Solving Dog Barking Problems
SOLVING BARKING PROBLEMS
Barking is a natural thing, and hearing a few noises out of your dog should not be alarming. However, when it becomes a habit to be barking at inappropriate times, that is when the problem needs to be addressed. If your dog is barking, it can first help to find out why.
WHY IS MY DOG BARKING ALL THE TIME?
There are many possible answers as to why your dog is barking. The possibilities include: barking for attention, boredom, to protect against a perceived threat, outside noises, fear, anxiety, and other possible reasons. Pinpointing the reasons for the barking will be key to solving it. There are different methods to solving the barking depending on why they are barking. So let us delve into each common reason for barking, and how to solve it.
SOLVING ATTENTION-SEEKING BARKING
Let us first discuss why your dog may be barking for attention. If they are left alone for long periods of time, if they are lacking enough toys, or larking either mental or physical stimulation, they are most likely barking for attention or out of boredom. Solving this type of barking is actually relatively easy, and can easily be maintained with physical and mental exercise. Setting aside more playtime, bringing more toys into the house, playing fetch, and even walking a different route, will keep them both physically exercised and mentally exerted.
More serious approaches to this problem can include making the dog park an everyday activity, your dog will get to socialize with other people and dogs, play and enjoy the outdoors. Similarly, if you have to work long hours, instead of leaving your dog home alone, try out a doggy daycare near you. Your dog will be properly monitored, and all dogs must be completely vetted to go! However, this does come with a small daily fee.
SOLVING PROTECTIVE BARKING
If your dog barks when he hears noises outside, he sees someone approaching the house, or perceives a threat, your dog is using barking as a protective behavior. Solving this will require more aggressive training than previously discussed. One of the easier tactics could be to expose your dog to the stimulus that triggers their barking, in order to desensitize your dog from it. Have more friends come over, approach the house, and knock on the door. Tell your dog to “sit,” and once seated, allow your guests to enter. This shows your dog that people who come in the house, are not threatening, and they do not have to be on guard to protect the home.
Teaching your dog a “quiet” command can be useful in this instance as well. There are many methods on teaching this command, so be sure to do some research before starting. However, once they have learned this command, you can more easily quiet and calm them down when barking. If you believe you need even more help with this, taking a local obedience class with your dog can help, and you will also have access to a trainer to ask additional questions.
SOLVING FEAR/ANXIETY BARKING
If your dog barks during storms, fireworks, or other big noises, or if your dog barks when you are gone, your dog is most likely barking out of anxiety and fear. Let us begin with fear barking, separating your dog from the thing they are scared of such as thunder, by putting them in the basement where it will be harder for them to hear the loud noises is a way of stopping the barking, but not curing it. Fear responses in dogs are hard to correct because they don’t always understand what is happening, which is why removing them from the situation, or at least minimizing their exposure to it, is one of the best ways to deal with it.
There are also products on the market to help combat fear barking, for example, the ThunderShirt, is a shirt for dogs, that compresses their abdomen to calm your dog, much like swaddling an infant. It has been shown to be over 80% effective in reducing anxiety, drug free, andThe veterinarian recommended with no training required! You can use this during thunderstorms, as the name suggests, or on the fourth of July for fireworks, when traveling, or to even help combat separation anxiety.
Regarding barking from separation anxiety, utilizing the crate is a great tool for solving this. This goes along with my previous article on How-To Crate Train Your Dog. Essentially, leaving your dog alone in their crate for short periods of time throughout the day, before leaving them for long periods of time, should help aid in treating separation anxiety in your dog, and subsequently, solving the barking.
OTHER METHODS: ULTRASONIC ALARMS
Ultrasonic alarms are devices that emit a high-pitched frequency, too high for human ears to detect, but unpleasant for a dog to hear. The idea behind these devices are that when a dog barks, you activate the alarm as a form of punishment to deter the dog from barking. Your dog will begin to associate barking with the unpleasant loud noise, and will be discouraged from barking.
While it will not harm your dog, vets warn that these devices may not be reliable, as there is no way to know if it actually works or not. Using this device may not solve the problem, although many believe in the training power it yields.
OTHER METHODS: ANTI-BARK COLLARS
A more highly controversial, and misunderstood way of solving problem barking involves anti-bark collars. Common misconceptions are that they emit a shock to dogs when they bark, however, more modern versions of these devices do not shock at all, they vibrate, which is just as unpleasant to a dog as a shock. If you decide to utilize this method, it is important to do extensive research on this type of deterrent, and additional research, on the specific device you choose to use. Make sure it does not shock, and the vibration is not too strong.
© 2020 Makenzie Houston