Expert Puppy Training

Barking Problems.


It is totally natural for dogs to bark, it is one of the ways they communicate. Dogs bark for lots of reasons including when they are frustrated, playful, bored, alarmed, seeking attention and excited. In fact our canine friends have different sounding barks for different things. Studies show that owners are really good at being able to recognise their dogs different barks. Can you tell by hearing your dog bark why he’s barking?
As dog owners we shouldn’t view barking as bad, in fact sometimes it is very useful. For example a dog which barks territorially alerts us when some one is at the door and can also act as a deterrent when we are out to would be intruders.
Although expecting our dog not to bark is unrealistic and would be unfair, controlling it is important. Problems can arise when our dogs barking becomes excessive and in fact dog barking is the second most complained about noise nuisance! Noisy dogs can lead to bad feeling between neighbours which often results with the local environmental health department becoming involved who can issue a noise abatement order with possible fines of up to £5k!
So what should you do if you have a problem barker when you are out?
There are a number of reasons why dogs bark when left alone. It can be simply a case of being bored or a more serious issue called separation anxiety where the dog is highly stressed
The first thing you need to do is establish why your dog is barking, identify any triggers and establish when and for how long it takes place. The easiest way to gain this information is to film your dog. I find many owners are surprised when they watch the film back and often their usually happy confident tail wagging pet exhibits real anxious behaviour. If your dog appears to be stressed then you need to seek specialist help from a Dog Behaviourist who will assess your dog and devise an individually tailored desensitisation programme to help. However, many dogs are not stressed they bark simply because they are bored and in this situation there are a number of positive things you can do to help:
Engage the help of neighbour’s by doing this they will be far more understanding and are likely to help you overcome the problem.
Make sure you exercise your dog before going out, tired dogs are far less likely to bark.
If you are out regularly for periods over three hours employ a dog walker to come and take your dog out.
Give your dog something to do. By keeping his brain occupied he will be less inclined to bark. There are some fantastic interactive toys which are designed to do this, most involve your dog having to work out how to extract food or treats . By using a selection you can rotate which ones you use. Bones and chews are also good for keeping them busy. I like to make ‘Goodie Tubes’ using Beef Pipes from Natural Instinct. I stuff these with food and treats.
Dogs which use a crate when owners are out are more likely to be settled and therefore less likely to bark. If you do decide to use a crate it is vital that you get your dog used to it correctly and don’t leave him for periods over 3 hours.

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Sue Williams

Sue has vast experience gained from working with both dogs and other animals over the last 20 years.

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