How Do I Stop My Dog Barking?

All dogs bark. Well, unless they are a Basenji but even they make a noise equally annoying if its excessive. Dogs bark for a number of reasons, most of which are normal canine communications. However when it becomes excessive, it can be hard to tolerate.

Why Does My Dog Bark?

Dogs bark as a way of communication. They could be alerting us that someone is coming near to the territory, they could be calling for a mate or expressing excitement or stress. However, if excessive, it is most likely to be stress or attention seeking. With attention seeking she barks and barks and barks until you have just had enough and commonly will shout when telling her to stop. But this just encourages her as she thinks you are joining in too so it actually confirms to her that it’s ok to do. It also makes you stop what you are doing and she gets that longed for attention from you. If through stress, she could be suffering with anxiety where barking actually can relieve some stress as well as communicating their anxiety. It may be fear based where she hasn’t been socialised with the fear source. The stress can also be caused through boredom.

What Can I Do To Stop My Dog Barking?

Treatment for excessive barking largely depends on the reason why. Treating an anxious or fearful dog with the same method as attention seeking for example would make the anxiety or fear ten times worse. However, regardless of the problems root, excessive barking is always easer to rehabilitate if she is drained sufficiently both physically and mentally. In most but not all of cases of excessive barking that I deal with, a lacking in either stimulation (or both) is the most common cause. Boredom can cause stress and anxiety. It can also cause her to crucially find a job to do and if no limitations or boundaries are in place the obvious job for her to do is to become responsible for the survival and safety of the pack…..resulting in stress. So, if your dog is barking excessively, make sure she is drained sufficiently and get lots of mental stimulation to begin with. Commonly, that can solve the problem and remember a tired dog is a happy dog!

Maddie Knight

ACC.Ad.Dip.Can.Psy AMACC Canine Psychologist and Behaviourist
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