Having a dog that disturbs the neighbourhood with incessant barking can be very stressful for you as owner, and all those that live around you. But before we look at how to stop barking, it is important that we understand why a dog barks in the first place.
There are a number of reasons why a dog will bark, but essentially it is a means of communication. They may bark when they feel their territory is being threatened, when they want attention, when they are afraid, alone or just bored. In addition, some dog breeds including Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Fox Terriers and Beagles, are genetically more inclined to barking inappropriately than others.
Before reprimanding your pet for barking, it’s important to understand the behaviour first. For example, if your dog barks at people in the street, reprimanding him can teach him not to bark at strangers – something you will want him to do if the security of your property is compromised by an intruder. It’s also important to help deal with the underlying problem rather than the behaviour alone. For example, if your dog is bored, don’t waste your time trying to keep him quiet, rather aim to relieve the boredom by taking him for regular walks and keeping him active. If your pet has separation anxiety, work on ways of helping him overcome his fears.
What can be done?
Here are some useful tips when trying to deal with a barking dog:
- Never shout at your dog. Rather use a spray bottle while your dog is barking and reward him when he stops barking.
- Avoid using devices that emit loud or high frequency sounds that interrupt and deter barking. These devices can be controlled by the owner, but also by intruders!
- Walk your dog daily – it’s good exercise, both mental and physical and will expend any extra energy and restlessness.
- Take an obedience class with your dog.
- Seek the help of an animal behaviourist to locate the underlying cause.
- Provide interesting toys to keep your dog occupied when you’re not home (but make sure your dog will not choke on them!)
- Keep your dog inside when you’re unable to supervise him.
- Let your neighbours know that you’re actively working on the problem.
- Teach your dog a “quiet” command. When he begins to bark for no apparent reason, allow two or three barks, then make a short but loud "ssh" and gentle nudge to interrupt his barking. Remember to praise him when he stops barking.
- Have your dog neutered (or spayed if your dog is a female) to decrease territorial behaviour.
We also recommend using our 100% natural Aggression Formula in combination with behavioural modification techniques for best effect. Aggression Formula contains selected herbal and homeopathic ingredients known for their calming properties as well as their ability to treat hyperactive, delinquent, overactive and highly strung pets.