The cycle of domesticating the dog and defining what “being a dog” really means began by humans thousands of years ago. A remarkable variety of dog breeds have been developed through careful selection and breeding. In different species, desirable traits were selected for which are of benefit to humans. Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics that easily become unacceptable when displayed too much. Barking is an example of a natural behavior that is promoted in guarding behaviour, but when the behavior is generated in abundance it becomes an problem. A new study into health benefits found that the sound of a constantly barking dog has been identified as the most distracting and stress-inducing noise to humans.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking is the normal mode of communication for a dog, as well as crying, howling, and groaning. Barking is distinguished by a series of sharp, brief sounds, which appear to differ slightly in tone or tone. The bark of a dog may mean territorial defense, dominance exertion or the expression of any need. It is usually “a form of communication caused by a state of enthusiasm.” Since it is a natural trait, barking is not considered a question of behaviour, unless it is generated in abundance.
Causes of Barking Problem
Issues barking have a number of roots. Genetics determines the propensity of a dog to bark. Many breeds belonging to the terrier family are prone to barking more often than breeds like Greyhounds or Basenjis. Nonetheless, typically repetitive barking can occur in any dog breed. The secret to addressing the excessive barking problem is identifying what external stimuli causes the behaviour. Improper confining may be a significant cause of barker issues.
- Improper confinement can involve leaving a dog alone in a locked room or in a dog crate (a device used to smash the house and make certain behavioral changes).
- Many inappropriate restrictions can involve minimal outdoor tethering, or even an enclosed yard without adequate protection from the elements. Such confinement can cause a dog to be irritated and cause excessive barking.
- Lack of exercise as a source of repetitive barking is closely related to excessive confinement. When no sufficient exercise is given to a dog, pent-up energy is released by barking.
Environmental noises can trigger barking, too. Such sounds include things like barking other dogs, the sound of moving vehicles, unfamiliar voices, thunder and electronic noises like telephone ringing. Noises at different times of the day can cause barking. During the day, a dog does not bark with accustomed sounds, but at night, by the smallest of noises, can be incited to a volley of barking, much to the neighbors ‘chagrin. Many causes of trouble barking can include a separation disorder, or a dog’s temperament: an over-aggressive animal can bark at the slightest threat. A strongly territorial dog can bark at any stranger entering your house, invited or uninvited.
Solutions to Excess Barking
Excess barking can be a significant behavioral problem which, if left unchecked, can mean ending the relationship with your dog or the dog itself. The following text provides information about how to handle barking issues with your dog as suggested by the veterinary profession.
The first step in addressing barking issues is to decide if your dog barks in response to insufficient shelter or improper containment. If this is the case, if outdoor shelter is insufficient the dog must be provided with a reasonable amount of room or equipped with a doghouse. This will also help to increase the amount of exercise your dog gets.
Whether the dog barks in response to noise from the area, or the barking is actually due to its nature, behavioral intervention techniques should be employed. Such strategies may include reconditioning with a verbal reprimand such as “No!” and correction of leash. Though, it should be remembered that you can never scream at your dog, as noisy noises will inspire your pet to bark more. Please bear in mind that the punishment should be administered as barking occurs, so that your dog can associate the inappropriate behavior with the punishment. Try always to praise your dog when the barking ceases.
Also Read: 5 basic commands to teach your dog
Indirect forms of interference can be implemented, too. These methods can range from spraying your dog with water while barking, to using noise-producing devices such as “Dog Trap” or “Barker Breaker,” which emit noisy or high-frequency barking sounds. Such devices can be operated by the user, or activated by barking from the dog. If case the dog is resistant to these behavioral changes, more extreme measures can be taken in the form of shock collars that are triggered by the bark.
The system is particularly successful when barking is performed in the absence of the owner. Nonetheless, shock collars are only recommended after further monitoring mechanisms have failed. A final solution is a vocal cordectomy (debarking) after all possible behavioral intervention strategies have been attempted, and particularly when the survival of the dog is in doubt. This surgical technique requires cutting the vocal cords in whole or in part.
The secret to solving the dog’s constant barking problem starts with an understanding of what triggers the behaviour. You have a better chance of selecting the most appropriate remedy (e.g., more exercise) or behavioral modification if you have identified a cause. It can be difficult to change such an instinctive and normal behaviour as barking, which can take much patience, effort which hard work. Nevertheless, solutions are possible, and worth the effort.