The Barking Dog

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Barking is the result of either anxiety or your dog being pre-genetically deposed to barking, like hounds. If you own a breed that is known to bark, then work on teaching your dog the “quiet” command (see below), provide plenty of outlets, and provide toys to keep them busy.

Anxiety-related barking, especially if it is a new behavior, may be the result of an underlying medical issue, so the first thing you should do is take your dog to the vet. If everything checks out medically, the second thing you need to do is determine when your dog barks, for how long your dog barks, and what is causing him to bark. If you dog barks when you are not home, ask your neighbors, drive or walk around the block then watch and listen for a while, or start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave for work. Hopefully you will be able to discover which of the following anxiety related problems is the cause of your dog’s barking.

Social Isolation / Attention Seeking

Your dog may be barking because he’s bored and lonely if:

Recommendations

Expand your dog’s world and increase his “people time” in the following ways:

Frustration/Learned

Your dog may be barking due to frustration or as a learned behavior if:

Recommendations

Fears and Phobias

Your dog’s barking may be a response to something he is afraid of if:

Recommendations

Separation Anxiety

Your dog may be barking due to separation anxiety if:

Recommendations

What not to do

We do not recommend the use of bark collars. Bark collars are specially designed collars that deliver an aversive whenever your dog barks. There are several different types of bark collars: citronella collars, aversive sound collars, and electric shock collars. However if your dog is barking due to anxiety, using any form of aversive will not solve the problem; rather it will make the anxiety worse.

We especially DO NOT recommend an electric shock collar. The shock is painful for your dog and can result in redirected aggression towards people or other pets that may be around the dog when shocked.

The other main drawback of bark collars is that they do not address the underlying cause of barking. You may be able to eliminate the barking itself, but symptom substitution may also occur, resulting in your dog digging, escaping, or becoming destructive or even aggressive.