First you need to work out why your pooches are barking. Here are some reasons for excessive barking:
Lack of exercise. Insufficient activity is a very common reason for excessive barking. Again, regardless of the size of your property, your dog still needs to be walked for a minimum of 20min, every day. It’s about providing a variety of ongoing stimulation so that your dog doesn’t get bored.
Lack of stimulation. When owners are away at work for extended periods of time and the dog is left without company, it just gets plain old bored. When they’re bored they bark, and when they bark, your neighbours will complain or even worse, may hurt your dog.
Excitability. Dogs love to bark when they play and often owners (in their own excitement) love to make their dogs bark. Out of respect for your neighbours, it’s prudent to limit this as much as possible. You need to be consistent. Your dog won’t understand if you encourage barking one day and then berate them the next. Also, some dogs are more excitable than others – a falling leaf may be enough to set them off.
Attention. Dogs can be like children; if they feel you haven’t paid them enough attention (perhaps you have but they just like a lot of it) they will become noisy until you attend to them. Regular interaction is what they need - otherwise they’ll demand it from you by barking.
Separation anxiety. This is more common than owners would imagine and this condition is normally stress related. We look at the separation anxiety first and then tackle establishing new habits around how to deal with stress.
Protecting territory. Dogs that are left outside may feel it’s their responsibility to protect their (and by extension, your) property.
Positive reinforcement. This relates to dogs that bark at passers by – postmen, joggers, cyclists etc. In this instance, the dog inevitably has their barking reinforced. See jogger, bark, jogger runs away. And all the while the dog is thinking, “Yeah, I showed him! Bark, look a little scary and the jogger will go away”.
One thing that is totally counter productive, is shouting. Even just saying NO is enough to make the dog believe that you’re actually joining in. Using sound to combat sound works by far better. This is a well established approached that is highly effective.
Another counter productive approach (which I also find rather inhumane) is punishing your dog for barking. It’s just trying to communicate; it feels it needs to communicate. Excessive barking is the owner’s problem, not the dog’s problem. Punishing a dog, whether it is physical punishment or isolation, will only make your poor dog fear you. In the end it will destroy the loving bond that you are trying to create with your dog.
I find using a sound stimulus works best for barking. That sound stimulus can then be used by your neighbours and soon you will find the barking will diminish. One session with me is all it takes to sort this problem out if the above does not help. Call me on 0798837566 if you need more help. Good Luck!
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