How to Stop Excessive Barking

Some problem behaviors are more straightforward to deal with than others.  Learning how to deal with your dog’s excessive barking problem can seem difficult on several levels.  It is absolutely possible to correct and deal with this type of behavior, but you have to take a few things into account first.  There are a lot of reasons why dogs bark, and you can’t stop them from barking all of the time.  You also don’t want to stop your dog from barking when it may be appropriate.


Your dog may bark because he isn’t getting enough mental or physical stimulation.  Just like a little kid acting out, your dog may bark because he’s bored.  Make sure your dog is getting the exercise and attention he needs from you.  Don’t pay attention to him when he barks like this though.  A direct reaction to this type of barking, even a negative one, will only encourage your dog to behave the same way again.


Your dog may be bred to bark a lot.  Many herding dogs and hounds have this trait because of the jobs they were bred to do.  If you have one of these breeds of dog, he may be barking because it’s in his genes.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t train your dog not to bark when it’s inappropriate.  It is important to be aware of the possible causes of the excessive barking so that you can approach correcting it in the right way.


Dogs are pack animals.  Your dog may bark excessively when you leave him home alone because he’s separated from his pack and doesn’t know how else to find you again.  This can be one of the most difficult excessive barking problems to address, but it can be done when you know what is causing the problem.

The main pitfall you have to be sure to avoid in this type of situation is unconsciously rewarding your dog’s barking every time you come home.  If your dog is barking while you’re gone and then you come home and immediately give him attention, he will think it was his barking that caused you to return.  In order to break this cycle, you have to ignore your dog if he is barking when you first arrive home.  Only once he’s settled can you initiate contact and give him the attention he wants.


Your dog may bark when a person he doesn’t know comes near the house.  This could be anyone that your dog perceives to be a threat to their territory.  It can be particularly difficult to eliminate this behavior if your dog is barking at the mailman or other delivery person because these people are guaranteed to reward the behavior every time.  The mailman comes, your dog barks, the mailman leaves.  It’s not an impossible cycle to break, but it will definitely take some work.

These are just a few of the reasons that dogs may bark excessively.  It is an annoying problem and an important one to fix, but it’s good to keep in mind too that there are times when you’ll want your dog to bark.  Barking can be a healthy way for your dog to express himself.  He just has to know when it’s appropriate and when it’s not.

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Claudie on September 27th 2010 in Dog behavior, Dog Ownership