You know how it feels when you come back home from work, all you want to do is to relax, enjoy some quiet time with your family or just with yourself. Suddenly there’s a small noise outside the door. Your dog starts barking.
You tell them, “Stop!” They continue barking.
You tell them again, “It’s Ok honey. Everything’s fine.” Your dog continues barking frantically.
You raise your voice, “That’s enough! Stop! Quiet! Quiet!” Your dog barks even louder.
And it goes on, and on, and on.
You are irritated, frustrated, and embarrassed. Your neighbor Mrs. Johnson has already made a complaint to you last month. You have already received warning from your building management. You are worried. What’s going to happen if situation doesn’t improve? You feel hopeless, and helpless…
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking is an important way of communication for dogs. It’s a normal behavior. Dogs bark for many different reasons. The major categories of reasons why dogs bark are the following:
- Seeking attention or food.
- Territorial or protective.
- Boredom and loneliness.
- Anxiety, Fear, Alert.
- Excitement, play/greeting.
In most cases, dogs would stop barking when the trigger is removed. However, it can become a problem when the barking is “too much to handle”.
How To Stop Excessive Barking
When the barking becomes excessive and unwanted, that’s when you need to take actions, and as soon as possible! Here are 7 suggestions.
- Understanding Their Behavior And Yours
First, it is important to understand why your dog barks, and determine if there’s anything you need to adjust in the environment or routine.
Notice if any of your own behavior is “encouraging” the barking. For example, if you give the dog a treat every time they bark, they will bark even more, because they know it’s effective in getting a treat.
If you give them affection or comfort them when they are barking excessively, you are also encouraging them. They’d take it as a “rewarding” behavior that you expected.
- Draining Dogs Energy By Exercising
Dogs need exercises, as much as humans do. When you don’t give sufficient exercises for your dog to walk and to play, they will find their own way to “consume” their energy, which may include excessive barking, or tearing your house down.
For certain super energetic breeds, the owner need to be sportive as well! Do your homework before you decide to bring those breeds in. Think twice if your own life style can not match their demand for exercises.
- Consult A Vet
Always consult a vet to make sure there is no physical issue with the dog. If so, the physical problem needs to be treated first.
Remember, Separation Anxiety is a disease and it needs to be handled with the help of a vet or an animal behaviorist.
- Discipline Training
Dog training is much more than just teaching dogs to “play tricks”. Dogs need discipline. They need to be educated, to know what’s right what’s wrong, and to learn about boundaries. It’s the same as how we must educate and discipline our children. Spoiling them is actually doing them a big disfavor.
Professional dog trainers will be able to help you correct your dogs unwanted behaviors, including excessive barking. They can teach you how to command your dog to be quiet.
- Humans Must Be The Pack Leader
Dogs need to live in a hierarchical society. That’s their nature. A dog pack won’t function if there’s no pack leader. When dogs are living with humans, the entire family is their “pack”. Normally, dogs naturally understand humans are at a higher hierarchy than them, and they expect humans to be the “pack leader”. However, when the family members spoil the dog too much and don’t set any discipline or boundaries for the dog, very soon the dog may start to think that they are the pack leader, that’s when the Pandora’s Box is opened.
When the dog becomes the “pack leader”, they will have to act accordingly. A pack leader must defend the territory, protect the pack members, and also must be the first to access resources, such as food. They perform these tasks by excessive barking, being aggressive to other dogs or human, being over reactive, over excited, food aggression, attacking “lower ranking” members of the family – typically children.
It is important that all humans living with dogs understand and learn how to be the pack leader for the dog. When the dog can live in a “pack” with a leader, they will feel much more secure and relaxed. Therefore their unwanted behavior will significantly reduce.
- Consult An Animal Communicator / Pet Psychic
Animal Communicators can help you better understand the feelings and emotions of your dog. Sometimes there might be other reasons that you haven’t noticed. Understanding your animals better can help you to better help them.
However, keep in mind that Animal Communicators / Pet Psychics are not vets or dog trainers (unless they are also professionally trained in those areas.) Correcting dog behavior is not as simple as “Please just tell my dog to stop barking!” As a dog owner, you also need to do your part by offering training to your dog and adjusting your own behavior.
- Pay Attention To Your Own Energy And Emotions
Human’s own energy is the point which is most often neglected by dog owners. Dogs pick up human emotions and reflect it back.
If you pay attention to your own emotions, do you notice how you feel when your dog is barking excessively? — Irritated? Angry? Frustrated?
If your dogs bark excessive because of Separation Anxiety, how do you feel before you leave the house? — Sorry? Anxious? Sad?
If your dog barks and acts aggressively when you walk them, how do you feel before you take them out? – Nervous? Fear? Worry?
When you are in these emotions, even if it’s just a short few seconds, your dog can pick it up, and they will be experiencing the same emotions.
Next time when your dog is barking excessively, or ideally, before they are triggered, try these simple steps:
- Take some deep breaths, calm down yourself. – REALLY calm down, not pretending. You can’t fool the animal!
- Bring up a picture in your mind how you WANT your dog to behave. – For example, picture them sitting quietly, walking peacefully passing other dogs… etc.
- Send that picture to your dog. Just use your imagination, like sending brain waves. Do this for two or three minutes.
- Maintain your own calm energy, patiently watch your dog calm down. While waiting, you may keep sending that picture as long as you can.
- If you are going out for a walk, wait till your dog is calm before opening the door.
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