If you’ve ever been woken up in the middle of the night you hear excessive barking for seemingly no reason, you’re not alone. In fact, this is a common problem among dog owners. So why does your dog do this, and what can you do to stop it?
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There are a number of possible explanations and this article will help outline and explain 15 of the reasons why your dogs bark excessively.
1. Your Dog Is Bored
If your dog is left alone for long periods of time with nothing to do, it may bark out of boredom. This is especially common in puppies and young dogs who need a lot of stimulation. Dogs are social animals and need companionship and mental stimulation to be happy. Try providing your dog with more toys and interactive puzzles to keep their minds occupied.
2. Your Dog Is Anxious Or Stressed
Dogs can bark when they’re anxious or stressed for a number of reasons. Maybe they’re experiencing separation anxiety from being away from you, or they could be feeling threatened by something in their environment. If your dog is exhibiting other signs of anxiety or stress, such as pacing, panting, or shaking, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
3. Your Dog Is Alerting You To Something
Dogs are natural protectors and will often bark when they sense something is wrong or feel the need to warn you of potential danger. If your dog barks at an unusual noise or someone they don’t recognize, it could be their way of trying to get your attention so you can investigate.
4. Your Dog Is Excited
Dogs may bark when they’re excited for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re happy to see you, looking forward to a walk or car ride or excited about their food. If your dog is barking and wagging its tail at the same time, chances are they’re just expressing their happiness.
5. Your Dog Is Trying To Get Your Attention
Dogs can be very manipulative and will often bark to get your attention, whether it’s for food, water, a toy, or just to be petted. If you find yourself constantly giving in to your dog’s behavior, they will learn that barking gets them what they want and continue to do it. Instead, try to ignore your dog when they first start compulsive barking and only give them attention when they’re quiet.
6. Your Dog Is In Pain
Dogs can bark when they’re in pain or discomfort for a number of reasons. Maybe they have an injury, are suffering from arthritis, or could have an upset stomach. If your dog is barking and seems to be in distress, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
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7. Your Dog Is Playing
Dogs bark when they play just as often as they bark when they’re trying to get your attention. If your dog is running around and barking, they’re probably just enjoying themselves and having a good time.
8. Your Dog Is Guarding Something
Dogs are natural protectors and will often bark when they feel the need to guard something, whether it’s their food, a toy, or even you. If your dog is barking and growling at someone, it’s their way of trying to warn them off.
9. Your Dog Is Communicating With Other Dogs
Dogs bark to communicate with other dogs all the time. If your dog is barking at another dog, they could be trying to play, challenging them for dominance, or even just saying hello to other pack animals.
10. Your Dog Wants To Go Outside
Dogs will often bark when they want to go outside to use the bathroom or just explore. If your dog is barking at the door, they’re probably trying to tell you that they need to go out.
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11. Your Dog Is Frightened
Dogs can be frightened of a number of things, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, and even their own shadows. If your dog’s barking seems to have a worrying feeling, try to identify the source of their fear and remove them from the situation if possible.
12. You’ve Encouraged It
If you find yourself constantly yelling at your dog to stop barking, you’re actually encouraging them to do it. Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so instead of scolding them, try rewarding them when they stop barking.
13. It Could Be A Genetic Predisposition
Some dogs are simply more prone to barking than others. If your dog comes from a breed that is known for being vocal, such as a hound or terrier, it’s likely that they will bark more often than other dogs.
14. It Could Be A Sign Of A Larger Problem
If your dog is barking excessively and you can’t seem to figure out why it could be a sign of a larger problem, such as anxiety, fearfulness, or even aggression. If your dog is exhibiting other troubling behaviors, such as growling, snapping, or biting, it’s best to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist to help address the issue.
15. Teach Your Dog a Quiet Cue
One of the best ways to stop your dog from barking is to teach them a “quiet” cue. This cue can be as simple as saying “quiet” or “shh” in a calm voice. Once your dog has learned the cue, you can use it when they start to bark and they should stop. If your dog doesn’t seem to be responding to the cue, you may need to practice it more often or try using a different cue.
Tips and Tricks
There are a number of remedies to avoid when it comes to dealing with a dog that barks excessively. Some of these remedies include:
- Yelling at your dog
- Punishing your dog
- Giving in to your dog’s demands
- Ignoring your dog
If you have a dog that barks excessively, it can be difficult to figure out why they are doing so. If your dog is barking at nothing or for seemingly no reason, try ignoring them when they first start and only giving them attention when they stop. Dogs will often bark because of pain or fearfulness and this article has provided some remedies to help with those issues. If you find your dog is still barking excessively, it may be best to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist.
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