Dogs, like their owners, have strong urges to communicate vocally. They do this by barking, whining, howling and growling. Sure, it can be annoying, but forcing them into silence would be just as cruel as constantly shooshing an inquisitive child.
Barking is a natural behaviour of dogs. While incessant barking can become problematic, there are plenty of effective ways to minimise it. But first you need to understand what your dog is trying to say.
It may need something
Much like a crying infant, barking can be your dog’s way of getting something done. They could be hungry, cold or scared, for example. If regular indoors barking is driving your family nuts, try to understand what your dog is trying to tell you – they may just want to go outside.
Your dog likely considers themselves a core part of your family. So when a person or animal approaches your dog may bark to ward them off and/or alert you. One solution is to install a fence that will reduce their vision of busy areas. If your dog spends more time inside, try closing some curtains.
Your dog doesn’t have a job, may only go to school once a week, and certainly doesn’t cook their own food. That’s a lot of empty time each day and they may have realised that barking grabs your attention. Remember, a tired dog is a quiet dog; good pet care involves exercising together regularly.
When you leave the house, there’s a chance your dog will suffer from anxiety and cope by barking. Take pity on your neighbours by providing toys to distract your dog while you’re out. However, anxiety can prove a difficult problem to fix, so consider asking Greencross Vets about it.
Genetics also play a role in how often dogs bark. Retrievers, bulldogs, greyhounds and mastiffs are usually fairly quiet, while Chihuahuas, terriers, poodles and some herding breeds tend to yap more.
The best way to curb your dog’s enthusiasm is to reply calmly, as yelling back could sound as though you’re joining in. Instead, teach your dog the word “quiet”.
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