Barking is a natural behavior for dogs – it’s a way for them to express how they’re feeling – and to some degree hearing barking is part and parcel of being a dog parent.
However, too much barking can get annoying, both for you and others in your household, and for your neighbors, as nobody likes to hear a dog barking constantly. But what can you do if you think your dog is barking excessively, and not even the best dog toys are distracting them? Dog trainer and owner of Camp Lucky Board and Train Aaron Rustici has some tips to share.
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First off, do your best to understand and appreciate that barking is normal. But, you can teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command – this way, you’re not preventing your pup from engaging in natural behavior by barking, but you are making sure he knows not to keep barking.
Keep your dog exercised. As Rustici says, “A tired dog is a good dog.” After exercise, your dog’s energy levels will be lower, and they’re less likely to bark as frequently. And, use distractions if you can. Does your dog like barking when they see the mailman, for example? Just give them a toy when he’s due to come by – this will keep your pup busy.
“Reward your dog for not barking,” continues Rustici. “This can make them associate silence with rewards.” He brings up the example of one dog who’d always bark at passing cars, but began to stop when she realized she gets rewards for not barking.
Dog won’t stop barking, even after you’ve tried the above advice? If you’re still struggling, however, professional training could be an option – though it is a more expensive one. And, if you can’t get to the bottom of your dog’s barking, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet.
Sometimes, an underlying health condition can cause the barking – particularly if the barking is accompanied by other signs of discomfort or unhappiness, or if you have a senior dog who may be adjusting to changes in their hearing or vision, for example.
Regardless of what might be causing your dog to bark so often, remember that it’s important not to look for quick fixes, or yell at your dog to stop barking – even if it’s one of those stressful mornings when it might be tempting to do so. Your dog might think you’re barking alongside them – or, you might scare them.
And if you’re still not sure why your dog likes to bark so much, here are three reasons why your dog barks at everything (and how to stop it).
Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been influenced directly from the Instagram post cited.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.