By Ashely Watson
Last week, we covered some of the potential reasons that dogs bark to help dog owners find ways to keep their pups from causing a disturbance. Knowing why your dog is barking is the first step in controlling the behavior. In this week’s post, we revisit some of those reasons and take a look at ways to help curb bad behavior and stop excessive barking.
You may also consider consulting your Vet before you try any of these methods. Your Vet knows your dog best and may have another suggestion for you. For some general tips, check out the Humane Society website.
Barking When You Aren’t Home
Unless you are fortunate to work in a dog-friendly office, you probably have to leave your dog at home while you are at work. Many dogs will bark if they are left alone for too long. Not only can this disturb your neighbors, but it also means that your dog feels isolated and anxious.
You may have to ask your neighbors if they hear the dog during the day. If your dog is barking excessively when you get home, it probably means that the dog barks while you are gone as well. Here are just a few suggestions:
- If your dog is barking when you get home, don’t acknowledge him until he stops barking, or at least for a little while. Giving the dog attention will reinforce the bad behavior.
- Try using a crate, but make sure your dog is crate-trained before leaving your dog alone all day.
- Make sure your dog is comfortable while you are at work. Keep the house at a reasonable temperature, and make sure the dog has plenty of water and toys or anything that will keep the dog occupied.
- Consider hiring a dog walker to walk and play with your dog at least once a day while you are at work. A friendly neighbor may also be willing to do this.
Barking at Strangers or Other Animals
When a dog barks at a stranger or another animal too close to your home, this is to protect you and their territory. However, it can be a problem if the dog barks every time the mail arrives or when a neighbor’s pet comes into the yard. It can be a challenge to change this behavior, but the good news is that you do have a few options.
- If possible, keep the dog away from windows or places where people pass by your home.
- Reward the dog whenever good behavior is displayed, but try to avoid giving your dog anything that is considered a treat to get the dog to stop barking. This reinforces the behavior you want to stop.
- Hire an obedience trainer. It’s a good idea to ask around for a recommendation, or ask your Vet and fellow dog owners if they know of a good dog obedience class in your area.
Barking Out of Playfulness or Excitement
Your dog may be barking simply because he feels playful or excited to see you. This is typically not a problem, unless you only give your dog attention when he’s barking. If that’s the case, try using the training suggestions in the sections above.
The main point to remember is not to give your dog a treat or anything that rewards the barking. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and play time. You might also try a product that supports calm behavior, such as Composure Chews or Composure MAX Liquid.
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