Do you find it annoying and embarrassing when your dog barks incessantly? Most dog owners would answer yes to that. Excessive barking is a common issue among pet owners, which often becomes a source of awkwardness for them. However, overexcited or bored dogs tend to bark more than usual because they are trying to communicate something to you.
Usually, it’s an alert about a stranger approaching the property, another dog in the neighborhood, or some other trigger that sets off their barking response. The good news is that there are various methods and techniques you can use to curb your pooch’s excessive barking. With the right approach, almost any dog can be trained to stop barking when necessary without being stressed out by it.
Why Does Your Dog Bark?
There are numerous reasons why dogs can become overexcited and trigger barking. The most common are: –
Protecting the family and home from intruders. Dogs are constantly on the alert and will bark to let their owners know something may be amiss. This is especially true if you have a smaller breed that is protective over the kids in the house.
An exterior trigger, such as another dog barking or noise your dog hears, sets them off. This can be especially true if your pooch is a barking breed.
They’re bored and want to play. This is especially true with dogs in their youth. If they are left home alone for extended periods, they may start barking as a way to get someone’s attention.
A medical problem. Some health issues, such as stress, anxiety, or separation anxiety, can trigger excessive barking. If your dog is barking excessively, it’s a good idea to have them checked for any health issues.
Rule Out a Medical Issue
The first thing to do before trying to stop your dog from barking is to rule out any health issues. This is because excessive barking can be a symptom of stress, anxiety, or even a medical condition. For example, the excessive barking may be caused by separation anxiety, which is triggered by the owner being away from the dog.
Anxiety often causes excessive vocalization and can lead to barking. It can be caused by many things, including a change in the dog’s environment or an illness. Certain medical conditions can also lead to excessive barking. For example, dogs who have a fever may start barking as a result of the fever itself or because of the pain that the fever causes.
If your dog is showing signs of a medical condition or is showing signs of anxiety, it’s important to see a vet rule out any underlying issues. This will help you get to the root cause of your dog’s barking and help you address it properly.
Adjust your dog’s diet
Dog barking is often linked with changes in diet. Around 60 percent of dogs with sudden onset barking have been linked with dietary changes. To rule out this factor, try switching your dog’s diet to one that is lower in fat and protein, as well as calories.
A lower-calorie diet can help reduce loud barking. In some cases, you may need to visit the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment. If the excessive barking started after your dog was given a new or different treatment, you should avoid giving them treats for a few weeks to see if the barking subsides. If it stops, the treats were likely the cause. It’s important to note that this method may take a while, as dietary changes can take several weeks to take effect.
Try a bark collar
The bark collar is often the most commonly used method to curb excessive barking. It works by emitting an ultrasonic sound or a citronella spray that only your dog can hear when they start barking. The citronella spray can act as an aversive stimulus that makes it unpleasant for the dog to bark, which will curb the behavior over time. Keep in mind that bark collars are used at the owner’s discretion. If you’re not sure whether your dog should use one, consult your vet.
There are many different types of bark collars, so it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs. If your dog is a barking breed, look for a collar that has a sonic vibration feature. This can help reduce false alarms. When selecting a bark collar, make sure it’s the right size for your dog. It shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. Additionally, you should avoid using bark collars on dogs that are under six months old.
Give your dog more exercise and playtime
Excessive barking often stems from boredom, especially in dogs that are left alone for long periods. If your pooch is barking excessively while you’re away at work, you should consider hiring a dog walker or having someone stop by to play with your dog during the day. You can also engage in solo activities with your dog, such as play, treat puzzles, or training.
Make sure to keep your dog’s mind active to prevent boredom from triggering barking. If your dog is young and bored, you can try engaging them in games or activities that require them to use their brains, such as hide-and-seek, fetch, or training. It’s important to engage your dog in activities that tire them out, especially if you have a young dog who is barking for attention.
Install a remote control shock collar
Remote control shock collars are often used as a last resort in curbing a barking dog. These collars can emit an electric shock when triggered by a sound that your dog makes, such as barking. While remote-control shock collars can be effective in curbing excessive barking, they are often a contentious issue among dog owners. Remote control shock collars are not suitable for dogs that are left alone or are separated from their owners for long periods.
These collars should only be used for short periods when your dog is in your presence. If you decide to use a remote control shock collar, make sure to select the proper size and level of intensity for your dog.
Find the right type of training for your dog
Dogs learn best when they are engaged and interested in the training, so try to select a training method that is enjoyable for both you and your dog. This can help engage them in the process and make training less of a chore. Training is often the best way to curb excessive barking in dogs, as it helps them understand what triggers their barking and how to stop it.
If your dog is barking because they hear a trigger, you should teach them how to ignore that trigger, such as another dog barking. This can be done through a variety of methods, including traditional obedience training, operant conditioning, or clicker training. With the right type of training, you can help curb your dog’s excessive barking humanely and effectively.
Barking is normal behavior for dogs, but it can be annoying for their owners. In many cases, barking can be reduced or eliminated with training, veterinary advice, and changes in the dog’s environment. If a dog is barking because they are bored, finding new ways to keep them busy can help. When a dog is barking because they are afraid or excited, it can be difficult to calm them down. In these situations, it is best to try to identify what is causing the barking and work to eliminate it. If you’ve tried these methods and still can’t curb your dog’s excessive barking, it may be time to consider seeking professional help. A canine behaviorist or trainer can help you identify the cause of the barking and teach you how to properly address the issue.