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All dogs bark as a form of communication to each other and to us. Dogs bark for many reasons and there are also multiple reasons that can lead to your dog barking excessively. If you address the reason, you can stop it! The most important thing is to pay attention to them. They are trying to tell you something and dogs can be trained. So, If your dog is barking more than is usual, the first step to consider is why.
Reasons why it could be excessive…
- Your dog is bored or not getting enough exercise. This is #1. Especially for apartment or condo dogs you need to be quiet. A tired dog is a quiet dog. Period. If that may be the case, we have a dog exercise website for helpful solutions like a doggie treadmill! Dog training and exercise can solve a variety of behavior problems.
- They are seeking your attention. They may not be getting enough attention from you. Exercise will help with this issue also by taking them for walks or to a dog park. Tire them out while bonding at the same time!
- Separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also usually exhibit other symptoms as well, check out our blog post on Separation anxiety here for more helpful information. One big tip is to use a crate, for many reasons. This can help them feel safe, puppies especially, and can keep them out of trouble.
- Your dog is territorial and protective. They bark at every noise and everyone or thing they may see near their territory! This can be reduced by limiting what your dog sees. If he’s in a fenced yard, use solid wood instead of chain fencing. When indoors, limit access to windows and doors.
- Your dog is older. Sometimes older dogs can bark for no reason because they get confused. I have a blog post on older dog behavior changes, as I experienced this when my yellow Labrador, Jesse, became that way before she passed. The blog helps to explain what they are going through and what we can do. Talking to your vet is best if this may be the issue.
Tips to help stop dog barking
- Don’t yell back. Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because he thinks you’re joining in!
- Train your dog to understand the word “Quiet” When your dog is barking, say “Quiet”. Use a calm but firm voice and wait until he stops barking… then praise him and give him a treat. He will learn with the word quiet, if he stops barking, he gets rewarded. Then soon he will stop barking on command.
- Exercise! I can’t stress this enough! A tired dog is a quiet dog. If your dog barks when you leave, take them for a long walk or run before leaving. If you don’t have time, a treadwheel can help also! These are becoming more popular and don’t need electricity. Dogs can run on them whenever they want, even if you aren’t home!
- Never reward barking. If your dog barks when he wants water, and you fill the dish, you’ve taught him to bark to get what he wants. Find ways for your dog to communicate without barking.
- Bring your dog inside. If they are outdoors and bark throughout the night, bring them inside. Dogs often will stop barking once inside the house and are added protection for your family. Crate training inside would be a good option for this issue.