ALL dogs bark at some point because it is a normal part of canine communication.
But dogs bark for a number of reasons, and different breeds bark more than others.
Constant or excessive barking is the most frequent dog-related problem for Britain's estimated 10 million owners.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Dogs bark for lots of different reasons, giving various types of information.
Barking can be joyous, because your dog is happy to see you or is having a great game.
Or your dog might bark to get your attention, because it wants to play or go out and you are doing something else.
Alternatively, some dogs are very fearful, so they bark at anything that surprises them. This is sometimes called 'alarm barking'.
Likewise, a dog who thinks someone is coming too close to the place it calls home might bark aggressively as a warning to encourage them off its territory.
Sadness and worry can cause dogs to bark too, such as when a dog is left alone and seems to bark just for something to do or listen to.
What’s The Best Way To Stop Dogs Barking?
The first thing to do is try and understanding why your dog is barking.
If it is alarm barking, try distracting your pet and rewarding it to recondition its response.
For example, if your dog barks when people approach your house, offer a cuddle or a toy when you know someone is coming.
Next, if your dog keeps the attention on you or the toy, reward the good behaviour with whatever works best: love, positive words and maybe a treat.
Also, you can mimic situations your dog barks at by making or playing loud sounds. Then distract and reward as above.
If the barking happens outside, when a dog sees something it wants or fears, recall your dog with a reward to distract it.
These techniques can help dogs that bark too much out of happiness, too. You should also stay calm, using a soft voice, while encouraging them to keep still.
Dogs naturally live in groups, so if they are barking because they are sad, lonely, or anxious about being left on their own, you can teach them that this is okay and safe.
For example, reward your dog for staying in its bed while you go around the house. Stay close at first, and gradually increase the distance between you.
If you have to leave a dog who is struggling, try giving it a certain toy it enjoys and that it has only when you go out.
Make sure your dog has had a walk and been fed before you go, and make dog’s home as relaxing as possible.
If you can’t find a way to help your dog, you can contact a dog behaviour specialist who will advise you.
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