Whether they are barking at another dog or trying to get your attention, dogs love to bark. Barking is one way they are able to communicate with the world. If a dog barks, there is usually a reason behind it. Since some breeds bark more often or louder than other breeds, you may find yourself dealing with a full-time yapper. Luckily, there are several techniques you can use to decrease the amount of barking your dog engages in.
Identify the Type of Barking
Being able to identify when your dog is barking and what they are trying to tell you will help you during the training process. Here are a few reasons why dogs bark:
- Greeting: Many people associate a barking dog greeting them at the front door with a wagging tail and kisses as a sign of affection; however, it may also mean that your playful pooch is trying to tell you something. They may be bored, hungry, or lonely after spending the day without you.
- Protective/Territorial: Dogs are especially territorial and often consider their area off-limits to other animals or people. When an animal or person encroaches on their territory, they may unleash in excessive barking that may sound quite aggressive.
- Fear/Alarm: It’s not uncommon for dogs to bark when they are started or fearful. Some say they do so in order to make themselves appear large and loud, while others say it is to scare off intruders and call for help.
- Loneliness: Dogs are social animals who travel in packs. When they are left alone for long stretches of time, they are known to bark in order to express their sadness. They may also be barking to gain the attention they are seeking.
Train Your Dog
There are several methods that are used to help your dog understand when it is okay to bark, and when they need to stay quiet.
- ‘Quiet’: Train your dog to recognize the ‘Quiet’ command. When the barking starts, tell them to ‘Quiet’ in a firm, but calm voice. When they stop barking, praise them and reward them for good behavior.
- Non-Verbal Cues: Dogs are also excellent at picking up non-verbal cues or signals. Try placing your finger in the hush position to signal your dog to stop barking.
- Bark Collars: There are several types of electronic training collars that are used to decrease a dog’s tendency to bark. These collars send low intensity stimulation to your dog when they are barking, and then quits when they stop the undesired behavior.
In addition to teaching your pet basic quiet commands, dog experts suggest using the specific situation to identify a solution to the barking problem. For instance, if your dog tends to bark while you are gone because they are lonely, try spending one-on-one time with your pet before you leave. Whether you play catch, take a long walk or run to the park, a tired dog is more likely to stay quiet and take a much needed nap.
Keep in mind, that the longer the situation continues without intervention, the harder it will be to correct the problem. Whether you use a dog training collar or an alternative method for decreasing your dog’s barking response, it is important to select a technique that will work best for your pet’s unique personality.