Barking is a vocal way for your dog to communicate. Along with growling and whining, dogs use barking to “talk” to you and other dogs. As such, it’s not realistic to try to prevent your dog from barking completely. To do so would be unfair to your dog.
However, some dogs develop a habit of barking that grows to nuisance levels. You may have had experience with a neighborhood dog that barks incessantly into the night. Barking shouldn’t occur to the point that you and your family or neighbors are disturbed on a regular basis. There are other ways for your dog to communicate, and the goal is to encourage him to use those other options instead of barking for everything he wants, or barking ceaselessly.
What Other Ways Can Dogs Use to Communicate?
Dogs have many options for getting their message across to humans. Once your dog’s barking is within reasonable limits, you can expect to see more of these unspoken gestures from your dog. Be responsive to the following signs so your dog won’t revert back to barking to get your attention.
Head movement (tilting, lowering)
Body movement (sitting up, lying down, refusing to move, running in circles, etc.)
Racing to the subject matter and returning to you
Pawing (placing paw on your lap, pawing at the ground/floor, etc.)
Nudging (pushing a food bowl, pushing nose into your hand, etc.)
How to Stop a Dog From Barking
Here are some ways that Edmond, Oklahoma veterinarians suggest you can try to stop your dog from nuisance barking:
1. Stay Calm
Never shout at your dog to stop barking. Shouting will increase the level of anxiety in your dog, which is one of the things that makes a dog bark in the first place. Any commands you give to stop barking should be delivered in a calm and soothing tone of voice.
2. Train Your Dog to Understand “No”
Instead of trying to teach your dog a new word for everything you don’t want him to do–like using “quiet” to stop barking, and “stop” to prevent him from clawing the furniture–use one word; “no.” Clever dogs can be trained to understand the word “no” in any situation. Begin by training your dog with something tangible, such as a doggy treat lying on the floor. As the dog approaches it, using classic training methods to teach the word “no.” Transition to behavioral examples, like jumping up on visitors. Eventually, when you simply use the word “no” when your dog barks, he will stop. Remember to deliver the command calmly.
3. Provide Distractions
If your neighbors tell you that your dog barks incessantly while you’re away, it’s possible your dog has loneliness, boredom, fear or anxiety issues. You can help resolve this in your absence by providing distractions. Consider adopting a companion pet to alleviate loneliness. Add playthings to the area to ward off boredom. Consider installing a doggy door to help with fear of being abandoned outside. Try keeping the television on while you’re gone to prevent anxiety from setting in. Employ a pet walking service to interact with your dog during the work day.
Infrequently, excessive barking can also be caused by a medical problem. If the tips above show no signs of working, consult with your veterinarian in Edmond, OK and surrounding areas. Your vet will be able to examine your dog for potential physical reasons that are causing your dog to bark, including hearing disabilities, disease, or something else.