Dogs make noise for a number of reasons.
The most common being: territory protection, attention seeking, anxiety as well as boredom and lack of exercise, which can all be easily addressed.
Each situation is usually different and there are many ways to overcome this often annoying habit. If you try the following basic techniques and do not achieve results, consult your dog trainer or a qualified veterinary animal behaviouralist.
- If your dog is outside or away from you, do not give your dog any attention when barking. When they do stop, count to 10 before approaching them.
- If your dog is inside with you and begins to bark AT YOU for attention, pretend that this means the dog urgently wants to be put outside and left alone until they quiet down. The dog will think you are crazy but it will make them think twice about barking for attention.
- If they are barking at arriving visitors, you need to begin retraining your dog to see that the visitors’ arrival is in fact a pleasurable experience. Let your dog know that he or she does not need to protect you from these “intruders”. Once the visitors are inside your house, wait until your dog stops barking and then give it praise.
- If there is an area where your dog can see visitors or people walking around, you may consider restricting access to this area.
- If your dog is barking when you leave the house, try getting a neighbour to give your dog a treat, bone or ball halfway through the day while the dog is quiet. You can also leave your house in the morning and drive off for 5 minutes and then return back with a treat, like it is no big deal. It is also important that your dog gets alone time when you are home.
- Some dogs may bark or howl because they are anxious about your absence (say when you leave for work or go out for dinner). Depending on your environment and dog you can do any of the following: Give your dog a meal when you leave, give your dog access to an area they like or are usually with you in, give them a bone or their favourite chew toy (but only when you leave), leave a radio or TV on softly so they can hear, or put their bed somewhere that they can still see and feel a part of the family. Another great method is to make leaving the home, and particularly arriving back, no big deal. If your dog has been fretting for some time while you’ve been out and you then arrive home and embrace your dog immediately, you are virtually confirming that there was something to worry about. Try ignoring them for 10 minutes when you get home, just to let them know that your absence was no big deal.
- Assess your dog’s environment: Has it been adequately fed? Does it have access to water, shade and shelter at all times?