Barking is completely natural! It’s our dog’s form of verbal communication, but sometimes it can get a little out of hand. And when it does, it becomes an affair that extends beyond you and your family, affecting people around you - this could be your next door neighbour, the mailman, and even your Deliveroo driver! While it’s easy to simply dismiss your dog, a better alternative would be addressing the reasons behind the barks.
Bored barking is often continuous and monotonous in nature - these are the sounds of lonely and bored dogs. It could come from dogs who are left alone at home or from dogs who are left outside with nothing to do, both of which leave you with memos from your neighbours. To fix this: bring outdoor dogs in - many of them are content to laze around the house quietly all day. For indoor bored barkers, leave them with an interactiveKONG toy to keep them engaged for a couple of hours or get him a newZippyPaws buddy!
Attention barking is a trained behaviour where your dog learns to associate barking with getting what he wants. If not corrected early, demand barks can escalate quickly from low grumble and whines to insistent, loud barks. An easy way to rectify this behaviour is to simply ignore him - no treats, no attention - do not accede to his demands! The longer this behaviour has been allowed, the more persistent he’ll be when you ignore him. Turn your attention to him only after he stops barking. Be firm and be consistent when using this method so that your dog understands he won’t be able to elicit a response from you with barks.
If you have a particularly territorial dog, you’re probably desensitized to the bouts of hysterical barking every time the doorbell rings or when someone passes by. This type of barking is driven by a perceived threat to their territory or people (you). Powered by loud, sharp, and authoritative barks, your dog is sending a verbal message to the ‘intruder’ to get off his property. If this instinct to protect is not honed properly, it could possibly morph into more aggressive behaviours. Focus on recall and basic obedience training to ensure that his territorial behaviour remains under control.
Stress barking is most common in dogs with separation anxiety. They verbalize their anxiety of being left alone through their high-pitched, hysterical barks with some whining, as a form of self-soothing. Stress barking is also prevalent in timid dogs or those with other kinds of anxiety. Signs of a panic attack can also include pacing, destruction of furniture, depression, etc. TheseArk Naturals calming pills act as a quick solution to calm your dog down. However, this is a serious condition and you may wish to consult a qualified professional behavior to come up with a long term treatment program utilising positive modification methods.
Not to be confused with stress barking, arousal barks are often triggered by something that piques your dog’s attention. Pretty similar to attention barking, except this time the barks are not directed at you but rather at the thing he wants. Common scenarios include too much excitement right before a walk or during playtime. This is where the ignoring game comes into play again - only give him attention when he stops barking.
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.