Barking is a natural communication system of the dog and can do it for many different reasons in different situations. To prevent the dog from barking, we first have to know the causes that cause it. On the other hand, it is important to note that when a dog has a deep-rooted habit, it is usually very difficult to modify.
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In this article, we will give you some tips to prevent the dog from barking, but do not forget that in the most serious cases the ideal thing to do would be to go to a specialist to provide us with guidelines for our specific case.
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Causes of a dog barking
There can be a lot of different causes because of which your dog barks, like stress, excessive loneliness, separation anxiety, poor socialization, unconscious training, territoriality, health problems, deafness, old age, fears or problems with other dogs… To solve the problem, you must first correctly identify what is the cause. We’ll get into details to some of the causes below:
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Stress: Before starting to work we must make sure that the needs of our dog are 100% covered, thus complying with the 5 freedoms of animal welfare. We talk about their routines for walks, food and relationship with their owner among others. Our dog may be trying to release accumulated stress if any of its basic needs are not being covered. In conditions of extreme stress, abuse, excessive loneliness, little space, or frustration, you may use barking as your only escape route to express your tension.
Excessive loneliness: Dogs are social animals, they need to constantly communicate and interact with their environment and more so if they are very active dogs. Ask yourself if you leave your dog alone at home for a long time, if so maybe you should find him a new companion or provide him with toys that distract him. Even so, before adopting a new member you will have to solve the problem because inevitably your pet will have to be left alone sometimes. The problem can be aggravated if there are several dogs in the same area that are in similar conditions as they can infect each other.
Separation anxiety: This problem can be related to the previous one, excessive loneliness, and it happens when the dog is left alone at home without supervision. Some dogs channel the separation anxiety they feel by chewing on furniture or barking. If this is your case, the idea is that you use the kong to treat separation anxiety and try to provide your pet with well-being, tranquillity and comfort.
Poor socialization: Even dogs that are constantly accompanied and entertained can sometimes bark at concrete objects, vehicles, and people. Why does this happen? The dog can develop fears of certain stimuli (children, bicycles, other dogs…) if we have not socialized him correctly. It is very important to treat this problem with a professional. Find out about it.
Unconscious training: Unwittingly, many owners reward their dogs’ barking in specific situations that they like or find funny. The problem appears when the dog constantly uses it to ask for its treats and when the barking is uncontrolled by generalizing it instead of using it for specific situations.
Tricks to stop your dog from barking
Here are some tips and tricks that promote the well-being of our dog and help us treat it positively. These guidelines are often used in dogs with severe stress problems, so your goal is to achieve peace of mind and better behaviour, take note:
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- It encourages the tranquillity and relaxation of the dog both at home and outside. Massages, caresses, and tasty treats are good incentives for him to understand what you expect from him.
- Many people often scold the dog when it barks and may even touch (or hit) them in an attempt to stop the behaviour. This type of attitude will only worsen the behaviour of the animal and will cause stress and a feeling of sadness.
- Dogs with severe stress problems will benefit from exercising, for example. It takes about 21 days for a dog to completely remove accumulated stress from the body, don’t forget! You must be very patient and loving to try to improve their situation, understanding that it is a problem that causes them discomfort. Stressed dogs should not be subjected to punishment, direct exposure to their fears, or intensive training.
- If your dog barks in the street when he crosses paths with other dogs, the idea is to try not to pick up the leash (since the dog notices the tension) and continue with the walk as if nothing was happening. We must have a calm and firm attitude so that the dog notices it too. Of course, always watching your safety and well-being.
- We can also try to distract him with treats when the stimulus that causes his barking appears (a bell, other dogs …). Asking him to sit down and do tricks while you reward him is a good way to turn things around.
- Try to walk with him at quiet times and sections to prevent this situation, once you see improvements you can try to walk him in places or times of more activity. This point is very important and helps enormously to promote the calm of the dog. Discover the most common mistakes of the walk and try to avoid them. Ideally, you should allow your dog to sniff as much as he wants and provide him with some real playtime.
- Do not force contact or interaction with other dogs or people if he does not want it, when he is ready he will move forward and try to relate. Forcing a fearful dog to interact can have a very negative impact on the animal and even cause extreme fear and aggression.
- Use seeding as a relaxation and fun technique. It is a good way to improve the well-being of your dog. In addition, practising different activities will help you change the “chip” in your barking routine and discover new experiences. Enriching the life of the animal makes it happy and helps it progress in its fears.
Following all these guidelines constantly will make your dog react more calmly little by little, yes, you must be constant and focus on everything positively. You won’t get anything out of forcing your pet to do something they don’t want to do.
If we are not sure of the cause (or causes) that cause barking in our dog, the ideal would be to go to a professional to guide and help us. Why? Many owners think their dog is barking out of aggression when in fact it is out of fear. Others may think that the dog is trying to “get attention” when the real cause is excessive loneliness.
We should never use choke or shock collars. We can promote a very negative and aggressive attitude of the dog that can turn against ourselves or that of our relatives. We remember that each dog is different and that these tips may not always work.