Why Dogs Bark!

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Tips on How to Control Excessive Dog Barking 


Does your dog bark excessively?

Well, your not the only one in this boat, as this is not uncommon.

But understanding why by just listening to the tone of the bark is the first step to combat this dilemma. 

I don’t believe that it’s only small dogs that have this urge to bark at anything they see or someone going by their domain.  They are only trying to let you know in their own way that they are trying to keep you safe.  Obviously they cannot speak English.

It is important to understand that dogs bark for various reasons.  They are dogs.

Reasons why dogs bark

Boredom: Bored dogs often bark to release excess energy and plain old loneliness.  A companion or some form of activity would be a solution.

Anxiety: High-pitched barking accompanied with whining is common with dogs with separation anxiety.

Whining/Alerting:  It’s natural for a dog to bark when someone knocks on your door or when strangers pass the house.  Many will bark if they sense some type of threat, saying I’m here and I am protecting this place so don’t come any closer.  This is usually a sharp, loud and an authoritative bark.

Excitement/Playful:  This type of barking is most common in puppies, which will sound to you as an upbeat and a musical bark.  While our Maltese always has this puppy personality even at a older age they will bark excitedly when they know they are going for a walk or ride in the car if they totally enjoy that.

Responding to Other Dogs:  You will probably be familiar with this scenario.  When one dog starts the rest will follow suit especially when you have more than one dog in your own family.  I have two and it never fails when Bridgette starts or vise versa the other must also bark. 

Prevention of Excessive Barking

Once you have determined what the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you will be well on your way to prevent this behavior.

First, you may want to be certain not to inadvertently encourage the barking.  Also give your dog lots of things to do besides barking.

  • Walking your dog daily burns up energy.
  • Don’t allow your dog to bark constantly while outside, for whatever reason.
  • Talk to your dog and let them know by giving him a command to sit and be quiet.  Once he is quiet reward him with a treat.
  • Don’t punish the dog by having a shock collar.  They are not only painful and unkind, once your dog gets accustomed to it; they eventually work around it, as they are not stupid.
  • Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if all possible, if not maybe a choice would be to have a sitter come in or family member to come in partly through the day if your gone for more than three to four hours at a time.
  • Shouting at your dog to correct them from barking does not help.  Usually they will bark even more.
  • Clap your hands or shake a can with a couple of coins to distract them when they bark.  Reward them when they are quiet and still.
  • Never comfort, hug or pet your dog when they are barking for attention or out of anxiety, they will feel as they are being rewarded for the barking behavior.

Consulting your veterinarian and or trainer if you continue to face the barking issue after all the above has been exhausted.

There are other measures available such as “Debarking, or cordectomy”, an elective surgical procedure involving partial removal of the dog’s vocal cords. I am not going to elaborate on this further as I personally wouldn’t recommend or suggest it.  As an animal lover myself I think it’s totally unfair and unnecessary to the dog.  But I do understand that this procedure is and has been done. Shame on them…..

Truly excessive barking indicates an underlying behavioral issue. Debarking your dog my take the noise away, but the fear, anxiety or similar problems remains unaddressed.

I will end on this note, as Cesar Millan says, “keep it from getting out of control by using a calm-assertive energy to tell them that everything is ok.”





May 2018
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