A dog is a man’s best friend. This isn’t something that we just say. It’s a true and deep description of the human-dog relationship that has lasted for centuries since the very beginning of everything. Today a canine isn’t just a friend; they easily become our fur babies, a part of our families. And this love shouldn’t end when we face challenges or certain behavioural issues, such as excessive barking.
Unfortunately, behavioural problems are the number one reason why people give up on their fur friends, turning them over to local shelters. They’re also the leading cause of death for dogs aged three years and under. And barking is one of the most often behavioural problems dog owners report. Although expected, where’s the line between normal and nuisance barking? If your dog’s barking concerns you, what can you do about it?
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Asking why dogs bark is like asking why humans talk. Barking is normal for dogs and one of the main ways they communicate with people and other animals. They can bark out of excitement or fear. They bark to defend their territory when a human or other animal passes nearby. Sometimes they bark out of boredom or because they feel playful. Other times, they seek their owner’s attention. They can also bark because of separation anxiety, especially young puppies.
When Does Normal Barking Become Nuisance?
To assess your dog’s barking, you first need to determine that there’s no medical issue that can cause your dog to bark. Bee stings or unbearable pain in their head or body can make the dog bark without stopping. Take your beloved doggo to the vet to exclude such problems.
If there is no underlying medical reason for the barking, but your dog barks unstoppable for more extended periods, you might be dealing with nuisance barking. Excessive barking can be extremely problematic and annoying. It can interfere with your daily activities, making it impossible to rest or sleep. It can also cause you problems with your neighbours and home visitors.
Learning why your dog barks will help you determine the right way to deal with it. You might need to apply some training methods or use dog bark control devices directly.
Training Methods to Deal with Nuisance Barking
Dealing with your dog’s barking can take time, work, practice and consistency. Here are a few training methods you can try.
Don’t Shout or Yell!
Shouting or yelling at your dogs will only make things worse. Conversely, it stimulates them to bark more, as they think you’re joining them. Instead, use a one-word command like ‘Quiet!’ in a calm yet firm voice. Every time they start to bark, use the same order and make sure to practice when they’re calm too. You can do this by encouraging them to bark when they want to tell you something and when it’s enough, tell them to be quiet. Consistency is key for using this method, so make sure always to use the same word and tone.
Never Reward Barking
Many dog owners try using the punishment and reward method. This is okay, except that with barking, there are certain situations where you can send up mixed signals. Ensure never to reward your dog when they’re barking, no matter if the barking is positive or negative at that moment.
Bring Your Dog Inside
Canines are pack animals that want to be close to their humans. If you keep your dog outside and barks all night long, bring it inside. Not only will you protect it that way, but it can also prevent excessive barking. Keeping your dog close to you can help you deal if they bark out of separation anxiety. If you still decide to leave them outside, limit their view using a wooden fence instead of a wired one. This can prevent barking stimulated by fear or people passing by.
Tire Your Dog
A quiet dog is a tired dog, they say. If your dog is barking out of boredom, try tiring them out before you engage in activities or take time to rest or relax.
Use Dog Bark Control Devices
Sometimes it seems that nothing works, no matter the effort you put in training your dog not to bark. That’s when bark control devices come in very handy. Do dogs bark control devices work? Many dog owners using dog bark controllers say they’re very effective and help even with the most annoying barkers. Wondering are bark control devices safe for dogs? Dog barking devices are a safe way to control barking as unwanted behaviour. However, they must be used only when the dog barks excessively, not to stop barking completely. What are the best devices for bark control for dogs?
Ultrasonic Anti Bark Control
This device produces high-pitched noise in response to barking. Ultrasonic means that while people can’t hear the noise, dogs can. The purpose is to teach your dog that barking brings on the noise, and silence makes it stop. Dogs find it annoying, so once they hear it, they stop barking immediately. Ultrasonic devices are great for situations where there is a barking problem with more than one dog or with neighbourhood dogs. There are outdoor and indoor models, as well as remote controllers. Pair them with dog cameras and stop nuisance barking for good. If you have multiple dogs and only one is a nuisance barker, all the dogs will receive the noisy correction. That’s where the correction collars come in hand.
Spray collars are one of the many kinds of bark-deterrent collars. They usually use a citronella fragrance that dogs find unpleasant. The blast of spray and the smell of citronella is distracting and annoying to dogs. This makes these collars a very effective corrective tool.
Vibration collars are another variety of bark-deterring collars. They operate on two levels, hearing the bark and sensing the vibration in their throat. These trigger a vibration that distracts the dog and stops them from barking. Make sure they fit well and set the vibration level as high as it needs to be to stop the barking. Both spray and vibration collars are safe for your dog.
These are toys that are meant to be used when you know the exact trigger of your dog’s bark. When you see something that you know will make your dog bark, you give them the toy before they notice it. It’s very unlikely that they’ll bark at a cat or someone’s passing your street if they’re involved in an interesting activity. Chewy treat dispenser balls or puzzles are a great example of distracting toys. They’re fun and food-related, something that always works well for dogs.