How Can I Stop My Dog From Barking So Much?

Dogs are known for vocalizations, but excessive barking can become a problem. It can cause disruption in your home, embarrassment when walking your dog around the neighbourhood, and even unwanted attention from authorities. 

However, many dog owners find it difficult to understand why their dog is barking more than usual and have no clue how to behave in such a situation. This article will explore the most common reasons why dogs may bark too much, the reactions you should avoid, and the actions that can help you solve this issue.

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Why Does My Dog Bark So Often?

Dogs are highly social animals and tend to bond closely with their owners, so when they bark too much, one reason could simply be that they are trying to get your attention.

In other situations, excessive barking could be caused by something in the environment that unsettles them. Some of the most common triggers include changes in their environment, unfamiliar people entering the home, sudden loud noises, and so on. Keep in mind that dogs are naturally protective creatures and often bark to alert their owners of potential danger. They may feel the need to protect their home environment from any perceived intruders, even if they are authorized guests that pose no threat at all.

Barking could also be a way through which dogs communicate physical pain, discomfort, or excessive stress. This behaviour can be difficult for owners to interpret, as symptoms may not always be consistent or easily recognizable. So it’s crucial that owners are aware of potential illnesses and conditions that may affect their pets and contact a professional when in doubt.

It’s also important to remember that certain dog breeds are much more prone to barking than others. Popular breeds that are known for their talkative nature include Beagles, Border Collies, and Foxhounds. These types of dogs all have particularly high energy levels, making them likely to bark more often than their quieter counterparts.

Behaviours to Avoid When Your Dog Barks Too Much

When dealing with excessive barking, it is important to not yell, scream, or scold them as a response. This could lead to increased levels of anxiety or aggressiveness in the animal. Try refocusing their energy through calming techniques such as speaking in a softer and gentler tone or using body language to demonstrate that you are relaxed and not angry with the dog. Resorting to methods like lowering your shoulders, slowing down your movements, and turning away from the dog, can positively affect the animal’s demeanour. 

Avoid harsh punishment, such as shock collars or other negative reinforcement devices. These tactics can not only be harmful and distressful for the pet but also result in the opposite of the desired effect. It’s also important that you never reward them during the episode, as this can increase their barking.

How to Stop Excessive Barking

Create a distraction – If your pup is barking out of boredom or for attention, creating a distraction can be a great way to redirect their focus away from excessive yapping. One way to do this is by offering them a new toy to play with it. Taking them for a walk around the block can also be an effective distraction. This will give your pup physical exercise and help it burn off some excess energy and excitement.

Establish clear boundaries

Establishing clear limits and expectations for your pup can be essential to keeping their barking in check. Set up rules that you want your pup to follow and teach your dog to abide by them through positive reinforcement whenever it obeys commands such as “quiet” or “no bark.”   

Provide regular exercise

This is one of the best ways to curb excessive barking. Not only does regular physical activity help release built-up energy, but it also has mental benefits. Exercise helps stimulate your pup’s mind by providing new experiences and activities, which can help reduce the boredom that may be causing them to bark. 

Use sound therapy

This is another great method you can use to reduce excessive barking in dogs. Soothing sounds like calming music, bird songs, soft white noise, and natural waves crashing on shorelines are all examples of sound therapy that can benefit dogs by creating a calming atmosphere around them.

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Photo by Andy Powell on Unsplash

When Does My Dog Need The Help of a Veterinarian?

When your dog’s barking is persistent and of an abnormal pitch or intensity, it may be a sign that something is wrong. In this case, you should take them to the veterinarian for a check-up. This barking can indicate discomfort or pain, which can be caused by anything from an infection to ear mites. 

Dogs who display signs of distress when they bark, such as panting, pacing, or salivating excessively, should also be taken to the vet as soon as possible. These symptoms could mean that your dog is in physical discomfort or pain from an illness or injury, so getting them checked is crucial to preserve their health and well-being. 

Suppose your dog’s barking has become so frequent that it is interfering with their sleeping patterns or disrupting the peace and quiet in your home. In this scenario, you should address the issue immediately by bringing them to the veterinary clinic for an evaluation. In some cases, excessive barking can be linked to anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety which requires professional diagnosis and treatment in order for your dog to feel better.

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