At the top of the list of problems we dog owners have is excessive barking. It is important to remember that dogs are not born with behavior problems but develop them when their owner fails to guide them properly during their puppyhood so think kindly of your pet and know that you can solve nuisance barking with some patience and know how.
Issues can appear at any time in a dogs life of course but the first 8 to 16 weeks are the most critical time to teach your dog to be a well trained and well adjusted pet after this time they can be a little harder to teach.
When a dog develops the problem of endless barking it can be a nightmare for both you and your neighbors. Pity the poor folk who live nearby, unable to sleep at night and with their nerves jangling with the constant barking. If you’re the owner of such a dog you too may be feeling very frustrated as well as feeling the wrath of your neighbors or worse yet a visit from the Police due to the complaints they’ve received.
Dog Barking Causes – He May Simply Be Lonely
While there are several reasons that dogs develop this problem, it’s been found that the prime reason that dogs behave this way is because of loneliness. Dogs are pack animals and need company (a bit like ourselves) and they don’t like to be alone for long periods of time.
Is Your Dog Nervous Or Bored?
The next likely reasons are he may be bored or nervous. Your dog can learn to be to be content and keep themselves busy when they are left alone. Try the following ideas:
- Start slowly by leaving your dog for short periods of time in another area of the house. Do it at irregular intervals and when you always return he will soon realise he’s not going to be abandoned.
- Don’t make too much fuss over him before you leave or after you return to him as this will increase his sense of loneliness when you’re gone.
- Try giving them a stuffed chew toy (such as a Kong Toy
– my dogs love these or a Buster Food Cube). These can keep them busy for ages.
- Dogs enjoy the sound of music or people talking so you could leave the radio on.
- Make sure your dog is well exercised as that will make it easier for them to relax and sleep while you are out.
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Below are more helpful ways to deal with your dog’s barking problem:
- Have your dog eat at regular intervals. When they’re thirsty, dogs will respond to nature by barking for water. Dogs produce a different kind of howl, bark or growl when they want food. Feeding them at regular intervals would let them know when to expect they will get fed.
- Be certain your dog gets enough daily exercise. Dogs have energy reserves; they must use it up daily. If not, they get jumpy. Whether it’s rain or shine on any given day, let your dog have enough exercise – no exceptions. When the sun is out, just be imaginative with indoor exercises.
- Bring home a toy or a second dog to keep your little friend entertained. Dogs suffer separation anxiety if left by themselves for a long time. Keeping him amused or with company effectively de-stresses the dog and keeps him calm. If you’re entertaining a guest with their dog along, don’t let yours see this. Stay out of earshot when you’re into something interesting. Dogs like to take part in activities and would bark for it.
- It’s important for your dog to know when barking is appropriate and when it isn’t. One of the first commands you should teach your dog to obey is, “Quiet.”. Dogs can be fiercely territorial. They bark at anything unusual. Being warned to strange things or people around your house is a good thing. However, you’d like your dog to just stay and watch delivery people, joggers and the usual passers-by quietly. Teach your dog to discern strangers and bark only at them. But the most important of all is to have your dog learn to cease barking on a single command.
Controlling the Barking
Advice from the Experts:
- If we want to control barking, we need a dog that can obey us and relax. The dog needs to look to her owner for behavior clues. If we can call her, have her lie down (dogs do not bark as much when lying down) and stay, we are well on the way to solving a nuisance barking problem. In addition, there are some common principles we can use in modifying barking behavior.
- First, in most cases shouting “No” is only going to make matters worse since the dog is thinking you are barking too (and is probably happy you joined in).
- Be consistent. Pick a one-word command e.g., “Enough” for the behavior you want and always use that word in the same tone of voice. Everyone in the household must use the same command and act identically.
- Be patient with your dog and yourself. Changing behavior takes a lot of time, and you need to take it slowly, one step at a time. If you become angry at your dog, the chance to correctly modify the behavior will be gone.
- Reward the dog for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is much more powerful than punishment. Physical punishment will do nothing but make your dog fearful of you and break down the bond you wish to have with her. Often, picking a very special treat like small pieces of cooked chicken or hot dog will make the reward seem even better. As time goes on, you will not give a treat every time, sometimes just rewarding with a “Good Dog” and a pat on the dog’s chest.
- Do not hug your dog, talk soothingly, or otherwise play into your dog’s barking. Your dog may then believe there really was something of which to be alarmed, afraid, or anxious. This reinforces her behavior and she will likely bark even more the next time.
Control the situation. As much as possible, set up situations to use as training. Practice in short, frequent sessions, generally 5-10 minutes each.
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