Canine Behaviour: Excessive Barking – Reasons and Fixes
All dogs barks – it is a natural response and an important part of how they express themselves and communicate with us humans. No dog owner should expect a completely silent dog, indeed barking can be very useful – alerting us to intruders for example.
Some dogs bark excessively however, which can be frustrating for you as the owner, and can also be a sign of underlying behavioural concerns.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
It is important to find out why your dog is barking in order to treat the problem effectively. Often triggered by a state of excitement (either positive or negative), barking is typically a sign of one of the following:
- Territory concerns
- Attention seeking
Ways to Approach Excessive Barking
Curtailing excessive barking can be a long process, and will need effort and consistency from everyone who interacts with the dog. Consider trying the following:
- Do not yell. This often stimulates more barking because the dog thinks you are joining in. Instead, adopt a clear precise command such as “Stop” or “Quiet” in a calm voice.
- Give them plenty of exercise and stimulation. A tired dog is a quiet dog. Giving them enough exercise and mental stimulation will keep them from barking through boredom, and helps release pent-up energy.
- Remove any fear factors. Keep your dog’s bed in a quiet part of the house, and use net curtains or opaque window glass if your house faces directly onto a busy street. This should remove any perceived territory threat.
- Try to shift focus. Utilise products such as the Dog Stop Alarm or Mikki Training Discs, which work to distract the dog from undesirable behaviour. Simply use when necessary to positively modify the dog’s behaviour.
- Try natural sedatives. Try a pheromone diffuser, or a natural supplement such as M&C Calm UM, which can help calm over stressed or excitable dogs.
- If in doubt, seek expert advice. If you are concerned about your dog, especially if your dog is barking compulsively, or if this is an issue that has come on suddenly, ensure you consult a vet for further advice.