Dog Barking

“My dog won’t stop barking!” Other than housebreaking a dog this is probably the most common problem of dog owners word-wide.  While it’s natural for all dogs, regardless of breed, to want to “sound the alarm,” and bark when they hear suspicious sounds or see suspicious acting people, nuisance barking is not natural.  Not only is it not natural, but it is a behavior that if it is not dealt with, can lead to many problems.  Other than covering you ears there are quite a few ways to solve this problem without having to get rid of your favorite pet.

The Problems of Nuisance Dog Barking
-It’s Annoying

After a hard day’s work and the stresses of daily life, whether its dealing with screaming kids, or painfully slow traffic, most people just want to relax when they get home.  The last thing they want to hear is a barking dog, whether it’s their own or a neighbor’s.  It’s loud, distracting, and very, very, annoying.  And if you own more than one dog it can be even worse.

-No Sleep

One of the worst things about dealing with dog barking at night is the lack of sleep you get as a result.  Not only will it keep you up preventing you from falling asleep, but being jolted awake at night, especially if it’s multiple times, will pretty much guarantee you’ll feel horrible in the morning and probably all the next day.  This not only affects your performance at work and home but also your attitude and mental state as well.

Dog Barking

 

-Relationship Problems

Many families and couples actually end up having relationship problems over their barking dog.  Because it is annoying and does cause sleepless nights, many couples tend to fight over it.  This is especially true if the dog was owned by one person before they were in the relationship, as it tends to be looked at as they tend to get blamed for their barking dog.

-Problems with Neighbors

Dog barking can also lead to major problems with neighbors as well.  If it’s your dog that doing the barking, you may have not only arguments, but also end up getting the police called on you when your neighbor files a noise complaint.  And if it’s your neighbor’s dog they run the risk of having problems with you.  As anyone who has had problems with neighbors knows, it not fun living right next to someone you dislike or angry at.

-Getting Rid of Your Dog

Many people especially new or inexperienced dog owners, sadly end up giving their pet away out of frustration and lack of knowing how to deal with the problem.  This is something that definitely can be avoided with a little patience, effort and experimentation to what your dog responds to.

Dog Barking

 

So Why is Your Dog Barking Anyway?

In almost all cases the cause is frustration.  And this frustration is almost always a combination of 2 things: lack of exercise and the dog owner unknowingly rewarding or reinforcing the barking dog.  Dealing with these will almost definitely solve your problem leaving you headache free.

3 Steps to Success
1)Exercise Your Dog Daily

Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time without exercise have no way to release their excess energy and that can easily turn them into nuisance barkers. Many dogs will stop their excessive barking just from getting a good exercise session at least once a day.  This could be walking, jogging, or even just playing.  Not only will any of these help to keep your dog from becoming frustrated but also improve its health and of course yours as well.  Depending on the breed of dog you own it may need more than one exercise session per day.  If this is the case, many dog owners choose to switch off or alternate exercise times with their spouse, partner, or children. So if dad takes the dog for a walk in the morning the kids take it for one after school etc.  By doing this, your dog will get much more exercise without much more effort on your part.  For people who are not physically up to walking or exercising with their dogs, a treadmill is also a good idea and one which many dogs love, just make sure its supervised and the proper safety precautions are taken.

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2)Break the Connection

The biggest mistake dog owners make is yelling at their barking dog.    The owner thinks they are punishing the dog but in fact they are rewarding the dog with their attention. And by the owner rewarding the dogs excited state (its barking) with their own excitement (their yelling) they are making the problem worse.  The fact that dogs interpret the yelling as barking anyway doesn’t help the situation and, usually will cause the dog to bark more thinking it is doing the right thing because the owner is barking as well.    If a dog knows that you will come running every time it barks, it will continue to do so.  You must break the connection. You can do so by only giving your dog attention when it is calm. Ignoring a barking dog may be hard to do, but by doing so you break the connection in its mind of you giving it attention as a result it barking.  Dogs that bark when you arrive or leave home also should be ignored.  Only greet or reward your dog with your attention when it is in a calm state, never in one of excitement.

3)Explore Other Options

For many dogs the first step or both will be enough but if they aren’t, don’t be discouraged. Some dogs need to form a negative connection with nuisance barking you may have to experiment to find out which type your dog responds to the most.   Your options are:

Barking Collars, New Technology For An Old Concept:

Many owners choose to use barking collars as a way to help their dog form a negative connection to barking. There are 2 types of these collars: spray collars and e-collars.

Spray Collars

These have a microphone which when your dog barks triggers a spray burst of harmless citronella in front of your dog’s snout.  Because dogs don’t like the smell of citronella it helps them too quickly and realize that barking is an unwanted behavior.  Citronella is also harmless to both animals and humans.

Dog Barking

 

E-Collars

While many people look down on e-collars they do have their place.  They can work wonders on very stubborn dogs that don’t react to other types of training or barking deterrents.  The technology has come a long way from the past, and most collars work by detecting the vibration of your dogs bark and then emitting a small static shock.  There are different intensity levels and some collars can even remember what level and how many corrections were needed for your dog to stop barking. That way that the next time your dog barks, it will administer the right size correction and the number of times which your dog responds to.  Some also have an automatic shut off so that if the collar were to malfunction for any reason, it would turn off to protect your dog.

Dog Barking

Ultrasonic Sound Could Be Your Secret Weapon: 

This is a great option not only to stop your dog from barking but possibly your neighbors barking as well. There are 2 types of devices available, handheld and mounted devices, which both work on the same principle of the dog receiving a blast of ultrasonic sound(which dogs find annoying and uncomfortable) when it barks and associating the sound with barking and eventually stopping the behavior.  While they do work with the majority of dogs, they do not work with all dogs.  Using one of these tools is an excellent way however to deal with a neighbors dog and possible train it to stop barking without your neighbor even knowing because they are inaudible to the human ear.

Handheld Devices

The handheld variety is pointed at the barking dog and the owner presses the button to emit the sound. If these do work with your dog they are an easy way to correct other behaviors as well.  Many people actually use these as a dog deterrent for stray dogs because they can be kept easily in a pocket or bag.

Dog Barking

Mounted Devices

The other type of device is mounted in place facing the area where the dog is, this can be indoors or out.  When its microphone detects repeated barks it emits the ultrasonic sound.  Many of these can work for up to 50 ft. or more and can be mounted facing a neighbor’s house or dog kennel.  This is what most people use to deal with a neighbor’s barking dog because they can use it without the neighbor ever knowing.  Some are disguised as bird houses and other ordinary looking objects so that even if they saw them they wouldn’t know what they were.

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Hiring A Professional Always Works:

Hiring a professional dog trainer is also a good option. Although it can be costly the insight, tips, and tricks you learn from a professional with years of experience can be well worth it not only helping your dog to become better-behaved but helping you to become a better dog owner.

Taking these 3 steps should undoubtedly solve the problem of your dog barking. Exercise and breaking the connection your dog has with barking and excitement should do the trick.  If not, explore other options such as barking collars, ultrasonic sound, or a professional trainer to help your individual dog develop a negative association with barking and of course be patient and you will succeed.

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