How can I stop my dog from barking?

How can I stop my dog from barking?

“Dogs that bark don’t bite!” The saying may sound comforting, but dogs that bark all the time not only strain your nerves, but also those of your neighbors. But why do dogs bark? And how can I stop my dog ​​from barking?

No matter whether the doorbell rings, whether someone walks past the fence or through the stairwell, whether other dogs or strangers come too close while walking or whether their master comes back home after shopping: some dogs seem to comment on every event with a loud voice Bark. Sure, barking is part of the dog and its way of communicating. But if dogs bark and bark incessantly over a long period of time, you should pay attention: If your dog barks disproportionately, there may be a serious behavioral disorder. You can find out how to stop your dog from barking here.

How much barking is normal?

While some dogs almost never raise their voices, others bark at every little thing. As with humans, there are also dogs that are more “talkative” and more silent. Chihuahuas, Spitz, Pugs, Appenzell Mountain Dogs or Shepherds are generally considered more communicative breeds than Great Danes, St. Bernard dogs, Eurasians or Irish Wolfhounds. Even if there are significant differences within these dog breeds, as long as the barking is kept within an acceptable range and the dogs stop barking immediately at the command of your master, everything is fine. However, if your dog barks at every strollers and every visitor and can hardly calm down, there are often other causes behind this than just a barking character.

Why do dogs bark?

The fact is, dogs don’t bark for no reason. They don’t bark because they want to annoy their master or because they love to hear their barking. They bark to express themselves. They are happy because they finally see you again or because you go to the dog park with him. However, if dogs bark disproportionately and in situations in which it is actually undesirable, for example when they meet others on the street or at everyone who walks past their property, they are more likely to express negative feelings. Uncertainty, fear, frustration or boredom are among the most common causes of excessive barking.

Barking out of uncertainty

For example, if your dog barks at other dogs or walkers and reports loudly as soon as someone approaches you and your property, the most common reason is that he is unsafe or afraid. The fault for this uncertainty usually lies in the behavior of its owner. People who are themselves nervous when they meet other dogs on a walk or who flinch when a horde of children rush towards them transfer this feeling to their dog. You convey to him that you are not in control of the situation and that you need his help. Dogs that bark in such situations believe that their master or mistress needs protection.

Barking out of frustration and boredom

Another cause of constant barking can be frustration. Dogs that are frustrated because, for example, they are not busy enough, have too little exercise and are bored, bark whenever their owner enters or leaves the house or when someone comes to visit. In the eyes of their humans, such dogs often bark for no reason, simply because their caregivers are close by. The reason for the loud yapping is actually very obvious: the dog is looking for your attention! He wants you to dedicate yourself to him, to pay attention to him and to spend time with him.

Barking due to pain

Of course, there are also dogs for which none of these reasons, such as insecurity, fear or frustration, do not apply. Their barking may be due to chronic pain or other ailments related to an illness. Before you start to stop your dog from barking, it is advisable to visit the vet in any case. This is the only way to rule out beyond any doubt that the cause of the frequent barking is physical.

How can I stop my dog ​​from barking?

Knowing the background to your dog’s excessive barking is important not only to rule out physical discomfort as a cause, but also to successfully fight the barking. Only if you know the reasons for its loud nagging can you stop your dog from barking through targeted training methods. If you want to stop your dog from barking, it is important that you first observe your dog closely and analyze the situations in which it barks. The causes can usually already be deduced from these situations. For example, if he barks at other people when they approach you, it usually means that he wants to protect and defend you. If you leave the house and drive away without him, however, the barking usually means: “I’m bored and I’m frustrated that I’m not allowed to go with you!”

Sport and play

If the latter is the case, your dog urgently needs more activity and exercise. This can often stop your dog from barking. A short walk around the block is not enough for most dogs. Hardly any dog ​​was born to the “lap dog” of its family, but in the past often had important tasks and functions to fulfill. Even as family dogs, the four-legged friends want to be challenged physically and mentally.

Long walks, small retrieval games, tracking down a treat and teaching small tricks will satisfy most dogs. If this is not enough, for example because your dog as an original working dog has a lot of energy and stamina, dog sports are recommended as a compensation. Agility, obedience, dog dancing, mantrailing or many others: there is something for almost every sporty four-legged friend in dog sports. In any case, the joint activities will have a positive effect on your relationship with one another. They get to know each other better and build an important relationship of trust with one another. Dogs that are physically and mentally busy are generally calmer and more balanced and often stop barking too quickly.

Give your dog security

If the feeling of insecurity or fear lies behind the constant barking of your dog, this cannot of course be overcome simply by taking longer walks or playing more games. Ultimately, you need to convey to your dog that you are in control and that he doesn’t need to worry. You have to build a new relationship of trust with one another, so to speak, and this naturally requires a lot of patience and discipline. Show your dog that you are the leader and convince him that you have enough self-confidence and sovereignty to run their own affairs. Of course, this is not always easy and it will certainly not work from now on. The following examples should show you the first practical behaviors that show your dog: “Barking is not necessary – I have everything under control!”

Behavioral tips that give the dog security

Tip 1 for barkers at the front door
When the doorbell rings and your dog starts barking loudly, most owners try to scare their dog off with loud sentences such as “Off! Stop it now! ”Or gently stroke your barking dog on the head. For the dog who does not understand the meaning of the words and only notices that you are excited too or that you petting him praise when he barks, that means: “I’m doing everything right!”. So the reaction of his master unconsciously encourages him to believe that the situation requires his intervention. Before you open the door, you should first refer your dog lovingly but decisively to a permanent place – behind you. Show him that you are able to handle the situation. If he sits down nicely and doesn’t bark, give him praise. If he does bark, ignore him or pay him any attention, either by words or by eye contact. Your visit should do the same. Only when your dog stops barking – even if it’s just for a quick breath – do you praise him. By praising the positive and ignoring the undesirable, you can decisively influence his behavior.

Tip 2 for walks together
In order to give your dog security when walking together, you should first take him on a leash – not as a punishment, but as an extension of your protective arm, so to speak. Don’t let your dog lead the way, set your pace and direction. When you meet someone, continue walking calmly without reacting. In this way you give your dog security and show him that his barking is not necessary. Do not try to calm him down with gentle words or by scolding him.

That will make your dog even more insecure and confirm his behavior. Don’t praise him until he stops barking.

Tip 3 for dogs who feel left alone
It is similar with dogs that bark because their caregiver is leaving the apartment. Only when your dog manages to remain calm in this situation do you give praise to him. It is best to practice this step by step by leaving him alone for certain periods of time. As long as he barks, ignore him. If he stays calm – even if this is only for a very short moment – praise him. This can be in the form of loving words, but also with treats.

Tip 4 for more security and structure in everyday dog ​​life
In general, almost all dogs long for security and structure. You need a confident dog handler who consistently shows you the way and who you can rely on. One way to give them security is to have fixed daily routines and structures that the dogs can use for orientation. You decide how the day goes – not your dog. For example, start a little obedience workout every morning during a walk. Teach him the most important commands and praise him if he gets them right the first time. Establish fixed times for meals, walks, or games together and show him that you are in charge immediately. As with the above examples of barking at the front door or when going for a walk, you should only reward your dog for things he has done well and right when prompted. Don’t scold him if he does something wrong, for example barking loudly, but rather praise him when he gets quiet at your command. Step by step you can stop your dog from barking.

Weaning the dog off barking: when to go to dog school?

There is a tremendous amount that you can teach your dog with the help of this positive reinforcement. Through consistent training, you can wean a dog from barking that has been used to this behavior over many years. The older the dogs are and the longer they have made barking “part of their life”, the longer this re-education process will of course take. But even if you don’t have a puppy in front of you, you don’t have to despair: even the biggest barker is able to calm down! However, you cannot always do this on your own. So don’t hesitate to seek help from experts who can give you and your dog individual help. A visit to the dog school, the vet or dog therapist proves to be very helpful for many on the way to a calmer togetherness.

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