ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Stop a Dog From Barking in the Yard

Updated on January 25, 2018
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a former veterinary hospital assistant, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Barking in the yard is quite a common behavior we see in dogs and many owners wonder if there's a way to stop it. Barking in the yard or fenced acreage, may be perceived as a prized attribution when owners have livestock that need protection or when they need a deterrent for their homes.

Some owners though may see this as an annoying behavior, or perhaps, the owners may not care about the barking, but likely the neighbors do. When this happens there can be serious issues in close-knit neighborhoods. Whether the barking takes place during the day or during the night, you may be wondering what to do in such a case?

There are several products on the market ranging from no-bark collars emitting shock, to ultrasonic devices, to citronella spray bark collars. While these may seem to be a quick fix for dogs barking in the yard, they may lead to "side effects" and more problematic behaviors down the road.

For instance, if we take a look at how dogs learn, we can see problems with such devices. Dogs do not always necessarily associate only their barking with the shock, spray or ultrasonic sound. They may start associating other stimuli with the shock, spray or annoying sound.

For instance if the dog is barking at people walking by and receives the shock, spray or startling sound every time, he may start associating people with these unpleasant consequences.

Some dogs may even associate being in the yard with the shock, spray or sounds even to the point of no longer wanting to be in the yard and having accidents in the house because he dreads going outside.

Barking is an outward manifestation of an internal emotional turmoil, it is therefore important to address the underlying cause of the barking s to tackle the root problem.

Dogs barking in the yard
Dogs barking in the yard | Source

First Some Facts About Dog Barking

There are several types of dog barking, and sometimes you may need to put on your investigative hat to identify the main reason why your dog barks when out in the yard. Following are some facts about dog barking.

Do Dogs Really Bark at Nothing?

Sometimes dogs may seem as if they're barking at nothing, when in reality they may have a lot to bark about. Dogs are blessed with a superior sense of hearing compared to humans. While you don't see any flying birds or people passing by, your dogs may sense noises on frequencies humans are unable to detect. Also, consider that what a human can hear at 20 feet, a dog is capable of hearing at roughly 80 feet according to Service Dog Central.

When your dogs bark, therefore, they may be responding to other barking dogs at a distance (barking can be a socially-facilitated behavior), to critters emitting squeaks at high frequencies or other sounds you may be completely unaware of.

If they're alarm barking, yelling at your dogs when they're in this strong state of arousal will not work and may sometimes actually contribute to increasing their arousal as they may not realize you are yelling at them but may rather think that you are also trying to scare the intruder away, joining in the barking!

Barking is a Self-Reinforcing Behavior

On the other hand, consider that your dogs may be also barking due to boredom or because they're seeking attention. While you would expect a nice, large yard to provide enough stimulation to keep your dogs entertained, they may indeed find a form of entertainment, but definitively not what you would expect.The constant barking may be a way for your dogs to spend time and fill up the day.

Also, consider that barking is often reinforced. For instance, if your dogs bark at the mail carrier and the mail carrier leaves, they'll will feel more entitled to bark in the future.

This occurs because, from your dogs' perspective, their barking behaviors are an effective strategy in sending unwanted visitors away. Add on top of that the fact that barking is often self-reinforcing, meaning that dogs get relief when they're anxious, frustrated or stressed and let their bottled-up emotions out.

Watch out for Attention Seeking Barking

There's another form of barking in the yard, the rebellious type of a dog who is protesting about being left outside. If your dogs are barking for attention or because they want to be inside with you, consider that yelling at them will further reinforce the behavior.

If your dogs don't see you for a good part of the day and the night, they may be eager to have all the attention they may get. If you wake up from your sleep to scold them for barking, you may have therefore reinforced them with negative attention. From a dog's perspective, negative attention is better than no attention at all. They got to see you, hear your voice and they will want to see and hear from you more and more. The barking will therefore intensify and continue more and more.

Going to the Root of the Barking Problem

You are right to be concerned about your neighbors. Barking problems are some of the most common causes for disputes in tight-knit neighborhoods.As mentioned, using shock collars, ultrasonic devices and citronella collars may not work (or work only initially) and they can also have deleterious effects on dogs. Also, if you're considering bark collars, consider that they may be activated by other nearby dog's barking which would lead to an unjust punishment.

When a behavior such as barking is punished, often another even worse behavior replaces it. So to solve the problem you really need to go to the root of the barking behavior. Suppressing the barking without considering the underlying emotions is counterproductive. So why are your dogs barking and what can be done about it? Following are some possible solutions:

How to Stop a Dog From Barking in the Yard

Doggy Day Care. If you are away most of the day, most likely your dogs aren't getting much exercise and mental stimulation. Yes, a large yard may seem like a good solution, but as you can see, it encourages unwanted behaviors and frustration.

A trip to a daycare facility each day can help tire your dogs so they can sleep soundly at night.Alternatively, have a friend or neighbor stop by during the day to keep the pooches company or take them on a nice long walk. If you have friends who love to hike, ask them if they would a companion for their outings. A pet sitter may work too.

Bring the Dogs Indoors. When a dog is indoors, there's much less to bark about. The difference is often astounding. Many of my clients report dramatic changes in their dogs' barking tendencies once they convert their dogs to an indoor life. If the dogs bark at windows it may help to limit access to them or mask outdoor sights with some window film. Also, if kept indoors, there should be fewer chances neighbors will hear them bark as the walls help muffle the barking.

Darken the Rooms During the Day. Close the blinds and untie the curtains so that your dogs are less inclined to bark at outdoor stimuli and may feel like taking a nap. Add white noise such as a radio or a TV so the outdoor sounds are muffled. Providing them with some safe chew toys and safe food puzzles may also keep them busy before falling asleep. Chewing releases helps release endorphins which causes a dog to relax.

Provide Loads of Exercise and Mental Stimulation in your Free Time. I bet you saw this coming. Walk your dogs, play games, enroll them in some sports. Train them. A tired dog is a good dog that is less likely to bark.

Prevent Rehearsal of Behavior. Keep in mind that the more your dogs are let out to bark, the more they get to rehearse the unwanted behavior. This continuous rehearsal will keep the barking behavior alive and thriving. Understanding the trigger for your dogs' barking behavior and preventing them from rehearsing will go a long way. In some cases, where no solutions seem to work,and the barking behavior persists, the intervention of a force-free behavior professional may help.

© 2014 Adrienne Janet Farricelli

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      3 years ago from the short journey

      Glad to see useful tips offered for dog owners. Neighbors that allow their dogs to bark incessantly are really the offenders in such a situation. Hope this will make the rounds in communities/neighborhoods for springtime!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the very useful tips and ideas, alexadry.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      These are very helpful tips on ways to stop dogs from barking all the time. The best part was when you said, don't punish the barking but get at what's behind it. Oftentimes a dog barks because it wants to communicate with you.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      4 years ago from USA

      Yes, barking at outdoor stimuli can be quite habit forming!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Dogs find something to bark at and won't stop but your ideas sound useful when trying to stop them from barking.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)