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Does your dog need to bark all the time?

Barking is natural for your dog; he or she uses it to communicate and, in ideal circumstances, barking is used as a warning or as a sign of fear. However, all too often barking goes from being a normal means of communication to being a nuisance. Dogs never seem to get hoarse from barking, and dedicated thieves can follow the opera for hours. Not only can barking become annoying for you, it can also be even more unpleasant for your neighbors. To stop your dog’s excessive barking, it is important to find out the reason for the behavior.

While a few words to let you know that a stranger is approaching the house is fine, a barking session that continues relentlessly is certainly not necessary. Dogs that bark like this also usually start as soon as they hear some strange noise or catch a glimpse of something moving outside.

Some dogs bark just for fun. Like people, dogs can get bored, and this is probably especially true with dogs that belong to working breeds. These dogs have been used over the centuries in various occupations, and if they are simply left sitting with nothing to do, they will bark to pass the time. Dogs that have been left off a chain are particularly prone to doing this.

Sometimes our dogs love us so much that they just can’t bear to walk away from them. They will bark when we leave, evidently in the hope that the barking will bring the owner back. This is called separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety will often be destructive around the house as well, breaking furniture and relieving themselves on the floor, bed, or sofa.

One of the most common mistakes owners make when trying to curb excessive barking is paying attention to it. This does not mean that you praise the dog or give it a treat when it barks, but even yelling at the dog gives it attention; Like children, dogs will receive negative attention if nothing else is available. One way to deal with a troublesome barker is to deny the attention they crave when they bark. However, staying quiet and unresponsive while the barking session is in progress is not enough; Pay positive attention to the dog when the barking stops. Spending more time playing with your dog or providing affection in another way can help curb the barking.
The best time to address barking problems is when the puppy first enters your home. Young puppies will often bark with enthusiasm, but again, paying attention to them when they are not barking is a good way to avoid future barking problems.

Obedience training for dogs of any age is another way to control or prevent barking. A dog undergoing obedience training not only learns a certain set of commands, but also comes to understand his place in the “pecking order” of the home. This is not a bad thing, as wild dogs of all kinds have an established social order that helps maintain the safety and order of the pack. Learning what is considered appropriate behavior will keep your home and neighborhood much more peaceful. While obedience training is most effective when started early, adult dogs also respond well to this training, especially when it places a lot of emphasis on positive reinforcement.
There has been a lot of controversy over the use of bark collars on dogs, and there are arguments in favor of both parties. Some dogs respond very quickly even to a throbbing in the throat, but anyone wearing these collars should realize that some dogs will be able to block the “stimulation” and will continue to bark. The dog can be harmed if the collar is worn too long, especially if there are no results.

A troublesome barker can be trained to stop serenading, but in all cases, it will take time, patience, and understanding. Always remember that your dog does not realize that he is being a pest, and finding out what is causing the behavior is the first step in stopping it.


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