Do you realize your dog is frequently barking? Have you ever thought what can be the reason behind it? Here is complete information about the barking problem of dogs, its causes, and reasons in detail that helps to stop a dog from barking.
Let us first see why do dogs bark? There can be many reasons behind it. Dogs use barking as a mechanism for communicating. Not only communication but they bark when they play, either see any stranger or feel alone.
Indeed, dogs also bark to seek the attention of their owners when they feel lonely, but sometimes, they start barking, which is not the behavior you would like to see. Hence, it is somehow essential to train him so that he does not bark unnecessarily. But before this, try figuring out the cause because of which he barks so you can try to resolve the barking problem.
We will be addressing some essential reasons for dog barking and their solutions as well. It’s important to know that these techniques and training mentioned below will help you out in reducing the habit of your dog’s barking.
Presenting a complete guide for you, have a look!
What are the most common reasons why dogs bark?
There can be many reasons for your dog’s barking. It can either be seeking attention, demanding for something they need, seeing strangers, and hearing other dogs barking. Al these different situations can be categorized back in 6 main reasons, which we will address in a more detailed manner.
1. Territorial / Protective behavior of a Dog
This type of barking is also known as ‘Defensive Barking.’ This is when dogs barks at the moment when they notice strangers, a dog, or an animal in his territory. Your dog can have several locations of places that he sees as his territory, e.g., your car, or the area where you travel, the route you pick for your walk most often. It can be any place to which he is heartily associated and affiliated to.
In case of fear, or possible threats, you will notice this will be mostly triggered by strangers and will start barking in a somewhat extreme manner. The more he barks, the more the threat gets nearer and nearer. The dogs bark because they feel that someone is crossing their territory and wants to protect you and family ( they see you and family as part of “the pack”) from any harm and will, at the same time, warn you and the stranger that something is happening.
Some examples of signs and symptoms
** The doorbell may cause extreme anger with some dogs
Sometimes the dog’s behavior may become intense, which can be harmful to you as well; therefore, make sure that you remain safe when the dog has signs of being in an aggressive state. The dogs may become territorial aggressive when he is in 6 months of age, but the characteristics fully appear in the age of sexual maturity, which is up to 3 years.
Not all dogs have the same way they show their territorial behavior. It depends on whether the dog shows instincts or not. Some can be very aggressive and be driven by extreme instinct; other dogs react mildly but still bark.
Of course, we should not forget that there can be underlying reasons for this behavior as well.
To name a couple:
- Inadequacy of the required socialization training during the puppy phase.
- Medical situation – hidden?
- An overprotective pack mindset.
- Unfriendly attitude/character, etc..
How to stop a dog from Barking – Territorial / Protective Dog Barking?
Read the below guideline to know how to stop your puppy from barking. You will understand and learn the correct method to train your dog if he does territorial barking frequently.
Start providing him training sessions and command him to be ‘quiet’ as he barks for the first time. Sit with your pet near the window and let him look outside and watch the strangers or other dogs passing by. You should also have a bowl full of delightful treats for him. Adhere a leash to its collar. As some stranger passes by, he will bark for sure.
When he will bark, immediately command him to be ‘quiet’ in a normal and friendly tone. Do not repeat your command. If he stops barking, appreciate him, and offer him the treaty delight.
If he does not stop barking, move him a little away from the window. The moment he will stop barking praise and reward him promptly. Start this practice by increasing the distance of your dog from the window.
As soon as he follows the command, instantly reward him with some treat. When he notices that he gets consistent rewards every time he follows your direction, this good behavior will start developing in him. He will stay away from territorial barking for the next time.
I agree it is quite challenging to phase out the habits of territorial barking entirely but at least keep trying consistently. You will surely get the fruit of your efforts one day. Though this is a difficult job to do but do not worry once your dog learns and practices this again, and again it will feel completely relaxed.
And one more thing he will most likely not stop barking entirely but will reduce it to a great extent. Moreover, if this training does not get successful at all without any progress, we recommend to visit a vet to check the medical condition, and the vet can also advise and support next steps.
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2. Alarm / Fear behavior of a Dog?
Unlike territorial behavior, different sounds, and sight/visuals can also initiate alarm barking in dogs. Moreover, dogs may become triggered by fear as often they don’t recognize the particular sound or cannot explain (yet) what it is what they see. This type of barking is called and recognized as alarm barking, and it can happen anywhere, not only at home.
Sometimes a dog barks to warn or inform you of any risk around you. Besides alarming someone, this could happen because of any disinterest, restlessness, and anxiety. Whenever your dog is in a state of fear, you will notice certain signs in him which are as follows:
- Panting ( heavy breathing – being nervous)
- Pinched Tail
- Leveled and Flattened Ears
- Avoiding eye contact
- Masking from others and hiding
These signs only appear if your dog is scared. Moreover, when this happens, try noticing the actual cause of which your dog is getting afflicted. Occasionally, dogs can get frightened from any noise in the surrounding, any person walking-by, feathers, balloons, or butterflies, etc. So try to get a good understanding of the actual fear trigger – reason.
The best way to stop dog barking is by removing the actual reason – trigger which he gets afraid of. You can further investigate and monitor your dog by examining its gesture and body language. Dogs portray some gestures and actions such as wiggling tail and exposed teeth.
During barking out of fear, your dog’s body will become stiff and a little inflexible. Not only this, with every single bark, but it will also move one or two steps ahead. This means that your dog is alarm barking. It is also important to note that your dog not only alarm barks in his familiar area, being irritated with any sight or sound, irrespective of its content, but he will also start alarm barking.
As the owner, you have to take care of him and interpret the signs to understand the cause of his barking. Once you identify that why your dog is barking it will get easier to curtail it slowly and gradually.
How to stop a dog from Barking – Alarm / Fear Dog Barking?
First of all, a first step should be to get your pet dog a quick checkup from the vet. Sometimes if your dog is in pain, he can get aggressive too. If everything is ok, then find the cause which is making your dog frightened. When you see that your dog is scared, try comforting and soothing him so that he may feel relaxed.
Do not enforce anything on your dog in an aggressive state. Let him calm first. Try to find out the actual reason which triggers its anger and fear, once you have determined that reason, expose your dog to that in a “very controlled” environment. What is often underestimated is how you, as the owner, will behave in this situation. Never forget that your dog is almost always taking you as his anchor-point and will analyze you carefully to see if you in any way, are also affected by what is triggering him.
Make sure that you are keeping everything in a comfortable and controlled manner. By gently repeat this step and be determined and in a consequent way, you will provide the right atmosphere and confidence for your beloved dog. You can repeat this practice, again and again, to have a decisive drill for them. Then take him to a walk or let him play with you. Pairing a negative situation with this treat for your dog develops his interest, and he will calm gradually. Go with him to a peaceful place where he can enjoy nature along with you.
When you comfort your dog, he will consider it as a reward because closeness and devotion for them are highly rewarding as they love being intimate and attached to you.
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3. Boredom / Loneliness behavior of a Dog
When you leave your dog all alone and go to your work, your dog barks at everything. This is because he feels lonely at home and has no one to play with. Therefore, he gets dull and fatigued.
Sorrow and unhappiness trigger the dog, and your dog gets fed up with isolation, hence bark excessively. This is a type of barking termed as Boredom or Loneliness Barking.
The best way to stop your dog from barking is always to rule out any medical discomfort and have a quick medical check done by your vet.
By nature, dogs are pack animals i.e., they live together, and when they are left unaccompanied and abandoned, they become unhappy and as a result, can get annoyed and will start barking as he want to express he is very unhappy with the situation.
How can you avoid that your dog is feeling lonely and is bored? The answer is to investigate his behavior and what type of signals you see.( so try to check on him when he thinks yu have left the house)
- The dog is wandering here and there in the house and is not playful; then definitely, he is feeling lonely.
- The dog is looking for items to bite on, a chair or table which he is trying to break.
- The dog keeps sleeping all the time and doesn not pay attention to triggers
- The dog starts licking and rubbing his body and fur again and again.
- And of course the barking during various moments when you are not at home
These are the major signs that your dog exhibits if he is feeling sad and is lonely. Try getting him a companion to play and spend time with. He will love this for sure.
How to stop a dog from Barking – Boredom / Loneliness Dog Barking?
When you leave your dog all alone in the empty house, he may get bored and develop boredom and disinterest. As a result, he starts barking. The best way to stop dog barking is by creating an interactive atmosphere for your dog, such as get him some companion like another dog to play with when you are out.
Secondly, buy him enough toys so that he keeps playing with them and does not get bored. You can also entertain him by some sounds or arrange a caretaker for him who can look after your dog when you are busy or out to work. There are also WIFI items that can help out, there are special dispensers, including a camera where you can keep your dog being distracted because he will get some nice treats, and you can even communicate with him via the camera and speaker. Here an overview of great items that will definitely help!
One of the best ways to kill your dog’s boredom is that take him to an early morning walk with you. After coming back home, he will be tired and will take some good relaxed quality time for his sleep and rest.
When you have some free time, try putting in some quality time for your dog by amusing him, playing with him, or you can go together for a walk to relish the purifying and soothing air. Another important trick is, before you leave, to have him search for things.
We use ourselves with our Duck Tilling Retriever a very attractive treat that we will hide in or outside the house. Our dog will search for the treat, and this is a very intensive activity for the dog. After 10 minutes of searching for the various treats, he is tired and feeling great as he found back all treats.
Another way is to have him play with dog-puzzles, a mind game for dogs is as intensive as a search for treats and can be compared with a 1 hour outside walk with the dog. Here you can find some great examples of dog puzzles
Start training your dog so that he may develop getting used to spending some time alone. In our situation, we left the house and told the dog verbally that we would go for grocery shopping. First 10 minutes and built it up to a way longer period.
When we leave the house, we always say we are out for grocery shopping…. It works perfectly.. especially after a long walk or some searches for treats.
4. Greeting / Play behavior of a Dog
While greeting someone, your dog barks happily and joyfully this is called greeting barking. This someone can be any person who comes to your house or it can be other dogs. If your dog barks at people, he is greeting and welcoming them.
This shows that your dog is very cheerful and delighted. Do not consider this as an aggressive bark but it is a contented and cheerful bark welcoming the person or another dog.
The following are the signs that your dog is pleased and relaxed.
- You will feel that he is relaxed and calm.
- He will continuously wag his tail and roam around you.
- He will enjoy and play with you again and again and will enjoy your company and attention.
- His ears will not be stiffed and flattened but relaxed and saggy, which is one of the most significant signs showing your dog’s contentment.
- He will lean again and again against you.
Furthermore, your dog also barks while playing. Just think for a while when you play games, do you remain silent? You will, of course, play with him too, and he will see that as a confirmation that all is good.
Hence dogs do bark when they are happy. Barking not expresses the aggressive and frustrated attitude of your dog only but he also shows that he is excited, overjoyed, and pleased. So, let him play and enjoy but make sure to consult a vet or trainer to reduce his habit of barking. Barking is not bad until he gets extreme.
How to stop a dog from Barking – Greeting / Play Dog Barking?
If your dog continues to barks a lot during playing, adopt ‘End Playing Technique’. When you are playing with your dog, and he starts barking. Stop playing with him. You can also curve your back at him so that he feels that you are less happy with his behavior.
Give pause of a few seconds and start playing again if he is not barking and is quiet. Repeat this practice, again and again, make sure to increase the time interval in every turn.
After this technique, you can also train your dog by giving him the ‘quiet’ cue or demand. As soon as he starts barking, immediately command/instruct him to be quiet. Ask him in a very polite manner when he gets relaxed start playing again with him. If he barks again, give him the command of being quiet once more when he follows your instruction and gets quiet, reward him with a treat or a friendly gesture.
5. Attention Seeking behavior of a Dog
Everyone likes attention! Right? 😊
Yes, your dogs like attention too! To make that clear to you, they will bark, and this is known as Attention Seeking Barking. Maybe your pet wants to go out with you, wants to eat something, wants to play, and he wants to communicate this to you. You can also see his posture and behavior change when he is asking for your attention. Attention Seeking Barking is also called Demand barking.
Dogs have a couple of ways to let you know he wants your attention and can sometimes confront you with unexpected behavior such as urinating or interrupt your conversations.
The following are signs portraying that your dog needs attention.
- Excessive bumping
- Carrying toys to you continuously
- Jumping on you
It is quite OK that your dog bark for some time and do not give him anything. Once he stops barking, then award him with any good treat or delight that he wants. This will help develop a good habit in him that he will only be rewarded when he will remain calm.
It is fine if you spend almost 1-2 hours with your pet, playing and spending time with him. But as dogs are pack animals; hence, they love to spend most of their time with someone and do not love to be alone and unattended
How to stop a dog from Barking – Attention Seeking Dog Barking?
Most of the time dog barks to get attention from his owner but sometimes dogs start barking so much that it may cause disturbance for everyone or the habit of barking is become an automated reaction that the dog is using way to often.
Than it’s necessary to train him to reduce and slowly eliminate his barking habit.
Experts advise that if you want to train your pet just force him into a situation where he demands attention and your time. When he frequently barks to seek your attention just ignore him completely, walk away, and do not pay attention to him. In this way, your dog will learn that he cannot get attention by barking.
6. Separation Anxiety/Compulsive behavior of a Dog
If your dog is separated from his keeper, he can get disturbed physically and mentally, and he starts howling and growling. He can start urinating irregularly and infrequently in the house.He barks louder than normal and wanders around the house here and there. They bark again and again and listen if anyone if responding on his barking in a repetitive manner.
Some of the signs that appear in your dog’s behavior if he has separation anxiety are:
- Dejection and desolation
- Walking back and forth repeatedly
- Biting and Scooping
When the dogs are separated from the ones to whom they are most affiliated to, a sudden change in their behavior takes place. This is so because they are attached to their guardians. After they are being separated, they become extremely upset and disorganized.
Here it is important to note: dogs do not display this behavior in front of their keepers or guardians; rather, this change in behavior occurs when a dog is lonely.
It is better that you train your dog to play or remain busy doing something when you leave the house, and he is alone. After getting trained, your dog learns to keep himself busy playing, eating or doing something, and hence he does not suffer from anxiety and depression.
How to stop a dog from Barking – Separation Anxiety / Compulsive Dog Barking?
It is quite difficult to deal with this type of behavior i.e. Separation Anxiety or Compulsive Dog Barking. You can train your dog by leaving him alone and departing in front of him just for a few seconds. After 15-20 seconds, come back. Calm and make him relaxed.
Repeat this activity several times and make sure that you keep increasing 10 seconds in every attempt. You can also make sure some of your clothing (something you were) is left behind, the smell/ odor related to you, and will help him be comfortable and feel your presence around him every time and will not feel alone. This can help you reduce his excessive barking to some extent or stops completely.
Whatever behavior your dog is portraying never be harsh to him. He, being a part of the family, wants to get close to you and demands your attention. Just relax him and try changing its habits positively. He will respond to your command and will follow your instructions.