Dogs bark to communicate, both with other pets and with you, although it is true that some breeds, due to genetic causes, do so more than others. If your dog barks from time to time, you shouldn’t worry. Surely he does it to alert you to something that worries him. The problem arises if your dog barks at other dogs excessively or on a recurring basis. It is then when you must notice this behavior, and identify the possible causes to remedy and prevent a dog from barking excessively.
Among the most common reasons why a dog barks a lot are the following:
Stress: it develops when your dog considers that some of his basic needs are not covered (food, walk, play, or affection). In these cases, your dog uses barking as an escape route to express his frustration.
Loneliness: dogs are social animals, used to living together in a pack. If your dog spends excessive time alone, he may tend to bark to express his discomfort.
Socialization problems: dogs that have not been properly socialized when they were puppies, generate fear of certain stimuli in the environment that surrounds them (objects, noises, or people).
Enthusiasm: as with people, there are dogs that are more expressive or excitable than others. They are usually very active and get excited in the presence of loved ones or other dogs with whom they have an affinity.
“Guardian” attitude: it is typical of breeds accustomed to develop, due to their nature, vigilance behaviors. Barking, in this case, is a warning sign.
Fear: if your dog has suffered a traumatic experience, he may have internalized fear of certain situations or attitudes. This means that, if he feels threatened, he barks repeatedly to express his feeling of danger.
Relationship with other dogs: when dogs interact with each other, they tend to manifest diverse reactions, associated with attitudes that range from play to the establishment of hierarchies. It is important, in these cases, that you observe the origin of the excessive barking when it occurs and in what type of situations.
Whatever the reason, correcting a dog’s excessive barking requires perseverance and patience.
HOW TO PREVENT MY DOG FROM BARKING?
The guidelines we recommend below can help you minimize this behavior:
Try to make your dog feel calm and relaxed, both inside and outside the house. He uses caresses and prizes (snacks) so that he understands that he is safe in any space.
Don’t punish or scold him when he barks. Work on this behavior from positive reinforcement if you don’t want to increase their stress and feelings of frustration. It is also not convenient for you to pet him if he barks out of fear, because you can convey that he is acting correctly.
Provide him with toys that decrease his anxiety, and share experiences with him. Walking and playing sports together is an excellent therapy to release your anxiety and release all your energy.
When you notice that some element or situation causes fear, try to distract him with something that he likes a lot (for example with a snack) until he calms down.
Don’t force him to interact with other dogs or people if you don’t see him being receptive to it. Encouraging socialization and play with other dogs is essential for their well-being, but forcing them can lead to aggressive behaviors.
Finally, remember that animals can have internalized aspects that are not always easy to control. In the event that your dog does not respond to any of these guidelines, and his barking continues to be excessive, we recommend that you turn to a veterinarian who specializes in canine behavior (ethologist) so that he can help you find the best solution.