Why Is My Dog Barking So Much?
Just like us, dogs need to communicate. A dog’s bark is one of the many methods they use to communicate with us and each other.
If you want a strong relationship with your furry friend, the key is understanding their different types of bark.
All dogs bark, but when it becomes excessive, there may be something else going on with your fur baby.
Keep reading to find out why your dog is barking so much, and to find out ways you can stop excessive barking.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
It’s completely natural for dogs to bark, and they bark to express something to us or to their fellow dogs.
There can be many reasons behind a dog’s bark:
Just like us, dogs have to express their emotions. Whether they’re happy or excited, your dog will most likely let out a bark or two.
Understanding the difference between a happy bark and a sad or scared bark mostly comes down to your own common sense and understanding of the situation.
For example, if there’s a thunderstorm and your dog is barking, then it’s most likely going to be a fear bark. If your dog is trapped in a room while another dog is running about outside, it’s probably an excitement bark, excited to see another dog.
If you’re still not sure based on the situation, you should take a look at your dog’s body language. Dog behavior can be difficult to understand, but as your understanding grows, so will your bond with your dog.
Dogs have physical needs - they need regular exercise, food, and water. If these aren’t met, you (and your poor ears) are sure to know about it.
I may be stating the obvious, but ensure your dog’s water bowl is full, they have been fed, and they’ve had enough exercise before you explore any other reasons why your dog may be barking.
Barking is a great way for dogs to release excess energy, so a common cause of barking tends to be boredom and lack of stimulation. If they have toys and are well-exercised, then they’re less likely to be noisy in the home.
Dogs will bark at pretty much anything. If they see a bird in a tree, they’ll bark. If they hear a knock at the door, they’ll bark. This is completely normal dog behavior - it’s only when it’s excessive that it becomes an issue.
Loud noises can trigger your dog’s barking, as can the weather, deliveries, new people - like I said, pretty much anything. This type of bark should be short-lived, so if you notice elongated barking sessions when anything environmental causes the bark, it may be worth asking yourself if something may be wrong.
Could There Be Something Wrong?
Excessive barking isn’t likely to stop unless you intervene. There can be many reasons behind excessive barking - and understanding the reason is part of the solution.
Illness or Pain
Dogs get ill just like us, except we can verbally communicate that we are feeling under the weather. Dogs, on the other hand, tell us via their barking and their body language.
If your dog is barking and there doesn’t appear to be an environmental cause and he’s well-fed, watered, and exercised, you may want to consider that your dog may be poorly or in pain.
If you’ve ruled out all other causes, then it’s best to contact your veterinarian for advice.
Anxiety in dogs is more common than you think. You can usually tell anxious barks from other barks as they tend to be more high pitched and “whiney”.
It’s possible that your dog could have a phobia or separation anxiety. For more information on anxiety in dogs, see this post on “5 Ways to Minimize Dog Anxiety”.
Compulsive barking is relatively easy to identify - if your dog shows other obsessive/ repeated behaviors (such as running to the door and back repeatedly) while barking compulsively, then it may be due to compulsive barking.
It’s important to give your dog lots of attention and toys to distract him from this behavior, as it can be very tiring to your dog and the inhabitants of the home.
This type of bark is linked to separation anxiety and boredom, so be sure to give your dog lots of love and attention if you want it to stop.
How to Stop My Dog Barking Excessively
In an ideal world, we’d spend all day with our dogs and know everything about them. Unfortunately, many of us have things to do, people to see, and money to earn.
To stop your dog barking excessively, you must first understand why they are barking and what triggers them.
Spend as much time with your dog as possible if barking is an issue, and monitor when he barks while keeping an eye out for any causes - whether it be thunder, the doorbell, or your absence.
A lot of solutions are situation-specific. For example, if your dog barks excessively every time the postman comes, then make sure he’s in another room at that time. If your dog barks whenever you leave him alone, then this behavior should be trained out of him.
If your dog barks at things in the garden, try to divert his attention. Reward him with treats or toys whenever he comes to you instead of barking at the birds and squirrels. This can apply to other situations, such as certain noises and other environmental causes.
When it’s a more complex reason, such as separation anxiety, you may want to get help from a dog behavior expert or a veterinarian.
It requires time and patience to solve your dog’s barking problem, but stick at it and the results will show.
Don’t be afraid to contact a dog behavior specialist if your dog’s barking gets out of hand and you can’t control it yourself.
Remember, you should never try to silence your dog. All dog’s bark - it’s completely normal and necessary behavior. It’s only when it’s excessive and becomes a problem that action should be taken.