As the old saying goes, “Why keep a dog and bark yourself?” However, as dog owners, we may become worried if our pups are making a lot of noise, and excessive barking can become a real problem. If your dog is barking frequently, it could mean they’re distressed about something, and you may not have the happiest neighbours! That’s why we’ve put together our guide to dog barking, how to know when it’s a problem and how you can begin to control it.
Barking at Nothing
First thing’s first; you’re going to have to determine whether or not your dog’s barking is excessive. You can’t expect your dog to never bark, in the same way that you can’t expect a child to always stay silent! If you think your dog is barking at nothing in particular, they’re probably trying to tell you something, and once you’ve worked out the cause of the problem, it can become much easier to solve:
– Hunger or thirst
– Barking for attention
– Separation anxiety
One of the most common reasons for your dog to bark might be to protect their territory. While you might not be able to prevent this entirely, there are a few things you could do to help. Limiting your dog’s view to windows and outside doors could reduce the number of distractions they have, so they might be less likely to bark at people walking or driving past. Turning the radio on while you’re out can also provide a distraction from noise outside. If they do bark, don’t be tempted to shout at your dog. They might think you’re joining in, and it could have the opposite effect!
Needs and Demands
Your dog may be barking if they’re hungry, thirsty, want to go outside or even just want your attention. The key to halting this behaviour is to make sure you don’t reinforce it. Don’t give your dog what they want right away, and wait until they’ve stopped barking until you reward them. The easiest way to prevent this behaviour is to nip it in the bud by building a solid routine. Feeding and walking your pooch at regular times daily, while making sure they always have fresh water available, could help prevent them from barking to get what they want.
Some dogs may bark when they’re excited, which can be more difficult to deal with. If your dog barks excitedly every time you go for the food bowl or the lead, the best thing to do is to try not to reward them for the behaviour. Put the bowl down without feeding them if they’re barking, or put the lead down and don’t walk them until they calm down. This might take some time, but eventually your dog should learn that when they’re quiet, they’re rewarded.
Barking for Attention
If you leave your pup for long periods of time throughout the day, they may bark simply out of boredom or if they want attention. You could try leaving them with something to do, like a KONG toy filled with their favourite treats. If you’re away for long periods of time through the day, you could also consider hiring a dog walker to alleviate some boredom!
If your pup has separation anxiety, barking might be the least of your worries! There are a few ways in which you might be able to minimise the symptoms, including the barking. Again, maintaining a consistent daily routine can help, as well as treating your dog when you leave the house, so they associate you leaving with a positive experience. It can be a huge issue for both you and your pooch, which is why we’ve written a whole guide to dealing with separation anxiety!
Your dog might bark at night for any of the reasons mentioned above: they could be bored, lonely or distracted by outside noises. You should be able to deal with night-time barking the same as excessive barking at any other time of day. If they’re distracted, it might be a good idea to limit your dog’s outside view, or have some background noise which might limit what they can hear from outside. If you think your furry friend might be bored, try walking them before bedtime for some exercise. Dogs that sleep outside might also be lonely, so letting them sleep in the house could help to prevent excessive barking at night.
The use of training collars with dogs has been a heated debate, but in 2018, the UK government announced new legislation to ban the use of shock collars and electronic training collars for cats and dogs. Certain barking collars are still available for purchase, many of which emit vibrations or high-pitched frequencies to deter your dog from barking. At The Insurance Emporium, we would recommend identifying the cause of excessive barking, attempting to train your dog with positive reinforcement and consulting either your vet or a dog behaviourist before attempting to use a barking collar.
We hope this blog post has helped you and your pooch settle into a quieter, calmer life together! If you’re a pet owner, you might want to think about taking out insurance for your dog. At The Insurance Emporium, our Dog Insurance can include Standard Benefits such as Vet’s Fees up to £8,000.* You can then tweak your insurance to suit your needs with a range of Optional Benefits. Head on down to The Insurance Emporium, and you could receive up to 30% discount^ on your Dog Insurance!
This blog is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with KONG.
* Cover for Vet’s Fees up to £8,000 available on lunar and calendar monthly Lifetime Gold policies.
^ The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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