How to Deal with Nuisance Barking with Your Dog
3 January, 2018
Guest blog by Amylynn Bellingrath
As we get into the warmer months, your canine friend will want to be outside, or at the very least, watching through the windows at the world. This is great, unless you have a dog that has an opinion about everything, and wants everyone to know what’s going on. If your dog has developed a habit of barking, especially if he barks for a long time, or during odd hours, (or at *everything*), you could be dealing with a case of nuisance barking. Here are the types of nuisance barking:
Boredom can cause a dog to lash out vocally. If your dog is alone a lot or confined to a crate or room while you’re away, they may become bored and restless, and they may start barking to try to get attention. Dogs are pack animals, and don’t like to be alone, so barking can try to alert the rest of their pack.
Anxiety is similar to boredom barking, and is usually done to help alleviate stress and anxiety. In their minds, the stressful bark may work when the boredom barking doesn’t….it’s a higher pitched sound, and may including crying or howling.
Alert barking is a little bit different than some of the more persistent barking that you’ll hear from dogs who are merely lonely. Sharp, loud barks when someone such as a neighbor or the mailman is near the home are more for warning the pack that something is happening.
Response barking is when your dog is replying to another dog in the neighborhood or apartment building. My own dog used to bark at the dog downstairs, because she would bark at him. To them, that might have just been a conversation.
Playfulness is another reason that dogs will bark. Like children, they bark to get the other dog’s attention so that they can play, or bark during play.
These examples can be considered nuisance barking if it goes on for a long period of time or no one is around to stop it. It can be disruptive to home life and cause neighbors to file grievances with the township or home association, which can change rules to ban dogs or limit the pets you have.
So, how do you stop your dog from barking excessively? Obedience training can do wonders for both you and your dog. All dogs, no matter what age they are, can benefit from a training class, and this will instill manners and make a happy pet.
Exercise is key as well. A properly exercised dog is going to be happy and will have less reason to bark. Walking, running, playing fetch or frisbee or catch, even indoor games can be great exercise, both mentally and physically. After these activities your pup may just be too tired to bark!
Make sure that you are correcting your pet each and every time she barks, but don’t use the word ‘NO’. “No” is overused, and is too broad of a term. “No bark”, or “Quiet” is better. You can use small treats in the beginning to reward the “quiet”.
If you are crating your pup during the night, or while you’re out of the house, and you worry that they might bark or whine all day, try leaving a TV or radio on while you’re gone. This may help your dog by making him think you’re really there but in a different room.
Understanding why your dog is barking, and training them to stop will definitely curb any nuisance barking and ensure that your relationship with your neighbors and your pet stay positive.
Amy is a veterinary technician with a background in speaking ‘dog’. She has worked in animal hospitals, pet insurance, and shelters, and her ideal breed of dog is a mutt. She’s also a writer of both pet health blogs and video games, and plays as much as she can.