A new dog brings the excitement of a new friend to play with, a new companion, and a new family member. A new dog can also bring a lot of headaches. One of the most common problems with a dog in new surroundings is barking. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons: trying to communicate boredom, fear, hunger, thirst, anxiety, etc. Completely eliminating a dog’s barking is not always feasible, but the barking can be greatly reduced. Below are some tips to help you get your dog’s barking under control.
The first thing you need to identify is why your dog barks so much. Is it a constant behavior, or is it only brought on by certain events? Your dog could be barking because of another dog, a cat, strangers at the door, or even because it’s being left at home alone. Knowing why your dog barks will allow you to specifically target the problem.
The number one cause of a barking dog is boredom. You must provide your dog with items to play with and chew on to prevent boredom. Your dog must learn to play on their own. Well intended owners who constantly entertain their dogs have dogs that quickly become bored anytime they are left alone. When you do leave your dog alone be sure the essentials are taken care of. Plenty of food and water are obviously essential, but so are play toys, chew toys, rawhides, bones, etc.
You need to check yourself and to see if you are unknowingly rewarding your dog’s unmerited barking. If your dog is outside barking because you are inside, letting your dog in to quiet them down has just sent your dog the message that barking leads to what they want. When your dog barks for no desired reasons, you must ignore the barking and lavishly reward and praise your dog when the barking has ceased.
Incorporate a, “No Barking” or, “Quiet” command into your dog’s vocabulary. Calmly and quietly tell your dog “No Barking.” When your dog stops barking use the phrase, “Good No Barking” and immediately reward them with food/toys or lavish praise and attention.
My last bit of advice is very simple and basic; a well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. In other words, a tired dog does not have the energy to bark excessively at nothing.