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Causes Of Barking ~ Barking Cont.

Barking is a normal, natural behavior for dogs. It relieves tension, it drives strangers away, and it is the way dogs communicate. Because of this, barking is one of the most difficult canine behaviors to modify. Socializing puppies to a variety of new people, animals, environments, and noises can reduce anxieties as the dog grows up. Owner control, training, and leadership are also essential. While young, the dog should learn to spend time playing or relaxing alone so that it’s not too distressed when it must be left alone.

Excessive barking outside or even inside can be caused by becoming over-stimulated by noises and the presence of people and animals nearby. In this case, you need to remove the visual stimulus by tarping the fence or restricting access to the dog’s outside view (close the drapes, put him in a back room, etc.) will help control this behavior. If your dog overreacts to the arrival of visitors, simple obedience commands can be used. Teach to sit, lie down or go to his crate to help keep him calm. Unacceptable behavior is often inadvertently reinforced when the dog is a puppy, and then carries over into the dog’s adulthood much to the owner’s dismay.

Reasons Dogs Bark

  • Breed – Some breeds of dogs seem to enjoy being more vocal than others, such as Bassets, Hounds, Collies, Shelties, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, and nearly all Terriers. However, getting a dog of another breed is no guarantee against a barking problem. Almost all breeds have some tendency to engage in alarm barking, although there is a great variation amongst individual dogs.
  • Loneliness – Don’t leave your dog in the backyard 24 hours a day. Dogs are highly social animals and have an intense need to be with their “pack.” If your dog is destructive, crate train the dog so he or she can stay inside without destroying the house. At a minimum, your dog should be kept in your house whenever you are home.
  • Fear – Your dog might be barking in response to something he is afraid of, such as loud noises, thunderstorms, firecrackers or construction equipment. These types of sounds can cause stress and fear, and even long-term phobias. Identify what is causing the fear and desensitize him to it. Do not stroke, pet, hug or otherwise comfort your dog if he is afraid, even though it’s a natural reaction to do so. This will praise him for his nervous behavior and he will likely be more frightened the next time a loud noise occurs.
  • Territorial Barking – Dogs often bark at people, other dogs, cats, or passing traffic while patrolling the house or the borders of the yard. Every dog has watchdog instincts, which he inherited from his ancestors who had to defend their food and territory from predators. Some breeds, those bred to guard, herd or retrieve, are particularly prone to territorial barking. The main targets are often delivery people because they drop things off and then leave; dogs think their barking scares these intruders off, which reinforces the behavior.
  • Physical need – The dog is hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or needs to eliminate. Barking is the dog’s way of asking for your attention to one of these needs.
  • Emotional need – The dog might be bored, anxious or excited. Barking can be a request for attention. Increase play and exercise so your dog will be less bored and sleep more. Teach your dog to fetch a ball or Frisbee and practice with him as often as possible. Enroll in a class to build your dog’s confidence and emotional control, and spend five to ten minutes practicing the commands you’ve learned. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. If you must leave your dog for extended periods of time, consider taking him to a “doggie day care” or have a friend or neighbor walk and/or play with him.
  • Medical problem – Medical problems can contribute to vocalization. In some cases where barking becomes intense, repetitive, and difficult to interrupt, it may be deemed compulsive. Pets with medical, geriatric, and compulsive disorders may benefit from drug therapy along with behavioral retraining techniques.
  • Barking during crate training – Do not reinforce anxiety-induced barking or whining by comforting the dog or talking to him in a soothing voice. Talk to him, take him out of his crate, pet him, and play with him only after he is quiet for at least a few seconds. If you have been “giving in” to your dog by letting him out of his crate when you can’t stand the barking any longer, be aware that you have strongly reinforced him to bark to be released from his crate. This behavior will get worse before it gets better, as the dog now thinks he must simply try harder to get what he wants. If you hold out, eventually the dog will give up. Wait for the barking to stop and praise him quickly before opening the crate.

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