Dogs bark for a multitude of reasons, such as fear, stress, or excitement. Although there is no denying that every dog barks, some breeds woof a lot more than others. Therefore, you must understand the reason for which your dog is barking at you to stop the problem.
Why is My Dog Barking at Me?
It is common for canines to bark whenever they need something from their owner. Similarly, they use barking to alert their family about a potential threat. Keep reading to know about the different reasons that can make your dog bark at you.
Sometimes, dogs bark out of pure loneliness or when they are bored. Being pack animals, most dogs don’t like to stay alone for a long time. Consequently, a lonely pup may bark repeatedly, until someone comes to attend him/her. Boredom can be a very serious issue for those dogs that were originally bred to do certain jobs.
If your dog is barking to get attention, simply ignore him/her and NEVER reward the demands. Shouting back at your pooch is inadvertently rewarding him for barking, even if the communication is negative.
Most dogs bark when they’re going outside, playing, or want a treat. It’s in your best interest to not encourage such behavior by caving into your dog’s attention-seeking habits.
Dogs with separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. They also often make repetitive movements, such as running in circles or along a fence.
In contrast to that, some canines rely on destructive habits to deal with separation anxiety. The owners of these dogs often return home to a chaotic mess. Some breeds, like German Sheppard and Border collies, are more prone to separation anxiety.
Fear and Alarm
Dogs will bark at anything that startles them, regardless of whether they are home or somewhere else. As long as they spot anything that catches their attention, they will start barking. Even though it is beneficial for protecting your home, this can become annoying for your neighbors.
Dogs engaged in alarm barking usually have stiffer body language than greeting canines. They often move forward an inch or two with each bark.
Dogs will always bark when they’re excited or happy about something. However, if you regularly give them a treat for this behavior, they may associate excited barking with treats. This can result in negative barking, which will be a nightmare for you and those around you.
How to stop my dog from barking at me?
The first step to prevent excessive barking is to identify the underlying reason for this behavior. Once you have pinpointed the exact issue, you can stop your dog from barking at you through positive training. Having said that, you may require professional help in some cases.
Keep Your Dog Busy
A common solution to reduce boredom barking is to keep your dog occupied. Scheduling an exercise or play session is usually the best alternative to achieve this goal. If your dog is getting enough mental stimulation, it is quite likely that he/she won’t bark. This is because your pup’s mind is onto something more positive and it will tire him/her out.
Give Your Dog Enough Attention
In these cases, it’s best to reward your dog a few seconds after it stops barking. The rewards can be anything your pup wants, be it attention or treats. This way your dog learns that he/she won’t get anything by barking but will get rewarded for staying calm and silent.
Some dogs bark excessively only when they hear other canines yapping. This kind of barking occurs in the social context of hearing other dogs, even at a distance. There’s not much you can do about your dog shouting at other dogs.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone For a Long Time
If you work full-time, it’s highly recommended to avoid dog breeds that are prone to separation anxiety. However, if you have already adopted such a dog breed, try to arrange a dog trainer. These people are professionally trained to take care of your pup in your absence.
A little bit of behavioral training can prove effective to handle this kind of barking. Usually, dogs only bark excessively for the first 30 minutes of their owner’s departure. You may use this information to train your pup to stay calm when you are not around. Having said that, separation anxiety is a very difficult behavior to modify.
Your Dog Might Be Alarmed about Something
The easiest solution to modify this behavior is to stop your dog from seeing the outside world. This can be done by using opaque fences in your yard or installing curtains inside your home. Similarly, removable plastic film or spray-based glass coatings can also be used to obscure your dog’s view.
Lastly, do not let your dog greet everyone at your front door. Instead, train him/her to go to an alternate location (like a mat) and greet only when invited to do so.
Excited Dogs Bark a lot
Do not reward your dogs with the things they want, until they stop barking. For instance, if your puppy barks as soon as you go for the leash, drop the leash and sit down. Keep repeating this process unless your dog stays quiet when you grab the leash. This can take some time, so patience is the key here.
If you are diligent, your dog will quickly learn that staying quiet equals a walk. If your pup barks at people or other dogs during walks, distract him with special treats, like chicken. Remember to pet and praise your dog when it does not bark at others.
Negative barking can always be controlled, provided you stay determined and keep your patience. Some behaviors take longer to suppress while others are quite easy to counter. Adopt a stern but friendly approach for training your dog instead of yelling at him/her. For example, teach your pooch to stop barking whenever you say a firm “NO”.
Recommended Dog Training Courses for Barking
There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.
These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.
The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.