Introducing a dog into your home is exciting and will bring the whole family joy. The friendly nature and kindness of dogs are why they are such a popular choice of pet. However, it is important to begin training them at a young age to help them understand when to bark, and when not to.
Although barking is a normal behaviour for dogs often used as a means of communication, excessive barking usually relates to an underlying issue.
How You Can Prevent Barking
There are a few ways to lower your pet dog’s excessive barking but it’s important to note it will take some time and patience. Just like humans, dogs take time to learn and need to be taught over a long period how to act. Slow and steady is the key to preventing excessive barking moving forward.
Understand What’s Causing Them to Bark
Understanding why your dog is barking can be ruff (pun intended). Dogs bark to express a range of different emotions, which can often make it hard to pinpoint why. Is it happiness? Maybe they feel lonely? No matter the reason, they are not doing it to purposely be a nuisance, so it’s important not to associate a negative reaction to their barking.
Here are the top 5 reasons your dog barks:
- If they are feeling unsafe in their environment
- Out of sheer excitement and happiness
- To warn about possible intruders or passers-by
- Separation anxiety because they miss you
- Attention-seeking or because they want to play
Learn How to Train Your Dog
Once you’ve begun to understand what the triggers might be that cause your dog to bark (such as a passer-by, or maybe to greet you when you get home), it’s now time to learn how to teach them not to. There are a few great ways to learn about the causes and solutions to stop your dog from barking.
There are some great online resources that can teach you how to train your dog to stop excessive barking. People in similar situations often share their stories online and explain how they managed to solve their dog’s barking problem. Have a look and find someone who was in a similar situation to your own, the tips they give to solve the problems might work perfectly for your situation as well.
Speak to A Dog Behaviourist
Finding the reasons behind your dogs barking can often take a lot of research and understanding of your pet’s emotions. If you are unable to pinpoint the main reasons for the excessive barking, it may be time to speak to a dog behaviourist. Dog behaviourists are trained in understanding what’s causing your dog to react the way it is and can guide you through steps you can take to help minimise the problem, and eventually help solve it. Having a clear guide through the training process will ensure you’re not wasting your time barking up the wrong tree (also intended).
Begin Training Your Pet Dog
So first, you’ve pinpointed the main triggers that cause your loved dog to bark. Then you’ve learnt some great ways to help solve the issues. Now it is time to put what you’ve learnt into practice.
As I mentioned earlier, it takes time to remove old habits and teach your dog new habits. Don’t expect your training efforts to pay off straight away, you’ll need to continue teaching them how to behave over and over. But while you are teaching your dog, it’s important to keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind.
- Don’t allow the problem to go on, curve their behaviour now.
- Use Positive Reinforcement when they refrain from barking.
- Ensure your dog gets enough exercise, tire them out by taking them for a long walk.
- Get your dog checked by a vet, some medical conditions can cause excessive barking.
- Shouting stimulates your dog. Speak calmly and firmly but never shout or swear.
- Never use electric bark collars. They are cruel and do not correct your dog’s behaviour.
- Never strike your dog. Negative reinforcement won’t work and is extremely cruel.
You’re such a big part of your dog’s life, if not the biggest. You protect them, you feed them, you play with them, everything they get to experience in life is with you. It may be hard and take some time to teach dogs the correct way to behave, but don’t give up on them. They are doing their best to give you a great life, just as you are for them.