A dog’s bark is a technique for the dog to talk to us. When the barking becomes too much, it becomes a nuisance; not only to us but also to our neighbors.
Some barking should not be a cause for alarm at all, while others should worry you. Before you try to stop your dog from barking, you need to understand why they are barking in the first place. So, what causes a dog to bark? Let’s have a look:
We love our space and will protect it from intruders. So do dogs. A dog will naturally bark when a visitor comes to your home. This bark is annoying as it is always monotonous and increases in intensity and is sometimes coupled with growls. They will stop when the person leaves. Some dogs will also bark at neighbors when they are at their homes.
While this always comes out as an aggressive bark, it is always because of fear and insecurity.
A dog is a playful pet. They do not like being by themselves. The barking is always a means to confirm they are not alone. If you are always at work, you can ask your neighbors about your dog’s behavior when you are away.
This kind of barking is meant to alert the owner of an unusual situation. It is characterized by one or two consecutive barks. This calls for a response from the owner for the dog to be assured of their safety. If you ignore them, they will keep barking or become more aggressive.
Dogs panic when they see strange things such as fireworks and thunderstorms; mostly at night. The bark is piercing, lips pulled back and monotonous.
Sometimes a dog will bark to invite you to play with them. This could be accompanied by body language such as wagging their tail. The bark is high pitched and recurrent.
Responding to other dogs
We probably have experienced this more than once. The bark of one dog in the neighborhood stirs up a bark from each other dog like in a choir.
I hope we will be on the same page when I say attention is a good thing? Your dog will bark sometimes so that you will check them out.
Response to environmental stimuli
A dog will bark when something exciting gets their attention. This could be a bird in your compound, a squirrel, rabbit, or just anything that gets to them. This does not necessarily mean they are chasing them though. Maybe they are just excited about seeing them. This bark will be high pitched, recurrent and with brief pauses.
How to manage a dog’s bark?
This will not be an easy task. Getting a natural habit out of an animal cannot be a walk in the park. It will need more time and patience; and you need to be consistent. Also, remember different reasons for barking needs different kinds of attention. Let’s see how.
Keep them busy
As discussed above, your dog will bark to call out for a companion or as a cry out. When you are away from home, you can keep your dog busy in various ways such as;
- Take them to a doggy daycare
- Get a dog guardian to keep them company
- Get a dog walker to exercise with them
- Hide dog snacks and dog toys before leaving so that they can be busy digging and looking for the treats
Walk with them
Exercises will stimulate your dog. When you go out for your morning or evening jog, consider taking some time to walk the dog around also. This will give you a fit and happy dog and keep boredom away.
Visit a veterinary behaviorist
Dogs bark for a lot of reasons and some will not be easy to figure out. Get help from a veterinarian who has a special interest in how animals behave. Maybe your dog is suffering from a health condition you do not know about. A vet will help you understand what your dog won’t tell you.
Anxiety is also a cause for barking. Your vet could have a medication for this. This will be for a short time until your dog copes with what makes them anxious.
Anti Bark Collars
Read the detailed anti bark collars guide.
As mentioned earlier, some barks are because your dog is bored or to seek attention. Every time you go out, they feel supported to keep barking. The best way is to ignore them. Remember how you cried when you were young so that your mom came to get you? The more they listened to you, the more we continued whining. So next time your dog barks, try not to give them attention.
You might also need to talk to your neighbors so that they do not shout at the dog when it starts barking, since this only makes the barking louder.
Get them something to chew
Chewing releases feel-good hormones from a dog’s brain. Make your dog happy when you leave them by themselves by giving them something to chew. This will also distract them and keep them busy so they won’t bark. The market offers a number of dog chew toys you can select from.
Train them to communicate
Teaching your dog to speak or be quiet perfects your dog’s instincts. This way, they will only bark when it is necessary and be quiet when they are needed to be.
This will take a lot of time and you will need to be patient. At times, you may need the help of a dog trainer. Be sure to reward the dog when they get a command or a sign right. Sounds fun, right?
Put up a barrier
A dog sees a lot of things. These may include your neighbors, neighbors’ pet and so on. Block the environmental stimulus by blocking them out. Raise the fence and ensure they have no peep-through gaps. Same for your compound’s gate.
Bring them inside
As indicated above, some barks are because the dog has seen something they are not used to and is mostly at night. Bringing them inside will help calm them as they will feel safer.
Check what is initiating the alarm
Responding to your dog when they bark to raise an alarm reassures them. If ignored, they will bark louder hoping to get your attention. Get out and determine what could be troubling them.
Well, I believe we now have a better understanding of what will cause our dogs to bark and what we can do to calm them. It is also important to study the sound of different barks to understand their purpose. This way, you will not end up ignoring your dog when they are sending an alarm or are anxious.