Published on Sunday, January 3, 2010 by admin

This is a most undesirable habit, annoying to both your family and neighbors. A barking dog is reacting to a stressful stimulus, and excessive barking can jeopardize your dog’s health. This habit can be one of the most difficult to retrain. In order to curb barking behaviors, it is important to determine when they occur and what initiates barking.

Dogs bark for various reasons: territoriality, to signal to other dogs, barrier frustration, fear, separation anxiety, inactivity, boredom, or paranoia. You’ll need to determine which is the cause of your dog’s barking and work from there to curb the habit. There are several devices you can buy for the purpose of teaching your dog not to bark; some use an electrical stimulus, a noise stimulus, or a citronella spray to discourage barking and are activated by barking. A big problem with these devices is that they cannot distinguish between acceptable (e.g. alarm bark) and unacceptable barking.

The best way to discourage barking behavior in your dog is to prevent the situation that causes your dog to bark in the first place.

Keep bored dogs active, retrain separation anxiety (this will be discussed), or eliminate that which causes fear and stress in your dog. Eliminate barrier frustration by not chaining your dog or leaving your dog in a fenced yard for extended periods of time. Don’t leave territorial dogs outside to disturb neighbors. Since some dogs bark at a fence if they believe the fence is theirs to protect, keep these dogs away from visual stimulus by preventing them seeing or hearing other people, animals, or objects on the other side of the fence. Consider crating your dog inside your house where your dog’s barking won’t disturb neighbors. Tying your dog is only acceptable if you are within eyeshot of your dog and a fence is not available. Many dogs strangle to death each year because they are left tied without supervision. Rottweilers are strong dogs and can break away when straining at the tether and barking in a protective manner. Without a barrier or some sort–a fence or hedge, for instance–many dogs cannot distinguish where their territory ends. Once loose, they can viciously defend what they believe to be their territory–small children can be mauled and killed by dogs. And focused on pursuing the perceived invader, your dog may run into traffic and be killed.

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