How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
Incessant barking can hurt your relationship with your dog. This article will help you decrease, if not altogether stop, unnecessary barking.
Nothing is more annoying than listening to the constant static of a barking dog. However, sometimes it's not so simple to get them to stop. A dog's natural instinct is to bark.
Breaking the habit will take some work, but is worth it for peace of mind.
Leaving a Dog Alone
Dogs often bark when left alone. You should do your best to keep them happy while you're away. Leaving a radio or television on makes a dog believe nothing has changed and that you are still in the house somewhere. Also, leave plenty of the dog's favorite toys lying around. Toys are a great distraction and a dog will probably wear themselves out playing before they realize you're gone.
Another good idea is to leave the dog in their favorite room. Blocking them off in a certain area regularly will teach them to be happy in the area whether you're around or not. This prevents any anxiety, making them bark less.
Barking for Attention
A dog barks and you give it attention. Dogs are very intelligent. They learn that if they bark, you will pay attention to them. Instead of encouraging the behavior, only give them attention if they ask quietly. A sharp reprimand may be all it takes to stop a barking dog. Dogs notice the slightest change in voice and will learn that excessive barking is bad.
You can also allow a dog to sleep in the room with you at night. Instead of barking all night wanting attention, they are near you and satisfied. You may have to make a few compromises, but remember that you are trying to break a natural instinct.
A vocal reprimand is not always enough. Some popular ways to stop the barking instinct are bark collars and squirt bottles. A squirt bottle is obviously the cheapest. However, some dogs love water and this may not work too well for some. It is worth trying though. Bark collars give the dog a small electric shock at the push of a button from the owner. When they bark, owners push a button and the shock gradually stops the behavior.
Sometimes a dog trainer is needed to completely break the habit. The earlier you provide training, the easier it is to break a dog from barking. A trainer will teach you how to prevent bad behavior with just a word or simple action. The trainer will teach the dog how to correctly respond to the word or action. Training is great for dogs, not only to prevent barking, but other bad habits.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. A common cause of barking is simply the result of a dog having too much spare energy. Play with them, give them plenty of attention, and let them have as much exercise as they want. Instead of barking, they will be content and relax.
Some dogs simply have anxiety problems and need medication from a vet to help calm them. If this is the cause, then none of the above solutions will work. If you've tried everything and nothing seems to work, then a trip to the vet may be in order. A vet will be able to diagnose and give the dog something to help them deal with their anxiety.
Identifying the cause of the barking is the hardest thing to do, but just pay careful attention to your dog and when they bark the most.
Once you know the cause, start using the tips above to stop the excessive barking so that you, your neighbors, and your dog can all relax in your new found peace and quiet.