you can help your puppy with their needs. Consider covering your puppy’s crate with a blanket or towel to eliminate any outside sights and sounds that may be causing fear or separation anxiety. Creating a safe space for them will help them feel more secure and comfortable, and they will consider their crate as their haven.
2. Vet exam
Some medical problems can cause excessive barking, so you should take your puppy for a veterinary exam to rule out any underlying medical issues or injuries.
Your puppy might bark at an unfamiliar person, dog, or new environment. If this is the case, it is crucial to get your puppy exposed more to what triggers their fear. It is essential for puppies to be exposed to all of the world’s sights, sounds, and smells to live their lives confidently. For example, if your puppy fears an unfamiliar person, apply some distance between your puppy and that person and give your puppy high-value treats if they are not reacting to the person. Slowly over time, as your puppy gets more comfortable, you can start to decrease the distance. Pairing food with exposing your puppy to that specific person will help your pup create a positive association with the stranger.
4. Relieve the boredom
There are endless amounts of ways to relieve your puppy’s boredom which can be one of the reasons they are barking. Puppies constantly need to be mentally and physically stimulated to stay active and relieve boredom and stress. So the next time you notice your puppy is barking for attention, consider engaging in exciting activities you can do together! How about going on some pleasant walks along the beach or your favorite hiking trail? Or how about teaching your puppy new tricks or playing games with them such as search, hide & seek, or a game of tug? All of these fun-loving activities will keep your pup busy, preventing any excessive barking behavior. And what’s not to love about engaging in ways to strengthen your friendship!
5. Stop rewarding their barking
Whenever you hear your puppy bark, it may be natural to want to run over to them to give them immediate attention. Still, teaching your puppy that calm behaviors will get them their rewards is essential. Try not to make the mistake of giving your puppy any attention when they bark, unless it is for medical reasons. Stay away from rewarding or encouraging the behavior, so they can learn that demanding behaviors will not get them anywhere. Instead, try to reward your puppy with their favorite treats when they become quiet instead. If they continue barking, don’t engage them but rather try to ignore them or leave the room until they become calm. Another training tip is to teach your pup to bark only on your verbal cue “speak,” and teach our pup to stop barking on the verbal cue “hush.”
6. Polite greetings
Teach your puppy to have polite manners when they meet and greet you or anyone else approaching them. For example, if your puppy begins to bark or jump up at the person they are greeting, have the person ignore the barking by turning their back, avoiding eye contact, and giving a cue for a sit or a down position. It will teach your pup that instead of barking, calm manners will provide them with praise and rewards.
Although the sound of a puppy barking is adorable to hear at first, this volume of barking will only get louder as the puppy ages into an adult dog. In addition, it can lead to excessive barking, becoming a more significant issue later on. So, the next time you hear your puppy barking, take a moment to figure out the triggers that are causing this to happen. Only by understanding it, you will help manage and control your puppy’s barking behaviors.