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Barking is a form of vocalization that dogs use to greet people (excited bark), assert their territory, express fear, seek attention, or because they are plain bored. While barking alone is not a problem, excessive barking certainly is. Let’s take a look at how you can curb excessive barking in your pet.
What is causing your dog to bark excessively?
Does your dog bark excessively every time you leave the house? If this is accompanied by destructive behavior, inappropriate elimination or repetitive pacing, then your dog may have separation anxiety. Lack of exercise and stimulation may be another reason that may be causing your dog to bark excessively. When your dog barks compulsively it feels a rush of adrenaline, which may cause it to continue with the habit. If left as is, it may even cause your dog to behave aggressively. Being pack animals, dogs look up to their owners (leaders) to take care of their needs. Whether it is a lack of discipline or exercise, barking is how dogs tell you that something is amiss.
Excessive barking could also be as a result of medical conditions, or injuries. Senior with canine senility may show excessive barking. Visit your local vet if you think your dog may be showing excessive barking due to an underlying condition.
Do’s and dont’s
Don’t pick up your dog when he barks excessively, as they will associate it with a positive response. It’s as good as telling your dog that they will receive attention/affection every time they bark excessively. Do not yell or respond frustratedly when you hear your dog bark excessively. Shouting back will only have them believe that you would like to join the barking efforts. Use a calm voice, a gesture or a look to tell your dog to stay quiet. Your dog may momentarily stop and then go back to the habit, but stay patient and tell your dog to be quiet without losing your calm.
If your dog has a tendency to bark compulsively when you return or leave home, then it is probably because you make such a big deal of these situations, as dogs do not inherently behave this way. Do you think that pack animals greet each other with excited barks each time? A couple of tail wags and sniff arounds is all they use to greet each other. So the next time you leave or get back home, do not make a big deal of it. You do not want your dog to wait with excitement for you to return, and for the excitement to turn into boredom, leading to excessive barking. Get your pet a few toys so they learn to keep themselves busy and learn to be home alone.
A little bit of physical and mental exercise can go a long way in controlling excessive barking in your pet. Often, dog’s use excessive barking as a means to spend pent-up energy. Evaluate your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you can include obedience or agility training methods to keep him stimulated.