If you want to stop excessive barking by your dog, don’t yell or scream at it. This almost never works and may cause it to bark even more. Instead try to get your dog’s attention with a clap or whistle if it won’t stop barking. When the barking has ceased, offer a tasty treat as a reward.

Dogs will be dogs, and most dogs will bark, whine and howl at times – it’s only natural. Dogs vocalize to communicate with humans and also to express themselves. There are times you want your dog to bark in order to warn you of potential danger or to protect you from harm.

However, loud and excessive barking is definitely a behavioral problem that needs to be addressed. Your dog needs to understand when to bark and when to be quiet, and it’s your job to teach your dog the difference.

When barking becomes problematic, you need to begin searching for solutions as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to curb bad behavior. With dedication and consistency, you can teach your dog to bark on command and also understand when it’s time to be quiet.

Dogs bark for various reasons. Contrary to the opinions of some, dogs do not bark just to annoy you and your neighbors, nor do they bark for spite or revenge. Dogs don’t bark just because they can (though it might seem that way at times). Certain dog breeds bark more than others – particularly smaller dogs.

Understanding why your dog barks excessively is the first stage to begin controlling its behavior. Dogs usually bark for the following reasons:

Warning or Alert: It’s natural for dogs to bark when someone comes to your door or when strangers walk by your house. Often just a car driving past can provoke a round of barking. Dogs will bark if they sense some type of threat and you’ll recognize this bark by its sharp, loud and authoritative tone.

Attention-seeking: Listen carefully to the different types of barking your dog does. You’ll soon be able to discern this unique bark and associate it with the meaning “Pay attention to me!” Some dogs will even whine and bark at the same time just to get attention.

Responding to Other Dogs: This can be a proverbial pain in the rear. One dog on your street – or whenever you happen to be walking your dog – will start barking, and one by one the rest of the dogs on the block join in.

Anxiety: Anxious barking, usually high-pitched and sometimes accompanied by whining, seems to be calming for many dogs. Listen carefully to your dog because it can be mistaken for the same type of barking common to dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

Playfulness or excitement: This type of barking is almost exclusively used by puppies and young dogs. Many dogs will bark in a delighted, contented way when playing with people or other dogs. Many dogs bark enthusiastically when they know you’re taking them for a walk or a ride in the car.

Boredom: The bark of a bored dog is likely to be annoying and sound a little sad. A bored dog will often bark simply to release excess energy, but the same sound can also mean your dog is lonely and wants companionship.

Once you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can begin to control its unwanted behavior. The best way to prevent excessive barking is to remove potential sources of your dog’s behavior. You also want to be sure you don’t unintentionally encourage the barking.

If your dog displays signs of loneliness, avoid leaving it alone for long periods of time.

Don’t pet or feed your dog when its barking for attention or when the barking is due to anxiety. Your dog will interpret this as rewarding its behavior, and the result would be to encourage the barking.

Never let your dog run around outside, barking constantly, regardless of the reason. This is one of the fastest ways to turn neighbors into enemies and send an invitation to your animal shelter or police.

Dogs always bark for a reason. They are trying to tell you something, whether you’re ready to hear it or not. Pay attention to when and how your dog barks and take the time to work with your dog to reverse the bad behavior. It’s important to stop excessive barking by your dog if you (and probably your neighbors also) don’t want a restful night or peaceful day ruined by your dog barking excessively.

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