Excessive Barking

Dogs bark - it's a fact of doggy life, and to the humans who own them. However, when a nuisance barker disturbs your peaceful environment, it's time to put a stop to the racket.

Before attacking the dog, consider the cause of the bad behavior.

  • Is the dog bored? If so, give him something to do.
  • Is the dog overstimulated? Passersby can prompt a dog to bark. Try blocking the dog's visual access to the street.
  • Is the dog dominant/aggressive? Barking can be a way of "marking" territory. Dog training is in order.
  • Does something trigger the dog's barking? Try to remove the cue or recondition the dog to respond in a different manner.

Avoid "rewarding" a dog for inappropriate barking. Don't run to the door and yell, "Shut up!" Choose an effective punishment, when appropriate. Don't try to soothe him into being quiet, by petting him and saying, "It's okay, we're here." You might as well give him a dog treat, you'll get the same results.

Many products are on the market for deterring barking dogs. Consider the side effects before investing in gadgets. Shock collars can be effective, but how do they affect the dog's emotional state? Are they triggered by other dogs, delivering a shock to your dog when the neighbor's dog barks?

Bringing a dog inside at night will usually stop disruptive barking. Confining the dog to a smaller enclosure, such as a dog crate, also can curb barking. Keep in mind, however, that a dog should not be crated outdoors all day.

Surgical debarking provides a sure cure, and your veterinarian can discuss the pros and cons of this procedure. Of course, this surgical alteration of your dog should be strongly considered only after other means of control have been attempted.

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