People appreciate the advance notice their dogs provide when they bark to announce a visitor or to let them know an uninvited person is skulking about. However, they want their dog’s bark to mean something, and they want the dog to stop barking once they have investigated the reason for the barking. Dogs that bark incessantly, and that won’t stop when asked, present a problem. The three primary types of Dog Barking include excitement barking, territorial barking, and stress barking. Below are some insights into Dog Barking, and some dog training tips to help manage unwanted and inappropriate barking.
There are a variety of triggers that make dogs bark in excitement. For example, one that affects most dogs is the arrival of a visitor. Someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door and the dog runs to the door, barking furiously. Some dogs bark with excitement when playing with their owners, such as when anticipating the toss of a Frisbee. Others bark at lawnmowers, motorcycles, or at other animals, such as cats, squirrels, or deer.
The best way to deal with this type of dog behavior is to distract the dog into placing his attention back to his owner. Dog toys, treats, and play are all effective ways to distract the dog from the source of his excitement. In other words, the dog’s owner must become more exciting than the trigger.
Most dogs instinctively defend what they perceive to be their territory, which typically is their own house and yard. They also tend to defend wherever it is that they happen to be at a given time, such as in a vehicle, at a campsite, or even just personal space when walking on a public trail. Territorial barking is desirable up to a point. It is often what makes a would-be thief keep moving in search of easier prey, and it increases an owner’s awareness of what’s happening around him. However, it becomes problem barking when the dog won’t cease upon command. This focus responsible for the type of barking is often most easily broken when the owner physically puts his hands on the dog, bringing his attention back to the owner. Once the dog’s concentration is broken, the owner can show the dog a favorite toy and engage him in a different activity.
Occasionally, there are dogs that bark from stress or anxiety. Often, this type of barking occurs when the dog is left alone and can be a source of annoyance for neighbors. Here, the key to stopping the barking is generally found in training. The dog should be acclimated to the owner’s absence for short periods of time at first. Also, a pleasant routine should be established that leads up to the owner’s departure. For example, interactive dog toys might be brought out that are only given at that time or, perhaps, a frozen Kong filled with goodies and broth might be produced for the dog’s enjoyment.
People often ask about the usefulness of bark collars. Bark collars treat the symptom rather than the source of the problem and, depending upon the design of the collar, often create problems of their own. Furthermore, creative dogs often find ways to outsmart such collars. For the cost of the average bark collar, the dog owner could have benefited from a couple of private sessions with a dog training specialist that would likely have addressed the cause of the problem and left the owner a better dog trainer and the dog a happier dog.