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Is your dog’s barking driving you up the wall? Then it is high time, as a dog owner, that you figured out a way to enforce bark control, or, at least, reduce the dog bark frequency. As much as we love our dogs, the incessant sound of high decibel barking can be very disruptive and can adversely affect your health, not to mention your relations with your neighbors. Everyone isn’t a dog lover, or tolerant, for that matter, of the constant dog sound nuisance. If you live in a rented place and the dog bark sound gets out of hand, you and your dog might even be asked to leave to preserve the sanity of the rest of the inhabitants. Some housing societies have ‘no dogs allowed’ policies to prevent just such a noise problem from even arising.
So what can you do about your dog’s barking? How do you go about instilling bark control? Well, to begin with, you need to figure out the reason for the barking. Is your dog barking in alarm at the presence of a stranger or a trespasser? Is the dog bark directed at people and animals passing by your house that your dog can see through a window, door, or gate? Are the barks simply for recreational reasons, or because the dog is bored and wants to grab your attention? Is the dog being left alone for long durations and is prone to separation anxiety?
Once you know the exact reason, you can look at diversionary tactics and bark control training methods that can help you curtail this nuisance behavior and reduce the dog bark noise . In addition, training to reduce separation anxiety will help your pet to cope better in your absence. A dog owner should also consider mental stimulation provided by dog toys like the following to keep their pet entertained and engaged –
Hide a Squirrel Fun Hide and Seek Interactive Puzzle Plush Dog Toy by Outward Hound, 4 Piece, Large
Why is Your Dog Barking/What are the different reasons
As a dog owner, you already know that barking is a normal behavior for dogs, along with dog whine and dog growl sounds. It is the way dogs communicate and express themselves, but there can be different reasons for their barking.
They bark to sound an alarm if they see a strange person, a strange dog or a rival dog, a prey animal, a threatening animal, a strange animal, a strange vehicle, a strange object, and so on.
They bark in order to create sufficient noise to establish their territorial ownership and warn interlopers off.
They bark if they are excited about something. These barks are noticeably different from an aggressive dog bark sound.
They bark because they like to bark. There are the recreational barkers that appear to love the sound of their own barks, never mind if everyone else considers them a nuisance.
They bark because they are bored and frustrated.
They bark because they want to play.
They bark because they want to tell you something.
They bark because they have been left alone and are experiencing separation anxiety.
As you see, there can be different reasons for their barking. You can generally differentiate between a dog’s barks as they are pitched differently, depending on whether the dog is angry, fearful, anxious, excited, or happy.
Some dog breeds have more of a tendency to bark than others. If you have a rambunctious dog breed like a golden retriever, for instance, expect plenty of playful barks. Another breed that loves to bark is the dachshund, and a dachshund bark can be very sharp and almost as much as a nuisance as a rottweiler bark, a husky bark, or a bulldog bark.
How to Deal With a Continuously Barking Dog
Many people do want their dogs to sound an alarm if there is a home
intrusion or anything out of the ordinary, but a continual dog bark sound can be a tremendous nuisance both to the dog owner and everyone in the vicinity. As pet parents, we may have a tendency to overlook our dog’s bad behavior, but the rest of the public may not be as magnanimous. Instead of fighting daily wars over your dog’s barking, it will be a better idea to do something about it, once you know the exact reason for the barking.
If your dog is barking to alert you to the presence of a stranger or a trespasser, these kinds of barks generally stop once you arrive on the scene to take matters in hand, or after the perceived threat has gone away. In the same way, if your dog is barking at people and animals passing by your house, you can put a stop to it by checking on the dog or recalling it to you.
Better still, if this is a regular occurrence, you can take the preventive step of barring access to windows, doors, and gates or placing a barrier that doesn’t allow the dog to look out at passersby.
Is your dog barking because they have been left alone in the yard or the garden? The simplest thing, in this case, would be to take the dog inside where they can be with their family. Or, maybe, if the dog needs to be kept outside for some reason, the duration for which they are left out can be reduced with frequent checking so the dog understands that they haven’t been abandoned. You can also try to spend more time with the dog both
inside and outside.
If you are going to be away from home for several hours, you can turn on the radio or television before you leave, so that, with human voices droning on in the background, the dog doesn’t feel alone and does not experience separation anxiety. It will be even better if you can arrange for someone
to keep your pet company. If there is a dog care agency in your area, vet it carefully to see if it will be appropriate for your dog and check if it is feasible to drop your pet there for the duration of your absence.
If your dog is a recreational barker, you need to distract them with toys and games. Making sure your dog gets regular and adequate exercise can also be effective. It will expend the excess energy your dog would otherwise devote to barking.
Spend time training with your dog. You can find information online about how to train your dog, or you can attend dog training classes with a reputable and experienced dog trainer in your locality.
Talk to your neighbors and explain that you are training your dog to become a better canine citizen. This can nip any potential animosity in the bud. Also, they may be more willing to put up with a certain amount of barking once they know you are being a good human citizen yourself and doing something to curb your pet’s noise.
The first thing you can do to get your dog to stop barking is to remain calm yourself. Shouting at your dog might only make them think that you are barking right alongside, and they will just amp up the noise volume to stay competitive. Instead, speak to your dog without raising your voice. Call them to you and away from the target of their barking. If your dog hasn’t yet learned to come when called, you will have to work on that until you can get a sufficiently reliable recall.
There are behavioural solutions like training your dog to not bark in certain
situations and not in others. Train your dog with treats and/or a clicker. Reward your dog every time they pay attention to your ‘Hush up’ admonition. The dog will soon figure out what you want them to do.
Train your dog to spend a few hours on their own without resorting to barking or howling, or any destructive behavior. You will have to do this
gradually, starting with five minutes and increasing the time as the dog understands that it is perfectly okay to be alone. This is a good training exercise for dogs with separation anxiety issues.
As mentioned before, see that your dog receives plenty of exercise. Take your dog for a run or for a long walk. Play games that involve plenty of
running and jumping. After all the activity, it is very likely that your pet will be happy to flop down on their bed and leave all the barking to the neighbor’s dog.
Offer your dog different kinds of toys to keep them mentally engaged. A dog trying to figure out a dog puzzle that metes out treats will be less concerned with what is happening on the other side of the fence.
Are No-Bark Collars a Good Option?
Dog bark control items like no-bark collars are available in the pet market in a range of prices, and many people seem to think they are an appropriate solution to curtail the dog sound nuisance, but no humane dog trainer would recommend an anti-bark device of this type. As a pet parent, you should treat your dog with kindness and not subject them to any kind of cruelty. A collar that punishes your pet with an electric shock or any other aversive stimulus is cruel and not something you should be using. You should also be aware that these collars can often be activated by any other loud noise or by another dog barking, not just by the barking of the dog that is wearing the collar. This means the dog gets punished for even the noise they do not themselves make. You should not be punishing your dog like this, in any case, period. It is no way to treat a family member.
Another anti-barking device in the market is the ultrasonic bark control device, which the manufacturers tout as a humane dog silencer. The ultrasonic bark device activates at the sound of dog barks, and emits a high pitched noise that only the dog can hear. Supposedly this distracts the dog and stops the dog bark nuisance. Reviews from customers indicate that this anti-barking device is not effective long-term in achieving bark control. Dogs apparently either resume barking after the dog whistle frequency
ends, or they start to ignore the noise altogether.
The simpler solution instead might be to try spending more time with your dog, to engage in outdoor activities together, and, for the days that you have to be indoors, to get toys like these to keep your dog occupied and mentally
Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Toy Puzzle that will improve your dog’s IQ. Specially designed for dog training treats.
This is a fun, bone-shaped toy meant to stimulate your dog mentally and develop their thinking abilities. You hide treats in any of the ten compartments and the dog has to move the six circular slides to discover where the treat is hidden. This will certainly keep your pet engaged and stem off boredom. The toy is made of wood. There may be some concerns about your pet chewing and chipping the wood, and the game may not be suitable for dogs with short or flat snouts.
MAGGIFT Screaming Chicken Toy Rubber Squawking Chicken Fun Dog Toy 16 inch
If squeeze toys are your dog’s thing, they will like this chicken. One squeeze and it screams its head off. The chicken is made from durable rubber, but keep in mind that durable is mainly a marketing term and not something that can stump a determined puppy. The toy is light enough for your dog to drag about or toss in the air. You can take it apart, separating the head, the body, and the noise tube. It is easy to clean.
TRIXIE Pet Products Flip Board, Level 2
This circular-shaped toy contains compartments to hid treats. To find these, the dog will have to figure out how to work the movable disks, flippable lids, and liftable cones covers. Dogs that love challenges will have a grand time with this toy. It is made of sturdy plastic and you can wash it in a dishwasher, and the manufacturer offers a one year warranty.
Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Interactive Doy Toy Puzzle for Dogs, Plastic
Made from BPA free and non-toxic plastic, this attractive-looking toy contains three bone-shaped discs arranged in tiers, with lid at the top. Your dog is supposed to spin the discs to find the treats hidden in 12 chambers. The game has three difficulty levels, easy, moderate, and genius.
Nina Ottoson Treat Maze Interactive Game for Small Dogs
Bright-colored and saucer-shaped, this plastic maze toy comes in two sizes, small and large. You place treats inside and the treats have to pass through an inner maze to come out through the two holes at the sides. It might take some time for your dog to figure out that they need to pick and flip the toy
and move it around to get the treats coming out. It should keep them occupied for a nice, long while.
Outward Hound Star Spinner Interactive Doy Toy Puzzle for Dogs
This toy consists of star-shaped containers arranged in three tiers that your pet must spin to get at the treats hidden in the arms of the stars. There is an adjustable difficulty knob to make the game more challenging for your puppy. The toy is made from BPA-free plastic.
KONG CLASSIC LARGE Rubber Chew Toy For Dogs – World’s Best Dog Toy (T1)
The Kong has long been popular with pet parents as a toy to keep their pet preoccupied. It is a cone made of chewable and bounceable rubber, and you stuff treats inside it and let your dog figure out how to extract these.
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, Small
Insert treats into this vinyl tricky treat ball and watch your pet roll it about or throw it about to dispense the treats. It will keep most pets engaged and entertained as long as the treats last. If your dog chews everything in sight,
you might need to supervise playtime with this toy. The vinyl is soft
and could be easily ripped apart.
Buy from Amazon
The FurryFido ball looks like it dropped off an alien spaceship, or, at least, like it’s going to open up and give your pet some alien experiences. The exterior is decorated with a pattern of raised bone and paw shapes. It is made of non-toxic plastic. You fill the core with treats and your dog rolls
the ball around until the treats fall out, one at a time.
Get Your Barker Under Control
Getting your dog to stop barking isn’t going to be easy, and neither can you expect a 100% success rate in bark control. Dogs are not automatons, they are individuals with interests and concerns of their own. You can teach them to a certain extent to mind their manners – or, to be accurate, to align themselves to the manners you think are desirable – and to cut down on the volume of barks, but they are going to relapse into what comes naturally every now and again and bark to express themselves. It is best to accept
this and come up with management tactics that can work around this trait, and prevent the dog bark noise from growing into an overwhelming nuisance.
Your dog will be more likely to listen to you if you respect them as a fellow living being. Be kind and firm, but not a tyrant. Treat your dog as a
companion. Talk to them as you do the chores around the place. Make
them feel included in your daily activities. Ease separation anxiety by acclimatizing the dog to be on its own for a period of time. Engage dog attention with toys. Work on behavioral training to enforce bark control every day. A dog that is happy, content, and well-behaved is less likely to go
looking for diversions to bark at.
Don’t be afraid to shop around a little to find a training style that works for you, and once you find one – stick with it. If you’ve formulated any of your own training tips, please be sure to share them with us!