Why Do Dogs Bark? and How You Can Prevent Excessive Barking

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Why dogs bark….

All dogs bark, be it a big bark or a little bark. Barking is a large part of a dog’s natural behaviour. However, when a dog barks excessively in a domestic situation, it can easily become a problematic behaviour that has an effect on the wider community such neighbours, family and friends, other dogs and other animals. Excessive barking can be a stressful problematic behaviour for everyone involved, not just the dogs owners.

The best solution when it comes to problematic behaviours in dogs is prevention. It is important to train, socialise and provide enrichment for your dog from the moment it becomes a family member. Training from puppyhood, through adolescence, adulthood and right through to their senior years is a must. This is to ensure that your dog is the best that it can be and is happy both mentally and physically. By following these simple tips you will ensure that you are a responsible dog owner and that your dog’s behaviour does not have a detrimental effect on the wider community.

Some of the causes for excessive barking in dogs can include:

-Boredom.

-Attention seeking.

-Excitement.

-Separation related behaviours.

-Fear.

-Inadequate or limited socialisation.

-Territorial or predatory barking

-Injury or health issue such as a neurological issue or dementia in elderly dogs.

-Inadvertent reinforcement by owners. For example, the dog barks and the owner gives the dog attention or lets the dog inside, therefore reinforcing / strengthening the undesirable behaviour.

If your dog is excessively barking employing the assistance of a qualified dog trainer to help identify the cause of the problematic behaviour is a must. Treatment of excessive barking will be cause dependent which will depend on the individual dog. Early treatment of problematic behaviour in dogs, such as excessive barking, is essential. As a general rule the earlier that a problematic behaviour is addressed, the more likely that the treatment will be easier, quicker and successful in eliminating any issues. However any dog at any age is capable of learning, so it’s never too late to try and seek assistance with any behavioural issues.

To begin with, dog owners can potentially prevent excessive barking in their dog. Ensuring the dog is stimulated both physically, mentally and receiving adequate enrichment for the size, breed and age of the dog will assist. All dogs should be exercised both physically and mentally on a daily basis by walks and exercise, social and play time. Ensure that the dog is provided with environmental enrichments such as toys and sources of entertainment. Train the dog with the help of a qualified dog trainer and treat your dog as a respected family member providing for its instinctive needs. Ensure that your dog’s environment is sufficient for the size, breed and age of the dog and that you are aware of factors that can contribute to excessive barking. An example that can encourage excessive barking is when a dog  has access to a balcony or a raised veranda where it can view the street or front of the property. From the dogs point of view, this area in view becomes its territory and the dog may be prone to barking at people and/or dogs passing by. This can be prevented by blocking the dogs access to these types of areas.

Dogs are with us for such a short time, so remember to have fun with and enjoy your dog, love your dog and love life with your dog.

For more information feel free to visit Sutherland Shire Council Animal Shelter and speak with our qualified and helpful staff.

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