Understanding Your Dog’s Barking Part 1 - The Trupanion Blog
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Understanding Your Dog’s Barking Part 1

Many of us dog owners often have a few problems that we would all be better off without them, one of these problems is barking. If you live in an residential street with other houses close by or if you live in an apartment building that allows dogs and other pets, then you probably have encountered this issue.

If your dog is the kind of dog who constantly barks for hours whenever the neighbor arrives home from work or when they see other dogs out the window, then you should serious consider learning how to stop your dog’s barking.

Barking in a nutshell
To start, everyone should consider and realize that barking is a common, natural and healthy behavior to any dog in pretty much the same way talking is good and natural to us. However, just like teaching your children when it is fine to talk and when it is not, you should also do the same thing for your dog.

In order to control your dog’s barking you need to first understand the reason motivating your dog’s engagement in this behavior. We can easily number such reasons, each requiring different approaches or solutions to stop your dog’s barking.

  • Communication: Barking is one of the most common and active means dogs have to communicate with us and each other. It is normal and expected of dogs to communicate with others through barking. Although normal, allowing your dog to engage in communication efforts for too along may give rise to other more intense forms of barking.
  • Boredom: Boredom is the most common reason for barking in dogs. This can be easily solved with more attention, physical and mental exercises. Playing games with your dog or going for walk and taking your dog with you are a couple of the most simple and rewarding experiences that help considerably in thwarting boredom related behavioral problems.
  • Attention: Lack of attention will at times lead one’s dog to bark for attention. Responding to this desire of attention while the dog is barking is actually counter-productive in your efforts to stop your dog’s barking because it is letting the dog know that barking will get him attention. Instead, provide enough attention to your dog by playing and spending time with him when he isn’t barking for attention. Only give attention when your dog isn’t barking for attention to reinforce that a quiet dog will get attention.
  • Anxiety: Many dogs bark whenever they expect their owner’s departure or arrival. One of the most effective ways to counter this anxious state is by not showing attention to your dog while he’s during this stage of anxiety, and if possible attempt to tire him enough so he doesn’t feel energetic enough to engage in anxious barking.
  • Playfulness: Dogs will naturally bark during times of play to show their excitement. This is a normal and healthy behavior and is a great way for a dog to spend his energy during exercises and playful moments, while at the same having the liberty to express his excitement and appreciation.
  • Warning: It is normal and actually desired by many owners that their dogs bark at strangers but only while such barking isn’t rage or anger motivated. Allowing anger-motivated barking for a prolonged space of time may incite aggressive behaviors.
  • Fear: Dogs often get scared or startled which often causes a dog to cower or bark in fear.

Determining the reasons your dog is barking will help you to better understand your dog’s behavior and how to stop the unwanted barking as we will explain further in Part 2.

This guest post brought to you by Golden Puppy, a Golden Retriever Training Blog. Stay tuned for Part 2 about how to stop your dog’s barking. 

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