Excessive Barking in Dogs
Barking and your dog
Every dog barks. Even the Basenji, “the barkless dog”, can make some noise akin to a bark (though it's more like a yodel). Essentially, barking is a dog’s version of talking. They bark to say hello, to say they want something –“Feed me!” – and also to let you know if something’s going on or when they don’t like something.
That said, some of our furry buddies are loud mouths and just love to hear themselves bark all the time. That kind of barking becomes annoying and stressful for the people and other pets in your house.Expecting a dog to never bark is like asking a person to never talk. In fact, trying to quiet a dog’s normal barking can be extremely stressful and confusing for the dog. Imagine if someone shushed you every time you asked for food or when you needed something or put a piece of tape over your mouth so you couldn’t talk!
Barking: What's normal and what's annoying?
Good barking is pretty easy to identify:
- When people come into your dog’s space, knock on the door, drive into your driveway, etc.
- Reaction to loud or unusual noises (horns honking outside, thunder, or construction noise)
- Asking to go out or telling you, “hey, I’m hungry.”
- A perception on your dog’s part that any member of his family is nervous, afraid, or in harm
Nuisance barking is also usually pretty easy to spot:
- “I’m barking simply because I like the sound of my own voice and I’m not going to stop anytime soon.”
- Barking when wanting attention of any sort – “you’re not paying attention to me, so I’m going to bark,” “you left the room, so I’m going to bark,” and “you’re talking to your husband, I’m going to bark.”
- Barking because someone else barks and getting the entire pack into a barking frenzy
If your dog exhibits “good barking” tendencies and it doesn’t cause problems within your home, we actually don’t recommend discouraging it. In fact, alert barking can be a good thing, as can reasonable “request barking” (i.e., I need or want something). To ensure your dog’s alert or request barking stays in control, acknowledge it by going to your dog, making physical contact with a stroke on the head or back, and say “good dog.” This will your dog know that you heard and that he or she doesn’t need to bark