19 Feb 2010
The natural way that dogs communicate is by barking, whining, and howling. Dogs express what they want to say to humans. We also want our dogs to bark as a warning of a potential danger or protect us form harm. These forms of canine expression can become a problem when it becomes excessive. The effective solution is to let your dog understand when to bark and when to be quiet. It’s our job to teach this important thought to our dogs. The minute you notice that your dog has a barking problem then start working on this problem before it is too late. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to correct the behavior. It is a good idea to train your dog with Speak/Quiet commands. I know that it is easier said than done. This is possible with dedication and consistency. Don’t lose hope. Your dog can learn to how to bark on command and be quiet at the same time.
The reason why dogs bark
First of all, you can target the problem by knowing why dogs bark. Dogs will bark for a variety of reasons. They just don’t bark in order to annoy you and your neighbors. In fact, other breeds of dog bark more than the others and actually bred to be barkers. Some breed like the Basenji does not bark at all but vocalize in other ways. If you listen close enough, you will eventually learn the meaning behind the different barks of your dog. Thus, the crucial step to make toward correcting the barking behavior of your dog is to understand the reason why. Here are reasons why dogs bark:
It is pretty common to hear a dog bark when someone is at the door or when strangers pass the car or house. Most dogs bark when they sense some type of threat more like announcing, “You can’t go near here or else I’ll bite you.” The sound of this bark is sharp, loud and authoritative. You can train this dog instinct to help protect your family and home.
Dogs cope well when they express an anxious bark. It is an of self-soothing for many dogs. It is often high-pitched and sometimes accompanied by whining. This type of barking is common when dogs experience separation anxiety.
This kind of barking is very common in young dogs or puppies. You hear a playful bark when, of course, they interact and socialize with people or other dogs. The sound of this bark sounds upbeat and musical. Some dogs make an excited bark when they know they’re going to get a treat or out for a ride or walk.
You know what this bark means when you hear it. It as if your dog says “Hey! Hey! Look! Here I am!” This tone is similar to the tone of a whining child.
The bark of a bored dog is the same to a dog that barks just to hear its own voice. It may sound annoying to you but is also sad to hear. Dogs that are bored often make this sound to release excess energy or just utter sense of loneliness. A walk or playing time may be just what your dog needs to beat boredom.
Responding to other dogs
You might have seen your dog do this. When one dog down the street starts to bark then one by one the other dogs in the neighborhood joins in the barking session.
Put a stop to excessive barking
By know why your dog barks excessively, you can now start to control the behavior. The best way to prevent excessive barking is to try to get rid of the possible source of the behavior. You should be certain not to encourage your dog to bark when not needed. You can also give her activities to divert her energy besides barking.
• Make sure your dog gets enough exercise so there is no excess energy to use just to bark.
• Don’t leave your dog alone in long periods of time as much as possible.
• Never encourage your dog to bark when you comfort, pet, or feed it when it barks for attention or out of anxiety.
• Don’t shout at your dog to stop it from barking. It can cause your dog to bark even more.
• Avoid using shock collars as punishment. Only are they painful and unkind, your dog will learn how to test the shock collar and eventually work their way around them.
• Get her attention with a clap or whistle. At the moment she is quiet, redirect her attention to something more productive and rewarding such as toys or treats.
• When you get your dog’s attention, practice basic commands such as sit and down in order to shift its focus.
• Do not ever let your dog bark constantly outside. You can hardly train her to stop barking by yelling at your dog across the yard. It is a sure and quick way to turn neighbors into enemies and the local police to pay you a visit.
• Train your dog to learn how to speak and be quiet.
• Consult your veterinarian or trainer if you continue to have barking issues no matter how hard you try to manage the problem.
• Consider the idea of a “De-barking” surgery with your vet.
“Debarking,” or cordectomy, is an elective surgical procedure that involves partial removal of a dog’s vocal cords. It does not remove your dog’s ability to bark rather it makes it sound more quiet and raspy. In this dog lover’s opinion, debarking surgery is unnecessary and unfair to the dog. Most often cases, barking problems indicate an underlying issue that is usually behavioral. Surgery may eliminate the noise away, but the anxiety, fear or similar problem remains. Why not spend your time and money on training and/or visiting a veterinary behaviorist rather than debarking your dog? Surgery and anesthesia always are risky. You should carefully think any procedure a hundred times. If you want to debark your dog purely for human convenience and does not medically benefit your pet then this solution should be avoided.
When other dogs bark in excess
The sound of dogs barking is considered to be a type of noise pollution. It can turn into a nuisance then a nightmare most especially when you try to sleep or sleep. You can politely approach your neighbor to discuss the matter or write a civil yet direct letter. You may try kindly suggesting a local dog trainer or behaviorist. Many people prefer to contact the neighborhood association to act as a moderator. As a last resort, you may need to call the police. Be mindful, however, that this last resort can be damaging to your relationship with your neighbors. On the other hand, you may let the barking issue slip after a certain amount of sleep deprivation.