It’s amazing that animals have their own unique forms of communication without using words like we humans do. Bees hum and buzz, birds chirp, elephants roar, frogs croak, lambs bleat, cats purr and meow, and so on. And of course, dogs bark. Well, they also whine and growl and howl, but the general sound they make is barking.
When Barking Gets Out of Control
Although barking serves some very important purposes, like warning us of danger or intimidating an unwelcome stranger, it can start getting annoying and even troublesome. It may negatively affect our relationship with our neighbors since our dog’s loud and incessant barking disturbs the peace and quiet in the neighborhood. It can also be a bummer when our dog barks at anything or anyone when they travel with us.
Putting a Stop to the Barking
Let’s all keep in mind first that barking is a natural thing that your dog does. It is an important means of communication for them. But when trouble starts developing because their barking is getting out of hand, you can follow these tips to control it:
- Find and remove the motivation – One of the first things you can do to stop the barking is to figure out what’s causing him to bark. It could be a passerby or another animal. If that’s what causing the excessive barking, remove it or take him away from it. If he barks relentlessly when someone passes by in front of your house, close the curtains or put him somewhere else in your house.
- Ignore it – Sometimes, all you need to do is simply ignore the barking. Don’t give him any attention whatsoever the whole time he’s barking. The attention you give him could be misinterpreted by your dog as a reward for his barking. Once he stops barking, you can reward him by praising him and/or giving him a treat.
- Stay calm – Dogs tend to mirror the energy we put out. If we get frustrated when he barks, he might just mirror that frustration and continue barking. Don’t scream at your dog while he’s barking, as he might understand that as you barking along with him. If you remain calm, he could mirror that energy and stop barking.
- Challenge him physically – Barking too much is sometimes the result of some pent-up energy. The solution then is to find a way for this energy to be released in ways that are beneficial. Have him do something more challenging than what he usually does. For example, if you walk him every day, make it more challenging by having him walk on an incline or with a backpack. Releasing that repressed energy might just be the key to making stop barking.
- Associate his barking with an unpleasant experience – This doesn’t mean of course that you will punish him every time he barks uncontrollably. Nor does it mean you will cause him pain or anxiety. You can use an anti-bark collar that uses sounds and vibrations as a way of making him realize that his barking is undesirable. This type of bark-control collar is safe and humane as it doesn’t use harmful sprays or electric shocks. It simply sends a message to your dog when it’s not OK to bark.
- Keep him tired – As a responsible dog owner, one of the things you should do is to make sure your dog gets sufficient physical and metal exercise daily. If he’s tired, he is less likely to bark and just remain quiet and calm.
We love our furry friends, but loving them includes disciplining them and correcting their misbehavior. There’s a time and a place for barking, and when it starts getting out of hand, something has to be done to stop it. Be sure to take the time to figure out what causes it and work with him to address this unwanted behavior so you can have a better relationship not just with him but with people around you as well.