Barking is the way dogs communicate, hence a natural behavior. But if a dog barks excessively, how to keep it under control? Figuring out the reasons behind excessive barking is the first step towards finding a solution to the problem. Keep calm: this is something you and your dog can learn together!
As the pack leader, it’s your job to control excessive barking and step in if this becomes a threat to the life with your pet.
8 Reasons behind excessive barking
- Fear or phobic reaction to sights or sounds (sometimes due to separation anxiety)
- Territory’s protection
- Attention’s crave
- Social needs (to greet other dogs)
- Boredom and loneliness
- Predatory or chase behaviour
- Demonstration of aggression
How to get your dog to stop barking
Getting your dog to stop barking compulsively takes time, hard work, and consistency.
Here’s a list of techniques that can help stop your dog’s barking behavior. Whereas all of them could be successful, do not expect miraculous results to happen overnight.
1. Stay calm
Yes, barking can be irritating, but you won’t be able to correct the barking behavior if you are frustrated about it all the time.
Shouting stimulates your dog to think you’re joining in. The results? He barks even more!
As a matter of fact: avoid yelling and remember that animals don’t follow unbalanced leaders.
2. Challenge your dog mentally and physically
Excessive barking can be the result of a dog’s pent-up energy. If this is the case, release that energy in more productive ways. Make your walks more challenging: go for a run or go biking with your dog.
Alternatively, try challenging your dog with some agility training, or obedience games.
If your dog is used to barking when left alone, before this happens try
- long walks
- games with the ball
And always keep in mind that a tired dog is not inclined to barking!
3. Relieve the boredom
Loneliness and boredom can cause excessive barking. Without any given purpose, the dog sometimes finds himself barking just for the sake of it.
Keeping the dog busy can reduce excessive barking
You can achieve it with chew toys, treats that takes time to be consumed, or puzzles stuffed toys.
4. Use commands
Tell your dog to stop barking using a look, a command (e.g. “Quiet” or “No”), or a physical correction. This will take a lot of practice and consistency, but you can definitely turn your four-legged friend into a better citizen with the right use of commands.
When teaching commands to your dog, staying consistent is the only key to success!
If the owner does not show commitment, the dog may fall back into the old habit of barking compulsively. Try to always be patient, wait until your dog submits and reward him often.
5. It’s ok to ask for help
Excessive barking can be caused by mental illness. If you have tried this all and nothing seemed to work, it’s probably time to contact a veterinarian. Only a professional doctor is able to estimate whether excessive barking is caused by the dog’s mental instability or not. Increase your cares as the veterinarian’s treatment begins and be patient.