Dogs bark. We all know this. So why does this seem to be a major behaviour problem these days? Perhaps it’s because dogs are living in smaller areas such as security estates and complexes. Perhaps people work longer hours and leave dogs alone for longer. Perhaps dogs don’t go on as many walks or don’t get as much opportunity to be social with new people and/or dogs. Perhaps we’ve become a less tolerant society? Whatever the reason, excessive barking can be distressing to both owners and dogs and should be addressed as soon as possible.
The first thing to do is to determine why your dog is barking. Fear? Boredom? The neighbour’s cat? There are specific protocols based on the underlying cause of the behaviour, but there is one common thread when it comes to the solutions: give the dog an alternative behaviour. This could be in the form of brain games, scatter feeding, chew toys, and/or restricting access to the area in which they usually bark.
TOP TIP: Anti-bark collars are never recommended because they do not address the root of the behaviour. These collars cause the dog to a) become depressed and shut down or b) express the underlying emotion with another undesirable behaviour such as chewing the furniture or aggression. If you are struggling with excessive barking, contact a certified trainer or behaviourist to give you a science-based approach to reducing barking while protecting your dog’s emotional well-being.