Why Does Your Dog Bark?

by Alessia

There are a number of reasons why your pooch is barking, and by identifying which reason it is at which time, the behavior can not only be dealt with, it can probably be fixed completely. Many dog owners who return adopted dogs do so because of behavioral issues, largely due to loud barking and seemingly uncontrollable barking. To answer the question of ‘why does your dog bark‘, read on.

Boredom. If there seems to not be any particular stimulant encouraging your dog to bark (i.e. neighbors outside, a doorbell ring), it is likely that your pooch is just bored and looking for some attention or an activity to perform. If your dog is getting little daily exercise, it’s most likely true that he is full of energy and super bored. Especially if a bit of separation anxiety comes into play, while you’re gone, a low or non exercised dog will be so completely bored that barking may be the only behavior he feels he can resort to in order to deal with the fact that you’re gone and he’s alone with nothing to do. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise daily, and if you are out of the house for most of the day, consider a doggy day care a few times a week or a dog walker to come into your home and let the dog run outside, or to take him out to the dog park or around the block, possibly with other dogs if he is well socialized.

You spoil him! It’s seemingly impossible to look into your dog’s begging eyes and not give in, whether it’s for food, to play, or to go for a walk. While it may seem completely impossible, it is necessary to make sure that you are not overindulging your dog. If your pooch is living in the lap of luxury surrounded by toys, being table fed, always receiving treats for no reason other than overwhelming cuteness – you need to take a step back. It is important to show love to our dogs, but this can be through hugs, kisses, and playing with them. You do not want to send a message to your dog that they can get away with murder, so keep treats for special occasions and when your dog is behaving well, and toys should be given sparingly while your dog is in a calm state. Barking because he wants something is not okay (think screaming child in a toy store), and once you encourage the barking by giving into your spoiled pooch once, he knows that he has you wrapped around his furry paw forever.

dog-barking

You aren’t being an authority figure. When your dog is behaving badly, or even just behaving out of fear, it is easy to give in to them in a number of ways. For example, if your dog is lazily lounging in their crate barking for you to do something or give them something and you want them to come out, you cannot just take them out of the crate yourself or sooth them until they get up. Eventually they will need to eat and if you put their bowl somewhere else in the house, they’ll have to get up and go get it, which makes sure that they know that you aren’t going to pick them up or coax them out. The same goes with fear or confusion, if your dog cowers under a table or into a corner and resorts to barking, by petting him and calming him with a hushed voice, you are rewarding the fear. As horrible as it sounds, the best thing to do is make sure to direct his attention from something else, and make the reward for coming out of the corner, not going in, even though our first instinct would be to soothe.

Fear. When a dog barks out of fear, whether it be fear of the mailman, of children, of other animals, etc., it is important to make sure that you help your dog face their fear so that they realize they are not being threatened. If the dog is afraid of the mailman, ask your mailman one day if he likes/minds dogs, and if it would be alright if he stopped at the house for an extra second just to pet your dog and show him he is not a threat to him. Same goes with kids, animals, and other fears. If it can be faced head on, it is likely that the dog will realize he is safe, and the anxious barking will stop. It is important here that you continue to be an authority figure while also staying calm to reassure your dog that he is in no danger, especially with you around.

If any of these scenarios seem similar to something you are going through with your dog, let us know in the comments if any of our tips worked, or if there was something else that you have done that worked like a charm.

Alessia xx

 

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