Having a dog who barks unnecessarily is annoying and sometimes startling. Here are some very specific things you can do to control your dog’s barking.
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The Root of Barking
If you really want to control barking, you’d better know why your dog is barking. Different types and sources of barking require different solutions.
- Boredom – This is the most common source of barking and can be solved with some extra exercise or attention.
- Anxiety – You need to teach your dog to handle your departure more calmly. This is a long process but well worth it for the quiet and the health of your dog.
- Warning – A dog should always bark at strangers or threats but only to a certain point.
- Attention-Seeking – A dog in want of attention will bark at times. Never respond to this behavior or you will only reinforce it.
- Startled – A dog that gets scared or startled may bark in confusion.
- Playfulness – Playful dogs will bark at times to show their excitement. This is completely normal.
- Communicating – Dogs use barking to communicate with each other, saying “I’m here.” This is normal but should not be allowed to persist too long.
Stopping the Barking
Getting rid of excessive barking, starts every time with basic control of your dog. The best way to do this is to be consistent with your commands. If you train your dog to come, lie down and stay, he will be very focused on completing those tasks and should stop barking completely.
Avoid punishment or rewarding of bad behavior. Instead, you should only reward good behavior. If you give your dog a “stop” phrase to stop barking and he does so, reward him with a treat. Finally, never give your dog loving attention when he barks.