Barking Dog? Something Needs to Change!

An outside dog that won’t stop barking is a pain to everyone. The poor guy is obviously not happy.  You aren’t happy.  And your neighbors definitely aren’t happy!  A dog that is barking is a sign that something needs to change!

Before you do anything else, try to figure out why your dog is barking. Many things could be the problem.

  • dog on chainIs you dog on a chain?  Then shame on you!  Keeping your dog chained up is a just asking for trouble!  Out of boredom, he will bark at almost anything that moves. He’ll often bark at anyone he sees, hoping to get attention–hoping someone will notice.  A dog that is chained up is more likely to become aggressive.  When a dog is kept chained alone in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years he can become a basket case!  Wouldn’t you?   Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory.  If they think there is a threat, they will respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A chained dog, unable to take flight, may feel forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who innocently wanders into his or her territory.  If you think that you are “protecting” you property by chaining a dog—think again!  Chaining creates aggression, not protectiveness. A protective dog is used to being around people and can sense when his family is being threatened. Dogs are naturally social beings. They thrive on getting to be with human beings and other animals.
    A dog learns to be protective by spending lots of time with people and by learning to know and love his human family.  Leaving a dog on a chain and ignoring him is how to raise an aggressive dog. Aggressive dogs can’t distinguish between a threat and a family friend, because they’re not used to people. Aggressive dogs will attack anyone; another dog, children who wander into the yard, the meter reader, the mailman—anyone!

If you really want to protect your property, keep your dog inside.  Statistics show that one of the best ways to keep intruders out of your house is to keep a dog in the house.  Intruders will think twice about entering a home with a dog on the other side of the door.

  • Is your dog being bothered by a neighbor or their children? If outside sources seem to be the problem, try removing your pet from the area and keeping him in another part of the yard or keep him inside during times where outside variables are causing a problem.
  • Is your dog in a fenced area with nothing better to do?  Dogs who are by themselves for long periods of time with nothing to do, will find something  to do with their pent-up energy. A dog who is alone all day is likely to take up barking as a hobby because there is nothing better to do. In no time at all, barking becomes an enjoyable habit. And for many dogs, once he starts barking, he tends to continue barking for the sheer fun of it.  The first step in obtaining peace and quiet is to realize that lots of barking is caused by the dog being lonely, bored, frustrated or frightened.
  • Is your dog out of food or water?  His only way to “talk” to you is to bark.  If you have failed to fill is water dish or haven’t fed him for the day, how else can he possibly tell you?
  • Is he outside with no shade or shelter from the elements?  Barking may be his way of complaining.  You would complain too if you were outside in the middle of August with no shade!

Once you have determined why your dog is barking, you can start working toward stopping his barking by spending time playing with, training and exercising your dog.

  • Obedience training is a great place to start!  By teaching your dog the basics of obedience, you are developing a dog that will be more fun to be around.  You can play with him without frustration.  You will be able to take him places and let him interact with other animals and people.  Your dog wants to please you.  By learning to do the basics of obedience, he will be getting positive rewards like treats, praise, scratches and hugs from you.  He will soon learn that by obeying your commands, he is making you happy and that will lead to him wanting to please you more often.
  • If your dog lives in the back yard most of the time, he probably needs “community training.” Take him on walks around the neighborhood, so he can investigate all the sounds and smells that he can’t see when he is in the yard. Take him to the pet store to help pick out a new toy.  Bring him into the house when you are home. He needs to feel that he is part of your family. Having a large yard is not equal to having a well exercised dog.
  • Dogs are social animals. They need friends and companionship. Take your dog to the same dog park daily or weekly and let him make doggy friends. Dogs romping around and playing together tire rapidly and will sleep happily while recovering from the good, hardy play session.
  • Provide your dog with fun things with which to occupy himself, such as special chew toys when you cannot be there.  There are a multitude of chew toys out there.  Get several and rotate them.  Your dog can get bored if he has the same toy day after day.  A favorite of my dogs is a bone filled with cheese.  That will occupy him for much of the day!  Chewing is a way of relieving anxiety.  It gives your dog something to do with those bad feelings he may be having.

Barking can be a problem, but it is a problem that can be alleviated if you take the time to figure out why it is happening and then take a few easy steps toward helping your dog work through the issue.  Your dog will be happier.  You will be happier, and your neighbors will definitely be happier you did!

Be a responsible pet owner!

Don’t get a pet unless you have the time and intend to be your pet’s forever home.  If you are unwilling to make your pet part of your family, get a stuffed toy instead!  When getting a pet, check with rescue organizations in your community and be sure to spay or neuter you pet.

Pets are an important part of our lives. Fido, Fifi and Fluffy are more than cute balls of fur.

They are living, breathing prescriptions for what often ails us.

Their joy and spirit encourages us, and their mere presence as silent,

understanding companions comforts us and chases the blues away.

Big or little, our pets run, walk, crawl, slither and fly into our hearts.

And in doing so, they improve our physical and mental well-being in ways

nothing else can.

… Knight Ridder News Service


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