You may have bought your dog with the idea that it would guard your property, or they may just be a family pet. You may have expected the dog to only bark at specific people, and to be able to differentiate when it was appropriate to bark and when not to bark. A bark is a communication though, and the reason it is barking excessively should also be seen to communicate something.
Here we are going to give you some ideas as to why the dog might be barking excessively, and what to do about it.
- Why Is Your Dog Barking?
- How To Stop Your Dog From Excessively Barking?
Why Is Your Dog Barking?
Whatever the reason for your dog barking, it is most often not just barking randomly. There is going to be something that sets your dog off, and that thankfully means there is something that can be done to stop it from barking.
Dogs are territorial animals, so often they feel that they are doing their job. The bark is also used to say hello, and it is used to communicate distress. It may seem a strange thing to consider, but are you taking enough notice of your dog? If you are and your dog is still making a ruckus, then you should be asking yourself what is happening with them that your attention is not handling.
Territorial Protective Barking And The Handling
Dogs as mentioned, want to make you happy by doing their job, and part of their job, as they perceive it, is to protect you and your home. They are barking at every single person that walks by because that person could be a potential threat.
They are barking at other dogs and anything else that comes into the space for the same reason. When you get annoyed at them for doing this, it can be pretty confusing for them.
The best way to mitigate this is to limit what they can see, so they don’t feel that their territory is being invaded. They will be calmer and feel less threatened.
Alarm Or Fear
This can sometimes depend upon the size of the dog, as to whether or not the barking is derived from fear. Some smaller animals are going to perceive anything that comes into their space that is larger than them as something that might be able to do them harm.
One way to handle this is to take them out and get them used to being around larger animals, so they aren’t surprised or intimidated so much. The other solution is to make sure that the environment in which they are living limits their exposure to the coming and going of people in their space. If you live in a high traffic area, they are going to be constantly stimulated.
A Bored Lonely Dog
If you were bored as a kid, and no one was paying attention you might make a racket until someone came along and paid attention or gave you something to do. Dogs have a lot of energy that they need to burn off, and not having a chance to do that can make them bored.
The same thing that makes them bored may make them lonely as well, and they are going to whine or bark to let you know how they are feeling. If you are going to be away for a long time, or you have a dog that is prone to boredom and loneliness, you may want to think of getting a dog sitter, or at least someone who checks in on them and gives them some human contact throughout the day.
Hello, I’m Ready To Play
Your dog wants to say hello to you. Your dog, if it is friendly, probably wants to say hello to every person and dog that it sees. It is not a problem having a super friendly dog, but the amount of barking that comes with that friendliness and rambunctiousness can be a problem – if not for you, then possibly for your neighbors.
You don’t want to stop your dog being happy to see you, but in terms of saying hello to everyone else it really is a similar solution to some of the other problems – reduce the amount of people that they can see, and also reduce the amount of time they spend alone.
Separated From The Pack
Social animals, especially pack animals, can get very upset when they are separated from their packs, and this is what you could be seeing. If your dog was used to maybe having an adult around, and a bunch of children, and then all the kids went off to school, and all the adults went back to work, then the whole dynamic of the house changed for them.
Maybe you were ill and didn’t come home for a while, or you have a dog that was a rescue that got abandoned. It can be a very real prospect to some animals that they are going to be left alone and no one is going to come back for them.
How To Stop Your Dog From Excessively Barking?
Do Not Shout
One thing you really shouldn’t do is shout at your dog. The dog might think that you are joining in, and it is just going to continue.
The other thing is, if the dog is anxious, or it has been trying to please you by defending your home, you shouting at it is going to get the poor animal very confused.
Remaining calm and waiting until the barking has stopped is a much better tactic. If you are calm the dog is going to eventually understand that there is no reason for it be making all the noise.
If you think that anxiety is the source of your dog’s barking then there are some treatments that you can get which will help to calm them down. Some people choose to put their animals on anti-anxiety medication, but there is a growing trend of alternatives that can handle the problem without all of the harsh side effects.
CBD oil is a fairly new solution, and thus far there is primarily anecdotal evidence of its efficacy, and it is not legal for vets to prescribe it yet, but there are pet foods available with average doses for your pets.
Don’t worry, it is not cannabis, and is not illegal, and some pet owners swear by it.
Mental & Physical Challenges
You can turn being at home into a game, one that gives your dog treats for performing tasks, and it is going to occupy them at those moments where they get bored. Keeping them mentally active is going to reduce the amount of anxiety that they feel, and is going to also take their attention off the fact that they are alone.
You may want to make sure that they are in a space where they are not limited to how much they can run around, and where there is limited opportunity for them to cause any damage to your belongings, and where they can be a dog.
A Dog Friendly Home
All of the above and a little bit extra kind of feeds into this suggestion. If your dog is running around in a place where there are a lot of things that might get damaged, and you have displayed anger towards it before, for knocking things over, it is going to get stressed.
If you had to stay at home all day in the room you are putting your dog and you would get bored, it might too. You would get lonely the whole day alone and you know you are going to be gone and no one else is going to be there, think how your dog will feel. It is not hard to observe the behaviors your dog engages in, and see what needs it is trying to fulfil. The easier it is to be a dog in the space, the less stressed your dog and you will be.
Teach Your Dog The Word “Quiet”
Dogs do respond well to training, and any bad behavior that they are displaying can be trained out. Some people that are new to owning dogs aren’t familiar with how to train them, so their dogs receive no cues from the owner on what is acceptable.
This step may require you to get some training as well, but once you have established that the word quiet requires the dog to stop barking you are both going to be much happier. Your dog wants to please you, but it needs direction on how to do that. You may need direction on how to communicate that to your dog.
Tire Your Dog Into Silence
Your dog is jumping around and it is making too much noise and disturbing everyone. Just think about it – does your dog do that when it is tired?
Older dogs are less likely to be making so much noise, and they probably don’t require so much effort to tire them out.
If your dog barks at night and you need it to be quiet, taking it for a walk can handle that issue. It stands to reason that the same solution would apply in the morning as well. Want your dog quiet while you’re out? Have him run around some and burn off that energy.
Nip Problems In The Bud
If your dog starts barking a lot and you just let it run on and on without identifying the source of the problem, it is going to become an accepted behavior. At this point, the reason that initially caused the barking may have gone, but the dog now thinks this is how things are done.
Routine can be very important to making your dog feel secure, but you want that routine to be built on good behaviors and not bad ones. What if the problem that prompts the barking is serious and you leave it unattended? Your dog’s health could be at risk, or you may upset people you live near to the point they seek some kind of action against you and your dog.
Is The Barking A Medical Issue?
Your dog may have a very solid reason for barking. This suggestion obviously is going to require you to look at your dog’s normal behavior and judge whether the barking is something that has just become an issue, or if the dog barks a lot anyway, whether the quality of the barking has changed.
An angry or friendly bark are pretty easy to distinguish. A distressed bark and the kind of bark an animal that is ill may not be quite so easy to spot, but if you think your animal is ill you need to get it checked out. The barking may clear up when the medical problem clears up.
There are some pretty extreme lengths that people will go to to handle their dogs barking, and they are definitely an option if you are out of other choices.
Some people will not feel comfortable with the shock collars that are available, because they don’t want to cause their dog pain, and if there is a legitimate reason for the dog to bark it is going to get punished unnecessarily.
Citronella spray collars are a little less problematic, but still have the issue of causing pain to your dog. A step down from that are the audible or ultrasonic collars. All of these train the dog to a degree, but aren’t necessarily a good replacement for building a relationship between you and your dog where you take the lead.
This last suggestion edges into the territory of being more than a little controversial, and if you weren’t a fan of the collars, this is not going to be an option for you.
Debarking is a surgical procedure that actually lessens the dog’s ability to bark. It doesn’t totally remove it, but it is going to lessen the noise and the impact that it has.
Your dog is your best friend, and your dog wants to help you and make you happy. If your dog is behaving badly and barking too much there is a reason, and as you can see above there are things that you can do that will help to correct it.
Before you get anywhere near the more unsettling solutions, there are answers that are a lot friendlier to your dog, and which are going to enhance your relationship with your furry friend.