Why Does My Dog Bark so Much?

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As much as we would like them to sometimes, dogs obviously can't communicate like we do. They communicate vocally by whining, growling and, sometimes, barking. When occasional, barking is a valuable way for your dog to get your attention, but when it happens incessantly, barking can quickly become a nuisance.

So, why does your dog bark so much? In this article, we will explain some of the most common reasons why dogs bark and what you can do if it becomes a nuisance for you or your neighbors!

Boredom

Dogs are highly social animals that need to be around their pack. Therefore, they can often become lonely and extremely bored when left alone for long periods of time. As a result, they may resort to barking in order to express their unhappiness or simply to seek attention. This type of barking is usually also accompanied by restless pacing and often destructiveness too.

Protective or Territorial Barking

Dogs will alert you to any perceived threat by barking. A perceived threat to your dog may be a strange dog coming into the yard, someone approaching the door or, in more nuisance cases, any person who happens to walk past the window from 100 yards away. Your dog may also show his protectiveness towards you by barking when someone or another dog comes near you. This can become a nuisance when trying to walk your dog or visit a new place.

Fear

Dogs will bark when they feel threatened or are startled by any noise or object that captures their attention. For nervous dogs, this means that barking can become almost incessant. Anxiety and fear can be heightened at night or during events with loud noises like thunderstorms or firework displays.

Attention

Because dogs can't communicate with us using our language, they will often bark to get your attention. When your dog wants to eat, wants to go outside, wants to be pet, or wants to play, he will bark at you to try and communicate what it is they want. The most important thing to keep in mind about this type of barking is that you should not reward the behavior. For example, if your is barking incessantly wanting to go outside, if you let him out you will only be encouraging this behavior.

Greeting

Dogs will often bark as a greeting to people or other dogs. When you come home or have visitors over, you may notice your dog get very excited and start to bark and jump excitedly. Some owners enjoy this, but it can become a nuisance if your dog gets over-excited or doesn't limit this greeting to just one or two barks.

Tips to Stop Nuisance Barking

If your dog is a nuisance barker, there are a few things that you can do. The first is to make sure you do not reward the behavior. If your dog is barking to get your attention, ignore him completely until the barking stops. Only reward your dog with attention, pets, and treats when he is quiet and calm. This will teach him to associate the quiet behavior with attention and praise from you.

If your dog is barking at a specific stimulus, try desensitizing your dog gradually by exposing him to the stimulus at a distance and moving the stimulus closer little by little, while rewarding your dog when he remains calm and quiet.

For more tips to stop nuisance barking, check out this article.

Written by PetCoach Editorial September 12, 2018
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