One of the most annoying and yet perfectly natural bad behaviors a dog can develop is barking.
This is perfectly normal for a dog to pickup bad manners or unwanted behavior from time to time the key is to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
Barking is one of the most common dog annoyances that people complain about.
Whether it's your neighbors, family or even you complaining about your dog barking, the need to solve the unwanted and constant annoyance quickly becomes a top priority.
The first step in in solving this bad habit is to determine what type of barker your dog is.
Yes, there are different types of barks.
It's a good idea to start monitoring your dog for a few days and really pay attention to what's going on when they are barking.
Look for the following:
- What are they barking at person, a noise, another dog?
- When did they stop barking, when the person moved, left or talked to them?
- Did they bark for a long period or was it short lived?
- Was your dog happy and wagging their tail?
- Was your dog fearful with their hair standing on end?
- Was your dog angry, aggressive and biting?
Determining what is causing the barking will help guide you to figuring out how to deal with it.
There are five main types of barking:
- Demand Barking
- Lonely & Boredom Barking
- Safety and Protection and Anxiety Barking
- Warning and Security Barking
- Anticipation Barking
Unfortunately, we as pet parents often reinforce the bad behavior of demand barking by reacting to it.
For example, when your dog is outside and begins to stand at the patio door and you jump right up and let them in, then you have just reinforced this barking behavior and the next time they will probably longer and louder to achieve the same results.
The whole point of this bark is that your dog now believes he has gained control over you.
Lonely & Boredom Barking is brought on by just what it says, loneliness and boredom.
You often see it in dogs that are left alone all day while they pet parents are at work.
It's important that every dog gets enough stimulation and activity each day to avoid this situation or it can lead to even more bad habits like chewing up the furniture or digging giant holes in the yard.
It's important to exercise your dog everyday and make sure they have sufficient stimulation such as chew bones and lots of toys to entertain themselves while you are away.
Safety and Protection and Anxiety Barking is a dog's way of warding of potential threats and keeping them at a safe distance.
This type of barking can go on for ten, twenty even thirty minutes.
It can be accompanied by high levels of anxiety, shaking and pacing.
Attempts at calming your dog will likely fail and may only serve to enhance your dog's barking and anxiety.
Instead, work on what it is that your dog is afraid of and try to introduce them to it a little at a time.
Use distractions when introducing them to a new situation such as toys or food.
Never force your dog into a situation, instead be patient and they will eventually come around.
Warning and Security Barking is a dog's bark that is generally used in a pack situation to warn their other pack members of an impending danger.
However, as dog's have integrated into human's culture, they often use this bark to warn their families of potential security risk such as unwelcome visitors.
This bark is generally not troublesome and usually only last as long as the dog feels there is a risk but can become a problem for a dog that is not properly socialized.
Anticipation Barking is easily recognized as the high pitched, over excited, dancing and jumping around bark.
You know the one, where your dog knows something really great is coming, something that they love, like going for a walk or getting a treat.
They get so excited sometimes but do not yell at your dog or jerk on their chain as that will only serve to add to their excitability.
To help keep your dog at a more even keel, always make sure that your dog is properly exercised and take the time to properly train them from the very beginning.
Dog Barking is a bad habit that can absolutely be overcome with time and work.
Remember not to add to the chaos by yelling loudly or jerking on their chain or losing your temper.
Use distractions such as introducing a toy or chew bone.
If something specific sets your dog's barking off, then interrupt your dog immediately when they start barking.
It's also important to teach your dog basic training from the very beginning such as down, heel, stay, etc.
Without these basic commands, it will be very difficult to work with your dog.
Use all of these techniques together and you will accomplish your goal of eliminating the bark that is disrupting the peace in your home.
Remember patience, time and work are the key to conquering any bad habit.