Curing your dog's barking problem
When your dog is barking night after night, robbing you of precious sleep, you realize there is a problem. You become upset with the dog, yell at him or her, but nothing seems to work. This is not only unsettling you to and your family, but it can also become problematic for your neighbors, resulting in noise complaints. What you might want to realize is that there are a number of reasons why your dog is barking in the first place and addressing these concerns should be your first priority.
Why is Your Dog Barking?
The way a dog communicates is through barking. Whether they are upset or happy, different dogs will bark for differing reasons. In order to find out how to stop the barking (at least at inappropriate times), you need to think about these possible reasons:
- Something is frightening them - Whether it's a stranger or a rodent, dogs bark at things they do not recognize. Removing these things might help to solve the barking problem.
- Something is threatening them or you - When your dog is loyal to you, it's only natural that they want to protect you. If they feel that you or they are in danger, they might bark to alert you and to scare away the dangerous person.
- Something is wrong with them - Some dogs will bark when they are in pain or when they don't feel good. If you have reason to believe that your dog might be ill, you might want to take them to the vet to get treatment.
- They are simply lonely - When you aren't around a lot or you don't spend a lot of time with your dog, they can attempt to get your attention by barking at you. This is a common problem when owners take on high maintenance dog without any understanding of the dog's social needs in relation to their living situation.
Ways to Help Stop the Barking
When you have addressed the problem that is causing the barking, often you will see a dramatic decrease in the dog's outbursts. Here are some ways that you can begin to cure the barking problem:
- Reassure a dog when they are frightened - By stroking your dog and talking to them in a soothing manner, you can begin to let them know that being frightened isn't something that is necessary. This often takes place when the dog is meeting someone new. Slowly introduce the dog to the new person to help tone down the barking response.
- Pay attention to the barking when it seems like it might be warning you - Go to where the dog is barking if you sense that he or she is trying to warn you of something. They are often just trying to get your attention and your reassurance that everything is okay. If the dog is barking at another dog, you can always move them away from the offending dog to help settle them down.
- Make sure to interact with your dog - When your dog is left along for long hours when you are at work, you might want to make sure you have plenty of play time with them before and after work to help keep them engaged. Or you might want to consider taking the dog to a doggy day care business where they can have social interaction during the day.
- Be consistent with your reactions - If you choose to scold your dog when they bark, be sure that you do it every time in order to keep their behaviors in check. Any deviation from the scolding might cause the dog to get mixed messages as to what is expected of them.
You may also have seen training systems that involve an electrical shock collar, but these systems can often provoke a dog more than they can help with their barking. Try to use these simple behavioral methods first before resorting to a more severe method of training.