Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Dogs bark and that’s just a fact. Not wanting your dog to bark is like telling your child to never talk! But some dogs do bark excessively. If it becomes a problem, the first step is figuring out why your dog is barking. Once you know why she is barking, you can fix the problem.
Why Dogs Bark
Barking is just one type of vocal communication that dogs use. What the barking means can vary depending on the situation. Here are some possible reasons why dogs bark:
Territorial/Protective: When a person or an animal comes into a space that your dog deems his territory, it may cause your dog to bark. As the person or animal gets closer, the barking usually gets louder. Your dog will look alert and maybe even aggressive during this type of barking.
Alarm/Fear: Some dogs bark at any noise or object that catches their attention or startles them. This can happen anywhere, not just in their space.
Boredom/Loneliness: Dogs are very social animals. Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time can become bored or sad and often will bark because of it.
Greeting/Play: Dogs can bark when greeting people or other animals. It’s usually a happy bark, accompanied with tail wags and sometimes jumping.
Attention Seeking: Dogs may bark when they want something, such as going outside, playing, or food.
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: Most dogs can get lonely when left alone, but dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. Other symptoms that accompany the barking are pacing, destructiveness, depression, and inappropriate elimination. Compulsive barkers seem to bark just to hear the sound of their voices. They also often make repetitive movements as well, such as running in circles or along a fence.
How to Treat Excessive Barking
Training a dog not to bark takes time, work, practice, and consistency. It won’t happen overnight, but with proper techniques and time, you can see progress.
Here are a few things to note as you start your training to control your dog’s barking.
Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because he thinks you’re joining in. So speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell.
Most dogs don’t know what you want when you’re yelling at them to “shut up.” So train your dog to understand the word “Quiet!” by rewarding them when they are quiet and not when they bark!
Redirect your dog to a behavior you would like instead of the barking. We are so quick to say "No! Don't do that!" but how is your dog supposed to know what to do if you don't tell them? If your dog is barking out to window, use a "Go to Your Place" cue and direct them to lay down.