Are you ready to send your dog to Barkaholics Anonymous?
That title is an oxymoron, isn’t it? Barkers are not very anonymous! First, let’s state the obvious, most dogs bark – it’s a normal canine activity. Certainly, some breeds are more vocal than others. If your dog barks for a loooooong time or woofs at everything – you’ve got a barkaholic.
The first thing you need to do is figure out why your dog barks incessantly. Woofing often happens for one of the following reasons:
- They are excited
- They are afraid
- They are alerting
- They want something
If your dog barks at people walking by your home or at every squirrel in the yard, you may be able to reduce the racket significantly by creating sight barriers. Close the blinds on the front windows, try privacy fencing, or buy opaque removable plastic film to put on your windows. If they can’t see it, they won’t bark at it.
If your dog wants a walk, potty break, or some playtime and barks to get your attention, this is called demand barking. You have to decide if you’re going to respond to this type of barking. If your dog needs a potty break, you should respond, but if Fido barks every 10 minutes for attention, it might be time to ignore him. However, don’t let your dog repeatedly bark at you, that turns into a game. Take your dog to his crate and give him a toy to play with (a frozen stuffed kong keeps them busy for a while). Be sure to keep your dog well exercised (we can help) and mentally stimulated.
Excitement and fear barking are closely related. If your dog is fearful (they have their tail down or are backing away), remove the problem. If you’re on a walk, turn around and take a different route. When they stop the barking be sure to reward them with pets and treats!
Training may take more time and effort, but in the long run it will be worth it. Teach your dog the shhhhhh and settle commands. If you’re consistent and patient, your dog will soon understand what you want.
Please don’t yell at your dog. Yelling sounds like barking to your pooch, which will wind them up! Don’t punish your dog for barking – again it’s a natural dog behavior. Don’t let your dog out in the yard if they constantly bark outside, it won’t solve the problem and is turning you into a lousy neighbor. If the above suggestions aren’t working, hire a good trainer or behaviorist, this is a problem you can solve!
With consistent training and lots of exercise, most barkers can learn to be much quieter. Life will be more peaceful once Fido is trained.