10 Reasons Why Your Dog is Barking
(and How to Stop it)
Dogs bark. It’s a fact of life. But if dogs could talk, what do you think they’d say?
There are a number of reasons why dogs bark. Some are normal, and some aren’t. However, if your dog has a barking problem, it can become a nuisance for you, your family, and your neighbors, so it’s important to know the common reasons why your dog is barking as well as how to solve the problem.
Reasons Why Your Dog Is Barking
While there are some quiet dog breeds, most dogs bark to communicate with us. They also bark to interact with other dogs. But what is it exactly they’re trying to say? Figuring out why your dog is barking is key to figuring out how to manage the issue:
1. Barking out of Boredom
If a dog has been left alone all day with nothing to do, it’s often the case that they’ll resort to barking out of pure boredom.
It’s very common for your dog to be anxious the first couple of times they’re left home alone, or perhaps you are grooming them for the first time. There are also some dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or anxiety disorders. This is generally the case when the default reaction of the dog is to bark.
Whether dogs are afraid of noises, thunder, or people coming too close to them, anxiety can cause barking.
4. Territorial Behavior
Dogs are territorial creatures and more often than not, barking at people is their way of protecting you. However, sometimes it can be hard for dogs to distinguish between welcome visitors, people simply strolling past your home or intruders.
5. Barking for Attention
Whether your dog is trying to get your attention because he’s bored, upset that he’s home alone, or wants to play, some dogs will use their bark to make themselves be heard.
6. Environmental Factors
Plenty of things around your dog may cause him to bark. It could be the birds in the trees, a noisy car going past, or a handyman tinkering next door. Environmental factors can be a huge trigger for your dog.
7. Physical Needs
Remember, dogs bark to communicate with us, and sometimes they’re trying to tell us they need something. The most common example is that they’re hungry, thirsty, or they need to be let out to relieve themselves.
8. Health Issues
If your dog has injured himself or if he has an ongoing illness such as dementia, he will be trying to let you know. Injury or specific dog health issues can cause your canine companion to bark, especially if they need help with something.
9. Reinforcement Barking
If your dog barks and you give him attention, you’re inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. If your dog sees this happening, he’s going to continue to bark.
Dogs are people-lovers; it’s why they get so excited when you come through the door. Some dogs can also become overly-excited when going to the park or when people play with them, though often this excitement can lead to over-stimulation and barking.
How to Help Your Barking Dog Stop
Once you know some reasons why your dog is barking, you can then implement ways to curtail it. First and foremost, create a safe space for your dog where he feels completely at home. This could be his dog bed inside or a kennel outside. If your dog knows he can go to a place where there will be familiar things and favorite towels, this can help with any anxiety he may feel.
Try to take your dog for a walk in the mornings, which will get him out and about so he can explore, and hopefully, it will help release some energy, so when he spends the day at home, he’s happy to play or relax on his own. If you believe your dog is still getting bored or may be barking because they don’t like to be home alone all day, consider getting someone like a dog walker to come over a couple of times a week, or take them to a doggy daycare for the day to socialize with other dogs.
If your dog is barking because of people passing by your house, there are ways you can block his view of the street. Just remember, though, that while your dog may not be able to see what’s going on outside the front of the house, they will likely still be able to hear it all. In this case, work with a professional dog trainer to teach your dog how to be quiet when requested. Some trainers will even help your dog by using distraction or relaxation techniques.
There may come a time when taking your dog to see a vet or a dog trainer becomes necessary, which is advisable if your dog becomes an excessive barker. Your veterinarian will assess your dog with his behavior and, if required, refer you to an animal or veterinary behaviorist. They will also make sure there are no medical abnormalities that need to be addressed.
A dog barks for several reasons, and it may even signal that he’s happy. But excessive barking can be a problem. Knowing your dog’s mood, how he reacts to environmental stimulants, and what may trigger barking episodes means you can manage the barking more effectively. Good luck!
“10 Reasons Why Dogs Bark and How to Stop it”
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