Dogs are one of the most adorable creatures in the world, and they make for some of the best companions for people. In spite of them being playful and cheerful, sometimes dogs can bark nonstop for reasons we sometimes don’t understand. Keep reading to find out why dogs bark and how to stop them from doing so.
Why Does my Dog Bark?
We might feel like dogs are very simple; but the truth is, like any other animal, they have very complex behavior patterns that you need to keep in mind to understand them. Let’s explore some of the main reasons why dogs bark.
They Want Food
When your dog is feeling hungry the most basic instinct is to look for food on its own. If you keep the dog food stored then they might start feeling a little anxious and look for you and start “requesting” food, so they’ll start to bark.
They’re Being Territorial
As you might know, dogs can get very territorial, especially male dogs. When a dog feels their territory is being invaded, either by another dog, or by a person they don’t know, they’ll start to bark to mark their territory, and as a warning that they might get more aggressive if you trespass.
You have to keep in mind that dogs bark as their only means of communication, so barking could mean danger but it also means excitement. When your dog is extra happy and pumped they’ll start barking animatedly and jump around in a playful manner.
They Have Fear or Suffer From Anxiety
Some dogs that have experienced trauma or suffer from constant anxiety could bark non-stop at random moments. An anxious dog barks but also shows other signs such as a low head posture, the tail between the legs and ears bent.
Related: How to Understand Dog Body Language
They’re in Pain, Hurt or Sick
Naturally, a dog that’s hurt or in pain will bark asking for aid from its pack, letting them know they need assistance. The barking of a hurting dog will sound much higher than usual, like a high-pitched sound. When your dog is sick and is feeling particularly bad they’ll also bark gently to let you know they need some help.
Elderly dogs start to develop some cognitive deterioration, which is usually known among humans as dementia. Dogs with dementia might start barking for no reason at places where no one or nothing is around, and at random moments like in the middle of the night.
They’re Bored, Feel Lonely or Need Attention
Dogs are very playful and social animals. Whenever they don’t have a companion -human or animal – they’ll start barking to ask for your attention and engage in some play time. Bored dogs will also look for whoever they have nearby and bark at them to get attention.
Responding to other Dogs
Barking is the way dogs communicate with their surroundings. When two dogs run into each other they might start barking at one another. Don’t panic and think they’re going to engage in a fight, most times they’re just getting to know each other, or introducing themselves.
How to Stop Dogs From Barking?
Even though barking is part of a dog’s nature and you can’t really stop them from doing it in normal situations or for their natural instinct, there are a few dog trainer tips you can follow to keep them from barking uncontrollably.
Remove Whatever’s Making Your Dog Bark
It’s very likely that you dog is barking because of a very particular stimulli near them. For example, if your dog loves to bark at passersby, you can’t really stop people from passing in front of your house, but you can take your dog to a different room for a few hours a day so they won’t bark that much.
Ignore Them Until They Stop Barking
Paying attention to your dog when they bark makes them feel that what they’re doing is all right, so you might want to start ignoring your dog when they bark. Don’t engage with them at all, don’t touch them or even look at them.
Desensitize Your Dog to What Makes Them Bark
Instead of taking your dog away from whatever makes them bark, you can try and desensitize them to the stimulus. Whatever is making your dog bark like crazy, you can gradually introduce them to and get it closer each time until they get used to it and eventually stop barking at it.
Make a Warning Sound
A very popular way of training dogs to stop barking is by emitting a warning sound and letting them know this means they should stop barking. Whenever they respond correctly they can be rewarded and this sound will let them know to be quiet.
Leave Your Scent Around When You’re not Home
Dogs that feel lonely or bored might bark like crazy. When you’re not around, you clearly can’t pay attention to your dog and get them to stop barking. Rub your hands on your dog’s toys so, whenever you’re not around, they’ll enjoy the “taste” of you and engage with it instead of barking.
Distract Your dog With a Different Activity that Doesn’t Involve Barking
Luckily, dogs have a very short attention span. This means that you can easily distract them from barking by getting them to engage in a different activity like fetching the ball or scratching their belly.
Get Your Dog to do Extenuating Physical Activity
A dog that has the right amount of physical activity will be mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day, leaving them very little energy to bark. Make sure your dog runs around, plays a lot and gets their proper food so they don’t store extra energy.
One of the most successful strategies to make your dog stop barking is to apply the punishment and reward method. Dogs who feel threatened will bark and growl as a sign of warning. Whenever your dog barks, force a small, harmless punishment like squirting water on them, and whenever the behavior stops you might want to have some treats at hand to give to your dog so they stop feeling anxious or in danger.
Hire a Dog Trainer
If you have very little time to train your dog to bark less, you might want to consider a dog trainer. They’ll manage any type of situation even if you have tried every tip in this list but nothing seems to work.
Now you know some of the most common reasons why dogs bark and how you can act in order to stop them. Be sure to try every point in this list and enjoy your dog being happy but quiet!
Related: How to Handle a Dog Attack