Dogs use various vocalisations to communicate with each other and with humans, yet their main go-to method is barking. While a bark here and there is normal, excessive barking in dogs can be a nuisance to both owners and their neighbours.
In this blog, you will see some simple yet highly effective methods to cure the excessive barking problem in your dogs, and they can be implemented quite easily as well. But before that, you need to understand the few reasons why a dog might be barking so much.
Few Reasons Why Your Dog Could Be Barking So Much
To Seek Your Attention: Dogs can bark incessantly just to receive attention from their owners. Even if you scold or yell at them, it only reinforces their behaviour as they have gotten your attention anyway.
Boredom: Boredom can also make a dog bark too much. It can happen if your dog is not having enough physical exercise or is not receiving good mental stimulation.
Fear and Anxiety: Certain people, objects or even places can trigger fear and anxiety in dogs, making them bark non-stop.
Territorial Nature: Although being territorial is a normal nature in dogs, some will bark at everything they see as a potential threat.
Separation Anxiety: This is one of the main reasons why a dog could be barking too much, where they are expressing their distress.
Highly Effective Ways to Cure the Excessive Barking Problem in Dogs
Since you have learnt a few reasons why your dog is making so much noise, here are some excellent strategies to cure this problem.
1) Identify the Root Cause
Trying to silence the dog without knowing the underlying reason can worsen the problem. If your dog is barking out of boredom, give them some engaging dog toys or go for a walk with them in your nearby park at least twice a day. If you think it’s fear or anxiety, consult your vet or a certified dog trainer who will help you in treating your dog’s behaviour.
2)Ignore Attention-seeking Seeking Barks
This might be a little challenging for first-time dog owners, although it’s definitely worth a try. Next time when your dog is barking for attention, don’t talk to them, yell or even make eye contact. Wait till they become completely quiet, and reward their silence with some delicious dog treats. This will make them realise that staying silent has its own benefits.
3) Teach Your Dogs The “Quiet” Command
Train your dogs to associate the ‘“Quiet” command to stop barking. Whenever they are barking, use a calm voice and say “Quiet” and do it till they become silent. Once they are silent, reward them with a treat to make them understand that this is a desired behaviour. You can gradually increase the duration of quiet time before rewarding them. This training may take some time, but it is highly fruitful.
4) Socialise and Desensitise Them To Their Triggers
When a dog is not socialised enough, it can bark at everything they see as a threat. Firstly, you have to take them outside for a walk daily, so that they get a good dose of mental stimulation. Secondly, you must identify their most common triggers and gradually desensitise your dogs to them. For instance, if they get triggered by cats, sirens or mail carriers, expose them to these triggers from a distance where they don’t bark. Reward their calm behaviour with treats or praise and slowly decrease the distance between the two.
5) Create a Cosy Space For Them
Dogs can also bark too much when they feel alone. What you can do in this case is provide them with a cosy space, where they can relax and retreat. You can set up comfortable bedding and give them a good chew toy to keep themselves busy. Ensure that they have access to fresh water for drinking and remove triggers like windows which are facing busy streets.
6) Consult a Professional
If you have tried all these methods and yet find your dog persisting with their barking behaviour, you need to show them to your vet or a certified dog trainer. They can see subtle signs and the causes of behavioural change in dogs and help you provide a training plan to overcome the barking problem. Experts can nip the problem in the bud so that they don’t become more serious in the future.
Training a dog to reduce their barking behaviour isn’t an overnight program. It needs a certain amount of consistency and patience from the owner. With the help of the above-mentioned tips and a lot of love and care, one can transform their noisy canine into a well-behaved fido.