Monday, December 26, 2011

Does Your Dog Bark All Day? Or Maybe All Night?

!±8± Does Your Dog Bark All Day? Or Maybe All Night?

Barking is a natural form of communication for dogs. Barking is a part of their nature so you will never be able to stop barking completely. In some dog breeds, such as the Working and Herding Groups, barking is more ingrained in their nature, as they were originally bred to protect livestock and people. Barking was their main way to warn of possible danger and was a very necessary part of their breeding and training.

Even in the normal domestic situation, you want your dog to bark at appropriate times. This is especially important if your house is in a remote location, or if it is hidden by trees or a high fence. The sound of an alert dog inside the house will often be enough to deter any unfriendly "visitors". (Especially if he sounds like a big dog!).

So, it is important to train your dog when to bark and when to be quiet. There are seven different reasons why your dog may bark and each one needs to be recognized and treated differently.

1) His "guard dog" instincts may cause him to bark at the sight of another dog or if someone approaches the house, even if he is a miniature poodle or a bichon frise! He may react this way if he sees or hears anything that he perceives as "danger".

2) He may be telling you he needs to go outside.

3) He may be hungry. This should not be a problem if he is fed adequately and at a regular time each day.

4) He may be excited or "pumped up". It may be the time for his normal exercise and he may be telling you he wants to get going.

5) He may be bored, or lonely or frightened. This is when the problems really start, especially if you're not there at the time. The most annoying problem arises (particular for your neighbors) if the dog is left alone for long periods during the day and keeps up constant barking or howling for hours at a time.

6) The most extreme cases of this fear arise out of Separation Anxiety, especially for a new puppy or adult dog in the home. He is in a new and strange environment and his new family suddenly disappears for long periods of time. 30 minutes can be a long time for a nervous dog. For more information on this particular problem, go to

7) As a new member of your pack, the dog may be unsure of his place in the hierarchy and may be trying to establish himself as the alpha dog. This will not apply in the case of a puppy but any adult dog aspires to be the alpha dog, so he's going to give it a try!

We have a whole section on the Apha Dog, at All About Dogs

So, what's the answer? Unfortunately, there is no single simple answer. It's a combination of things. Ideally, you need to get the dog to understand the commands, "Speak" and "Quiet".

Never yell at the dog while he's barking, he'll think you're joining in the conversation! He is barking to get attention and you're giving it to him. When he starts barking, call him to you and make him sit. When he stops barking say "quiet" and give him a treat or praise.

If he will not stop barking, ignore him completely, until he does. Turn your back on him.

Probably when he is barking furiously, he is "hyped up" and it can be difficult to get his attention. A couple of useful devices are either a water pistol or a shake can. Just spray him with a jet of water or shake a can with some stones or pebbles in it, to distract him from whatever he is barking at, then call him to you and make him sit. Then reward him for being quiet

A word here on treats. Always - that means every time! - make him sit before you give him the treat, whatever good behavior you are rewarding. He is then under control.

If your dog has plenty of exercise and stimulation, with frequent and varied training sessions, he is much less likely to indulge in excessive barking.
Many dogs will stop barking if they receive no attention for the behavior.

This is extinction training. The behavior becomes extinct because it is never acknowledged. Unfortunately, if you live in a neighborhood someone else may be giving the dog attention for this behavior. If you are training your dog not to bark, be sure to alert your neighbors and ask that they do not yell at the dog to stop barking. They will only destroy any progress that you may make.

Soothing Separation Anxiety is a subject in itself and is dealt with in more detail, in another of our articles on this site. If you have to leave the dog alone in the home for any long periods, try these two things:

Leave a radio on, preferably on a talk show with plenty of conversation but no rock and roll!

Make sure that he has his own place, where he feels secure, whether it's a crate or a blanket or just his own corner of a room. If he doesn't have his own space to relax and sleep, he'll use yours and end up on or in your bed!

There are several different types of collar, to control or restrain barking and many different opinions on their effectiveness and long term effects. This is a complete subject in itself and is dealt with in yet another of our articles on this website.

If you can get the right balance and train your dog to bark only when it's appropriate, then you'll have the best of both worlds.

Does Your Dog Bark All Day? Or Maybe All Night?

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