You don’t expect a dog not to bark. Well, not unless he/she is unwell.
But there are dogs that don’t bark (too much). Not because they are ill but due to their personality. Such dogs include breeds like Basenji and Whippet. These two are generally quiet and only bark when necessary.
As a dog parent, you might find yourself wishing your dog could just be quiet. If you have, your dog could be barking excessively.
What is Considered Excessive Barking?
Barking is a normal dog behavior. If you hear your dog barking, you need to pay attention because he/she could be trying to tell you something. But it’s also possible he/she is communicating with his friends — other dogs.
If you find your dog barking more than usual to the point of causing disruption, that’s your cue to take action.
What do you do?
- First, determine the cause of the excessive barking and any triggers. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, approach each cause differently.
- Take the time to understand the barking in detail; who is the bark directed to? When does he/she bark? Does the barking go on throughout the day/night?
- Have your vet examine your pup and rule out any health issues, including hearing problems. If the vet confirms no health issue, he may refer you to a clinical animal behaviorist.
If no health issues are causing your pup to bark excessively, what could be the other probable causes?
Reasons Your Dog Has been Barking Excessively and How to manage it
Dogs don’t bark the same way all through. How your dog barks at any given time will depend on his/her mood at the time.
To communicate, your dog will vary its barks by either:
- Changing the pitch (a low pitch bark means it’s a serious thing)
- Varying the number of barks in a row
- Altering the space between barks
So, why is your dog barking too much? Here are the other possible reasons:
If you keep leaving your dog at home alone with nothing much to do, he will start complaining of boredom sooner than later.
A bored dog will express his/her displeasure by barking continuously. He/she will also try to keep himself busy by creating his own fun ideas.
A dog’s unguided idea of fun could be:
- Burrowing in the backyard
- Chewing on your furniture
- Shredding your pillow
- Unroll tissue paper
I doubt you will find any of those funny when you come back home after a long day.
Once it’s clear that your pup is only bored, here are some suggestions on what you should do:
- Ensure the dog is exercising as it should so that he/she can spend his time resting until you get home
- Keep enough toys in your house and in your yard to keep your pup entertained
- Get creative when storing your dog’s day snacks so that it will be a little exacting to reach them
2. Separation Anxiety
Your furry friend will go into a period of unusual barking if you leave him alone for the first time.
Naturally, being a social animal, your dog will feel lonely when left alone.
It’s not wrong or unusual to leave a dog alone at home. However, you should train your pup from a tender age on how to cope with being alone.
Allow your dog to have some me-time outside even when you are home. Ensure he/she has sufficient toys to keep him/her busy as you go about your chores.
You could leave the house unnoticed, first for short periods, and gradually increase the length of time you are away.
Before you leave, ensure a safe place that the dog can get back to whenever he/she needs to.
3. Seeking Attention
Your dog could just be calling for your attention the best way he knows how.
But that is a bad habit that needs to be nibbed in the bud.
To avert lousy behavior, ignore bad behavior and reward good ones. So, whenever your dog barks, ignore him/her and avoid eye contact.
On the flip side, whenever he is calm and quiet, pop out a snack, give him/her a pat, and praise him/her. That will communicate that what he/she is doing is good.
Don’t use punishment tactics like anti-barking devices. These will only leave your pup confused instead of breaking the bad behavior.
Unusual activities can interrupt your furry friend’s routine and stimulate his anxiety. Your dog will respond by barking excessively.
Such stimuli will make your dog fearful. It could be strangers approaching your dog’s territory, scary noises, thunderstorms, and fireworks, among others.
Is there a solution for fear barking?
It’s called gradual acclimatization. It means introducing the feared object/sound by slowly decreasing the distance while reinforcing good behavior such as looking instead of barking.
5. Marking territories
Dogs are known to offer protection naturally.
Sometimes a dog will bark to communicate intrusion by a stranger. That’s because your dog will not always differentiate between visitors and intruders.
A predictable “visitor” such as the mailman can help you encourage calmness by giving your dog a treat whenever he remains quiet on seeing him.
Your dog’s barking should not raise an eyebrow unless it becomes disruptive. More times than not, there’s always an underlying cause for excessive barking. It could be health-related or behavior-related.
If the cause is health-related, your vet should be able to work that out.
However, if the cause is behavioral, you have some work to do as outlined in this article.
So, if you have been dealing with excessive barking from your canine friend lately, read this article to find a workable solution that fits both you and your pup.