This is the dog who’s left out in the backyard all day, and maybe all night. Dogs are social creatures, and the backyard dog is lonely and bored. Boredom barking is often continuous, with a monotonous quality: “Ho hum, nothing else to do, I may as well just bark.” This is the kind of barking that’s most annoying to neighbors, and most likely to elicit a knock on your door from a friendly Animal Control officer.
Certain dog breeds bark more than others. In fact, some types of dogs were actually bred to be barkers. This may be so they could alert people about dangers, protect homes, or even scare prey out of hiding for hunters. On the flip side, the Basenji does not bark at all (though the breed can vocalize in other ways).
Compulsive barkers bark just to hear the sound of their own voices. As with dogs suffering from separation anxiety, they will often make repetitive movements, such as running in circles or pacing along a fence.
The fine line between fearful and excited can be especially difficult when you’re dealing with on-leash reactivity, and Spaulding says leash-reactive dogs should probably be evaluated by a certified professional.
The bad news is that if you just can’t get your dog to shut up in the wee hours, you’re probably not the only person who has a problem with it. In a 2,000-person survey conducted on dog barking in New Zealand, 75 percent of the participants indicated that they would be bothered by a dog barking at night. Dog barking and howling ranked highest among all other forms of suburban noise pollution. A New York Times article on the same topic confirmed that a nonstop barking dog is one local disturbance that can pit neighbors against each other.
Busy toys: (helpful for attention seeking/demand barkers, boredom barkers and separation distress barkers) both boredom barkers and separation distress barkers benefit from having something to do when their people leave the house. Hard rubber toys that dispense treats are a great way to keep them occupied and happy when alone. They’re also great for dogs that bark for attention. For example, if your dog barks at you every time you get on the phone, give him a busy toy to keep him occupied while you make calls.
“Yay, Mom’s home! Mom’s home! Mom’s home!” If your dog hails you with hellos when you return after an absence, it’s time to shift into ignore mode. Stand outside your door and wait for the cacophony to subside, then enter calmly; no rousing hug-fests or “I love you! I missed you!” sessions. When your dog is quiet, then calmly greet him. If he starts to bark again, mark the barking with an “Oops!” and ignore him again.
Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.
One reason that it’s so easy to live with dogs is that they’re very expressive. They find a way to let us know their needs. They often do this by barking or whining. Indeed, we find it desirable when they bark to ask to go outside to eliminate or to request that their water bowl be filled. It’s less attractive, however, when your dog barks to demand anything and everything, needed or not! This pattern of barking does not happen by accident. A demanding, noisy dog has been taught to be this way, usually not on purpose! To get your dog to stop, you’ll need to consistently not reward him for barking. Don’t try to figure out exactly why he’s barking. Ignore him instead. Treatment for this kind of barking can be tough because, most of the time, pet parents unwittingly reinforce the behavior—sometimes just with eye contact, touching, scolding or talking to their dogs. To dogs, all of these human behaviors can count as rewarding attention. Try to use crystal-clear body language to tell your dog that his attention-seeking barking is going to fail. For example, when your dog starts to bark for attention, you can stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog or walk out of the room. The instant your dog stops barking, ask him to sit and then give him what he wants, whether that’s attention, play, treats, to go outside or to come in.
At DoodyCalls, we spend a lot of time with our dogs. In fact, our dog Rusty—who looks a whole lot like our mascot Doodle—sleeps right next to me at night. Although hard to wake up in the morning, once he’s up he says hello with a good morning kiss and quickly gets ready to go to work.
It’s really normal for dogs to bark. They bark to warn another dog to stay out of their territory, they bark when happy or at play, thy bark when danger seems near, and they bark when they are about to attack or are afraid. Admittedly, too much barking can be annoying, which is why dog owners really have to take a healthy and practical approach when learning how to stop a dog from barking. Waysandhow.
Have you become desperate to figure out how to get a dog to stop barking? It’s in a dog’s nature to bark. They enjoy barking, and they bark for many reasons. They will bark when they want something, when they are playing, when they are establishing their territory, when they are frightened, when they are annoyed, and when they are just saying “Hi!” Too much barking, however, can drive a dog’s family–and their neighbors–crazy!
Say “Go to your spot,” show your dog a treat, and then throw the treat onto the spot where you’d like your dog to go. Repeat this sequence 10 to 20 times. By the tenth time, try pretending to throw the treat so that your dog begins to move toward the spot on his own. As soon as he’s standing on his spot or rug, throw him the treat. As your dog catches on, you can stop making the fake throwing motion with your arm and just give him the cue, “Go to your spot.” Then wait until he does and reward him.
Dogs engage in territorial barking to alert others to the presence of visitors or to scare off intruders or both. A dog might bark when he sees or hears people coming to the door, the mail carrier delivering the mail and the maintenance person reading the gas meter. He might also react to the sights and sounds of people and dogs passing by your house or apartment. Some dogs get especially riled up when they’re in the car and see people or dogs pass by. You should be able to judge from your dog’s body posture and behavior whether he’s barking to say “Welcome, come on in!” or “Hey, you’d better hit the road. You’re not welcome at my place!” If you’re dealing with dog in the first category, follow the treatment outlined in this article for greeting barking (below). If you’re dealing with a dog in the latter category who isn’t friendly to people, you’ll be more successful if you limit your dog’s ability to see or hear passersby and teach him to associate the presence of strangers with good things, such as food and attention.
Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes him bark) at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats!).
This is not a comprehensive list and you are likely to find various other products to help you stop your dog’s excessive barking. But, these are by far the most humane and also very popular among pet owners who have problems with barking dogs.
Even since spring came by and I started working outside, he barks constantly. He barks when he’s outside, when he’s in the house, when I’m asleep. At first I thought that’s because he wasn’t getting enough attention but even when I play with him he barks. I can’t do anything without him constantly driving me insane.
If your dog barks at any and every noise and sight regardless of the context, he’s probably alarm barking. Dogs engaged in alarm barking usually have stiffer body language than dogs barking to greet, and they often move or pounce forward an inch or two with each bark. Alarm barking is different than territorial barking in that a dog might alarm bark at sights or sounds in any location at all, not just when he’s defending familiar areas, such as your house, yard or car.
Let’s look at this from the dog’s point of view. A dog in the home is in its den, and there are often potential threats passing by (anything could be a problem seeing as they are in a world they don’t really understand). Often, dogs will bark at the passing person/dog/bike/car/hot air balloon (this last one comes from personal experience a few years ago in the Netherlands). How many dog owners thanks their dogs for letting them know? What is the usual response to a dog barking? It’s OK, there is no need to tell me; I may not understand Dutch but I can tell if someone is happy or not…
Territorial behavior is often motivated by both fear and anticipation of a perceived threat. Because defending territory is such a high priority to them, many dogs are highly motivated to bark when they detect the approach of unknown people or animals near familiar places, like their homes and yards. This high level of motivation means that when barking territorially, your dog might ignore unpleasant or punishing responses from you, such as scolding or yelling. Even if the barking itself is suppressed by punishment, your dog’s motivation to guard his territory will remain strong, and he might attempt to control his territory in another way, such as biting without warning.