Dogs bark to communicate, just like we communicate through words. So, the idea that your dog is going to be quiet all the time is far-fetched. But if your dog just wont stop barking or likes to taunt the family cat, there are some ways you can address the problem. A barking dog is not just a nuisance, but it can also get a dog owner kicked out of an apartment, cited for noise, and the bane of the neighborhood. It’s also just annoying to you, too, likely.
Why does this neuccance barking happen and how do you stop it? These are the questions the team at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital is here to answer.
Excessive Barking in Dogs
There are several reasons why a dog will bark too much. Beyond the normal barking (at a squirrel or during play), chronic barking can signal many issues in a pet, from pain to anxiety, lack of socialization to loneliness. Let’s look at some of the reasons behind nuisance barking.
Fear and Aggression – A fearful dog is more likely to lash out at strangers and unknown situations than most dogs. Dogs with noise anxiety, such as an aversion to fireworks, thunderstorms, and sirens will sound off as a way to express their fear and concern. If your dog has a phobia and is experiencing ongoing fear, this can lead to aggression if left untreated.
Age – Older dogs will sometimes bark more often as their cognitive function decreases. Many aged dogs have the onset of cognitive dysfunction and sensory changes, such as hearing loss and blindness.
Separation anxiety and loneliness – The howling dog is the equivalent of a lonely one. If your dog is howling and barking every time you leave, they may have separation anxiety. Likewise, if your dog is left alone too much, they may be bored and need a dog sitter to come in and play with them, while the family is away.
Attention – Dogs adore getting our attention, even if it means they have to engage in negative behaviors like barking and digging. If you haven’t been playing with your pet or exercising them, they may resort to barking. This type of bark also indicates they want to direct your attention to something in their environment or that they want to play or eat.
Claiming their territory – Dogs, like cats, have an instinct to protect their turf. If your dog barks at all other dogs or animals that have the audacity to pass by their yard, this may be territorial barking.
Putting a Stop to Nuisance Barking
Now that you know a bit more about your dog’s desire to bark, there are ways to prevent ongoing barking.
- Remove all of the triggers for their barking. If it is boredom, give them something to do. If they bark at passers by, close the curtain. Remove the trigger(s) to avoid chronic or repeat barking.
- Train your dog if you haven’t already taught them basic obedience and the rules of the home.
- Enlist the help of a dog walker or pet sitter to check in with your pet if the issue is separation anxiety or loneliness.
- Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise each day.
- Give your pet enrichment items like toys and dental chews.
- Have your dog examined to rule out any medical issues that might be the cause of the nuisance barking.
For more information on nuisance barking or to schedule an appointment, please call us.