Hush Fido! Dealing with Excessive Barking

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by Meagan Karnes on March 24, 2011

Dogs bark. At times, a barking dog is a good thing. It makes you feel safe and helps alert you to potentially dangerous situations. But some dogs don’t seem to have a filter and bark excessively, turning the once appreciated alert into a nuisance that you just can’t seem to turn off.

So why does Fido bark so much? Does he really have that much to say? Is he just talkative or are there other issues fueling the problem?

Vocalizing is a natural behavior for dogs that is oftentimes overlooked until it starts happening excessively. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and curbing your dog’s excessive barking habit starts with getting to the root of the problem. Why is he barking? Here are some of the most common causes for excessive barking:

A Frustrated Fido

Dogs who bark excessively may be suffering from frustration or anxiety. Barking becomes a natural release for pent up energy. Being confined improperly for too long can cause excess barking. Dogs suffering from boredom, a lack of physical or mental exercise and general frustration can bark as a coping mechanism.

It Works, so Why Not?

Dogs can also bark excessively because….well….plainly stated, it works! For example, if a dog barks to be let outside, and you comply with his wishes, he learned that barking is a great tool for him to get what he wants. If he barks for a treat or for attention, and you reward him in an effort to silence the noise, you will simply perpetuate the problem and teach him barking is actually a good thing!

On High Alert

Dogs also bark excessively to alert you to the presence of a perceived threat. Some dogs bark appropriately while others take this to the extreme. Dogs suffering from low self confidence, may alert more readily than their more stable counterparts.

The Solution

So what is the solution to excessive barking? The first step is understanding the reason behind your pooch’s vocalizations. After you’ve gotten to the root of the problem, developing an exercise plan and implementing obedience training is an excellent start at creating outlets for excess energy. For the dog on high alert, boosting confidence through training and socialization will do your pup good and can help make him more stable and in turn, can quiet him down. Once you’ve given your pooch an outlet for excess energy, mastered his obedience and boosted his self esteem, teaching a “Quiet” command and rewarding quiet behavior will also help you to curb the problem.

To learn more about excessive barking, join The Collared Scholar on Monday, April 11th for a seminar on dealing with excessive barking. Proceeds from this event will be donated to local non profit dog rescue and animal welfare groups. Call 619-916-8710 or visit their website to register.

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