Barking is a natural behavior for dogs; however there are a lot of things that can cause your dog to bark obsessively. Dogs that are lonely, bored, frustrated, frightened or unbalanced will bark more than dogs that are happy. If you keep your dog outside most of the day, you may think he is getting exercise, but the truth is all that running in circles, darting around, or pacing is more like fidgeting, or a nervous behavior. If you provide your dog with fun things to do, like a place to dig, or special toys to play with, then they can get more enjoyment out of being outside. Here are some things you can do to help your dog to not bark in your yard.
1. Exercise – This is on the top of the list because a dog that gets good exercise is more likely to sleep most of the day. They are more balanced and happy. By exercising, that does not mean letting your dog out in the yard, it means taking them for a long tiring walk or run.
2. Training – You can always hire a professional dog trainer, or you can buy a book and do it yourself. Teaching your dog obedience is a great way to establish trust. If you can get your dog to listen to you and want to learn, then you are becoming the boss, and in the canine world being the boss is the only way to get your dog to respect you. If you need further guidance there are plenty of shows on TV you can watch. A few of my favorites are Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisper) on National Geographic, and Victoria Stillwell (It’s me or the dog) on Animal Planet.
3. Social exercise – A dog that is outside most of the day will need more social involvement from you. Walks around the neighborhood, and dog parks are a good way to get them out and about. Bring them inside the house when you are home so they can feel a part of your life. You can also come home and groom them for some one on one time.
4. Attention – Your dog may be barking to get your attention. If every time it barks you go over and give it affection, then you are training the dog that barking equals attention. You can start by letting the dog bark once, and then let him go outside. When it barks twice let him come back in. Be consistent and only let the dog in and out when it barks the right amount of times.
5. Quiet – You can begin to teach your dog a word to keep him quiet. For instance you can use the word “Hush” or the sound “SHHH”. When the dog stops barking for three seconds, give him a treat and lots of praise. Each time that the dog begins to bark, repeat the training. As you continue to use this exercise, increase the amount of time the dog stays quiet before giving the treat. Before you know it you will see improvement. You have to be patient and keep practicing. You may not see results over night, but if you stick with it you should see improvement with in a matter of weeks.
If your dog is left alone or confined for long periods of time without supervision, it’s more likely to bark. Dogs get anxious and sad when they are alone, much like a child does. If you are gone during the day be sure to give the dog a lot of exercise before you leave for work that morning. If you stay persistent, you are bound to see a difference.
Sheena Diane, Freelance Writer