The truth is, dogs bark, not all barking is bad, excessive dog barking can, however, drive one nuts.
It is totally normal for every dog to bark, it is how they communicate with us. Dog’s can bark for all sorts of reasons, like when an unfamiliar face is at the door. Humans rely greatly dogs to be their ears, and to alarm us when something out of the ordinary is going on. Having said this sometimes dogs just bark unreasonably, at everyone and everything. If this is the case with your dog, it would be wise to discover why your dog is displaying this behavior.
Dogs use many kinds of vocalization to communicate with each other, this communication happens from a very early stage of life. Your puppy could be making a crying noise when it is hurt, or a mewing like sound when it wants heat from its mother or siblings. As a dog grows older it makes five main sounds: howls, growls, grunts, whines and barks, each of these sounds will be applicable to a different situation.
Do some breeds bark more than others?
Studies have been done to establish if some breeds of dog bark more than others. There is no real evidence of males barking more than females and vice versa, but it is certain that some breeds definitely do bark more than others. Examples of these breeds are Beagles and Terriers. Excessive barking is in no way limited to purebred or mixed breed dogs.
Some basics to look at:
Dogs sometimes do what they think their humans are expecting of them. In order to attend to the problem we very often have to address the way we handle the situation.
- Almost in all cases just shouting “No” will only make matters worse, your dog will be thinking that you are “barking” alongside him and that his behavior must be correct in that situation.
- Consistency is key to good training. Choose a word, that is easy enough for a one word commend eg, Quiet and when your dog is barking use that word in the same firm tone of voice. Train everyone in the family to use the same word for the same behavior.
- Training and Re-Training an excessive barker is not an easy task, so best to be patient here. Giving up and yelling at your dog will only reinforce negative behavior.
- Reward your dog for doing the right thing, positive reinforcement goes allot further than punishment, which will only lead to a fearful dog in the end.
- Do not play into your dog’s barking by hugging him, or talking in a soft tone of voice. Your dog may believe that there really was something to be fearful or anxious about and be reaffirmed in his behavior.
- When you think you have done all you can, do not be afraid to call in the experts. A couple of visits with a qualified animal behaviorist might just change your life.
There are many different kinds of barkers, let’s look at some:
In itself warning the household of strangers is not a bad thing. If your dog barks when he sees the mailman, and the mailman leaves your dog thinks to himself, “job well done”. One or two barks should be enough to alert the family and you should teach your dog, that you will take it from here. Use your command word “quiet” so that your dog knows his job is done.
From a very young age, dogs learn that barking will entice some form of attention from their humans. Attention is attention whether it is positive or negative. In these cases, the best thing is to just ignore your dog completely. When your dog stops barking, reward your dog with a treat.
Play or excitement Barkers
If your dog barks too much during play, it is better to take a slower pace. If this is still not working stop the game completely until your dog has stopped barking.
This type of barking is very much the same as dogs who are seeking attention. Dogs who are bored needs a more stimulating environment and need to be kept busy while we are away. Try to add some more exercise into the daily routine and it could also be beneficial to invest in some puzzle toys for your dog.
Prevention is better than cure
When your dog is a puppy almost everything he does will be cute. The same behavior will not be as cute or accepted as an adult dog, so try to be proactive from an early start to avoid problems later in your dog’s life. Teaching him your command word eg “Quiet” from an early age will do you much justice later in life. Introduce your young puppy to as many situations that might cause anxiety later on. Walk him on a busy street, expose him to strange sounds like the vacuum cleaner. Just always keep in mind to not overexpose your puppy to too many things at once.