Curing the Barking Dog

How to Stop Your Dog from Making Enemies of Your Neighbors

We all know a neighbor who for some reason lets their dog out into the back yard and leaves the dog alone so that the dog barks, and barks, and barks. Hour after hour. We come to hate this neighbor, even though we probably never met them.

 

We do know they let their dog bark. And that’s enough reason to hate them. The dog’s bark is irritating and drives us mad, at night, in the morning, all the time.

 

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Unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t mind being hated by strangers you’ve never met, you need to curb your dog’s barking. The fact that the dog is barking is proof you’re neglecting your own dog and if you’re not intelligent enough to feel ashamed about it, you should. At least you should be told, like you would if your breath smelled like sewage. Noise can be after all a form of pollution.

 

Dogs often bark because they are lonely and bored. They are gregarious pack animals who thrive on interaction in the wild with other canines of their pack. If there is no pack, there’s only you, the owner. And you’re not doing your job.

 

Some breeds of dogs are more prone to barking than others and some dogs bray or howl, beagles for example. Generally there are three types of nuisance barking, the, I’m lonely out here bark, the dog that barks at passers-by or visitors, or the dog who barks at you to receive attention.

 

NO DOG SHOULD BE TURNED LOOSE OUTSIDE TO INFURIATE NEIGHBORS UNLESS YOU DON’T MIND BEING VIEWED AS FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER. In that case you can expect a nasty note left on your door and an eventual visit from your local police department following up a complaint.

 

How to stop your dog from barking?

Remember, the more a dog barks, the more he wants to bark, to make up for what he lacks. You need to find out what it is. Try to pinpoint the reasons for the barking. Does the doorbell set your dog off? In that case, ring the doorbell yourself and play with the dog, praising the dog or giving him a treat. The idea is to interrupt the bad behavior. If your dog charges toward the door at the sound of a doorbell, then ring the doorbell yourself a hundred times. The dog will learn there’s nobody there to greet and therefore less reason to bark.

 

Other ways to interrupt obsessive barking include squirting water at the dog, making a loud noise or using a non-electric anti-bark collar (squirts some citronella when the dog barks). However, these only interrupt temporarily the barking. They are not a cure because you have not replaced the barking with a stronger impulse like reward or treat.

 

Reward the dog for being quiet.

If your dog barks at people passing by outside a window, block its view. You can also plant bushes to block a dog’s view in the yard. Changing the dog’s environment is sometimes key to the problem.

 

If you must leave your dog out in the yard alone while you are at work there are still things you can do to cut down on nuisance barking. Exercise your dog when you do come home. An exercised dog is a slimmer, healthier dog (you’re slimmer too), and more laid-back, less apt to bark. If there are no toys in the yard, get some. Make them interesting, along with chew treats to occupy the dog’s attention.

 

If you hear your dog barking in the yard, call him away from his barking and reward him (not punish) for doing so. You can paste hollow toys with peanut butter and leave them all over the house or in the yard while you are gone. The dog will spend his time searching them out rather than barking.

 

Establish a schedule the dog can depend on for walking, feeding and play time. Stick to it. If you have to be gone for extended periods of time, hire a dog sitter, day care or dog walker.

 

You can even try massage. No joke. Dogs often bark because they are stressed, restless, overactive, bored, aggressive. You can slowly in a clockwise motion rub your dog’s forehead or along the line of its muzzle with your fingertips, or gently pull back the skin of the forehead. This is extremely relaxing.

 

Even the most problematic barker can be trained to be a more tractable pet.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  

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