Barking among dogs is no different from talking among humans. Despite it being a form of communication, we can’t overlook the fact that some dogs bark excessively, especially when left alone. This kind of barking is perceived by many as irritating, disruptive and annoying. To curb it, you have to first understand what causes the dog to bark.
Generally, a dog will bark when trying to protect what they consider theirs/mark their territories, when startled and scared, when bored, when suffering from separation anxiety or, when greeting people/other animals. Based on these root causes, you can find executable ways to curb their barking. These include:
1) If the barking has to do with separation anxiety, the best way of tackling the problem is to teach the dog to adapt. To do this, imitate your usual departure routine and leave for a few seconds before coming back. Continue doing this at longer intervals and, if the dog doesn’t bark, reward her/him but if s/he does, don’t offer rewards. This kind of training will assure the dog that you’ll soon be back hence will teach her/him to remain patient and quiet.
2) Getting rid of the stimulus behind the dog’s barking is also an option. As such, if your dog tends to bark when they see something through the window or fence, the best solution would be to put up blinds or, bring them indoors rather than outdoors. Inhibiting the stimulus will as a result force them to find something else to focus on.
3) Keeping the dog preoccupied will also keep her/him quiet. For instance, you can leave him/her with some toys to play with or canine puzzles to solve. You may go further and leave some treats inside the puzzle such as Kong toy so that the dog can work towards getting the treats out.
4) Non-collar anti-barking devices like Dog Silencer Pro or, a face wrap can similarly be used. While the anti-barking device sends high pitched sounds that only dogs can hear hence deterring them from barking, a face wrap applies gentle pressure on the dog hence calming them.
5) Before leaving, take the dog out for a walk or a run. This is bound to tire the dog and well, a tired dog is a quiet dog. In case you have a busy schedule, you can have a dog walker come and take the dog out for a walk.
6) Leaving the TV or the radio on is also known to work wonders. This is because the dog identifies with these familiar sounds and whenever they are on, the feeling of being alone and lonely ceases to exist.
7) If you can afford it, it would help were you to enroll the dog in a day care. That way, s/he will have the company of others hence won’t feel the need to bark excessively.
In case you are unable to identify the cause behind the barking, and none of these solutions work, then, it’s time you consult with a vet. A vet can give you some medications to alleviate the behavior or, suggest a workable modification program.
Does your dog bark when left alone?