It’s a doggone life without the gift of speech. So the next best thing that creatures with different vocal capacities like dogs do, for example, is bark. Or whine and howl. And sometimes, quite like the scene from Dr Doolittle, they just might get into the mood to do it all at once if there is a long doggy speech to deliver! The only way dogs communicate – and, like all of God’s creatures, communicate they must, with humans and among themselves – is through quite a few variations from the whole repertoire of sounds like yelping, barking, whining, howling or growling. While most everybody with dogs for pets understands a few reasons for their barking – the most common one being barking at danger or alarm barking, dogs are not strangers to overdoing it! They will keep at it so excessively at times that it no longer remains a mere form of communication, but instead becomes an endless nuisance to all and sundry. Once you have determined that all the ruckus is in excess of every sentiment it is otherwise known to convey, you need to establish the real reason/s for the excesses, only after which can you try to curb it.
Tips To Curb Excessive Barking In Dogs
When your dog gets into barking fits far more frequently and incessantly than there is reason to, you will know that you have an excessive barker on your hands. Controlling that behavior is going to be no mean feat! Following are some of the commonly known types of dog barking:
- Warning/Alert Barking
- Territorial Barking
- Anxiety Barking
- Playfulness/Excitement Barking
- Attention-seeking Barking
- Boredom or Frustration Barking
- Response Barking (Responding to Other Barking Dogs)
- Greeting Barking
- Compulsive Barking
- Socially Facilitated Barking
Once you find out just why your dog is getting an urge to make itself compulsively heard, you can start putting the checks in place. The best way is to remove all the known triggers. Care must be taken not to encourage problematic barking, even unwittingly! Ultimately, it is always good to keep your dog occupied with better things to do than barking.
- Ensure enough exercise for the dog. That leaves little unspent energy for the dog to keep barking.
- Do not leave your dog alone for extended periods.
- Do not encourage attention or anxiety barking by comforting or petting the dog, nor by shouting at it.
- Try to divert your dog’s attention with other gestures like clapping or whistling. Once quiet, reward it with a toy or a treat.
- Once calm, train your dog to follow basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘quiet’ to distract it, and to teach it to obey.
- Keep your dog well inside your premises, especially during a barking fit. A dog that constantly barks outside not only does not respond well to training, but can cause serious social repercussions on your neighborly relations!
- Do not mete out harsh punitive measures such as shock collars unless for a short duration and only on the advice of a dog trainer or vet or both. What can be used, however, is a dog halter, husher or muzzle, at the most, that too under your watchful supervision.
If none of these methods work, and your dog continues to bark inexplicably, it is time for a visit to the vet or trainer for a more in-depth diagnosis.