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When Your Dog Barks Too Much

It’s annoying. It’s sometimes maddening. It can even be life threatening.Your dog’s bark may not be as bad as his bite, but dogs’ barking is a common reason that dogs are poisoned. The good news is that you can work with your dog to reduce his urge to bark.

Understand why dogs bark

Dogs bark to greet people. They bark to warn people about strangers, sounds, or movements, and to get attention. They bark when they want out, or in, or when they’re excited, bored, lonely, anxious, or afraid. They bark when they need to burn off energy.

Learn to recognize when and why your dog barks, and take steps to alleviate the emotions associated with undesirable barking. Let your dog spend time with other dogs and with people. A socialized dog is less likely to see other dogs and people as threats. Give your dog lots of mental stimulation. Provide him with plenty of exercise — after exercise, dogs tend to sleep more and bark less.

If your dog barks when you aren’t home, avoid reinforcing the idea that it’s a major event when you leave and return. Go out and come back quietly, and leave your dog toys to play with. Leave for short intervals when you have time, increasing the length of time that you’re away when the dog is accustomed to short absences. To reduce the sounds and sights that dogs bark at, you may want to keep your dog in a quieter part of the house or away from windows. A radio or TV left on for company helps some dogs feel less alone.

Train your dog to bark less

We can’t expect dogs not to bark at all, but we can teach them to control when they bark. Praise your dog when he’s quiet so that he understands that not barking has its rewards. If you teach your dog to bark when you ask him to, he’ll learn that there’s a time to bark and a time not to bark.

If your dog is barking to get attention, scolding him for barking reinforces the behavior. To these dogs, negative attention is better than none at all. Direct your dog to do something else when he barks at an inappropriate time. When your dog is barking because of loneliness or anxiety, don’t comfort him until he has been quiet for a few seconds. You want him to associate the attention with not barking.

A dog training class can help you and your dog learn to communicate with each other better, making training about barking easier for both of you.

Get an electronic dog calming device

A dog calming device is a humane and effective bark deterrent that quiets noisy dogs without inflicting harm or pain. most operate by playing soothing music which your dog can hear but you cannot. This melody will lure attention away from anxiety producing stimuli. This will reduce needless barking without painful shock, sprays, or sound. Many sonic calmers have a range of several hundred feet and the sound travels through fences and over walls. This means that it can on your neighbor’s dog as well.

One such calming device, the K9 Kalmer can be purchased at many better pet specialty stores such as Odor Destroyer.com

Use dog anti-bark collars

Two main types of collars help control your dog’s barking. Each collar uses batteries and either a spray or an electronic stimulant to tell the dog “no” when he barks.

Neither collar is intended to address dogs’ emotions. If your dog is afraid, help him overcome his fear or anxiety. If your dog is confused, a bark control collar won’t make him less confused. An anti-bark collar is most likely to be successful with dogs who just need to learn not to bark, and when it’s used with training methods.

A no-bark collar may teach your dog not to bark when he’s wearing the collar, but it also teaches him not to bark when his bark may be desirable, such as when a stranger is at the door. Only training can teach your dog selective barking.

Both types of collars respond to vibration. This means that the stimulant may be emitted when your dog is shaking himself, not just when he’s barking.

Citronella

anti-bark collars

When dogs wear citronella collars, the vibration of their barks releases citronella, a strong lemon-scented mist. Dogs learn to associate the sound and smell of the mist with barking, and most bark less as a result.

A 1996 study published in The Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association compared the effects of both types of collars. The owners of the dogs in the study felt that the citronella spray collar was “more effective and more humane” than the electronic shock collars. On the other hand, some dog owners see citronella collars as cruel because a dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s.

While this collar has a high rate of effectiveness, some dogs become accustomed to the collar. Simply putting and leaving the collar on the dog is less effective than using the collar as a training tool combined with regular training.

Anti-bark electronic shock collars

When the sensor on the collar detects both sound and vibration from the dog’s throat, an adjustable electronic stimulation is administered. The amount of stimulation is low at first, allowing the dog to stop barking before a stronger stimulation is emitted.

A dog should not be left alone wearing an anti-bark collar until he’s accustomed to how it works, and you know that he’ll stop barking after the first electronic stimulation.

Anti-bark shock collars are generally less popular and less effective than citronella anti-bark collars. Some dogs respond well to shock collars, though, and low settings are unpleasant but not painful.

Take your dog to doggie day care

Despite our best efforts, some dogs never learn to be content when they’re left alone all day. At a doggie day care, your dog can play with other dogs, get lots of exercise, and have human supervision. Your neighbors won’t complain about your dog barking during the day, and your dog will be happier.

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