Weekly Wag: What Are You Barking At?

Barking is a natural part of being a dog. It’s one of their ways of communicating with humans, other dogs and animals. One of my dogs is very vocal. It is so funny to listen to him talk, like a muffled bark. He talks to me and my other pets. (I do not make him stop when he is talking) Like a kid’s cry, dogs have different types of barks and you will learn which bark is for what.

There are many reasons why your dog is barking; talking, fear, being protective, attention. Trainers say find the reason your dog is barking then you can correct the problem. That is easier said than done sometimes. Do you know why your dog is barking? When does he bark? Who does he bark at? Sometimes there’s a pattern and sometimes not. Owners need to find the underlying problem of a dog consistently barking.

Consistent barking is often caused by emotional problems or being spoiled. It can stem from nervousness, excess energy, fear, or wanted attention.  The best prevention of any of these is socializing and exercise as soon as you get the dog or pup. Dogs need to feel safe and secure in their environment. They need plenty of love and a good diet. Exercise depends on your type of dog. There are couch potatoes and ones that need to run. They should at least get walks and some type of mind stimulation, such as playing some type of game, indoors or out.

If your dog is barking for attention, ignore her until she stops. Dogs pick up on cues (human pattern) and bark in excitement for what is about to come. The first thing to do is to change your cues as much as you can and stop what you are doing when the barking starts. For example if your dog barks when you get her leash or toy, put the leash or toy back. I put the leash on my dogs often when they are not going for a walk. Now they do not bark and get all excited because I have changed my “cue” or pattern of behavior.

If your dog is barking at every little noise, try desensitizing. Playing the noise over and over until he is not effected, using food as a treat will help when he does what you want. For anything you teach your dog, the foundation is him focusing and listening to his owner. Work with your pet in the house with treats. Put a treat up to your face, when your dog gives you eye contact give him the treat and an ATTA BOY. When he is barking, get his attention, say enough, sit, or give him a toy, something to get his attention on you and off of what he is barking at. Do NOT give him treats when barking, this will only encourage it. Give him a treat when he is quiet. Ignore bad behavior, reward good behavior!


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