Do you struggle with your dog barking excessively? While barking is natural dog behaviour and one of their primary means of communication, some pups take barking to the extreme.
If you’re tired of your dog barking all the time, this article will help you figure out why your dog is barking and offer a few solutions to keep your dog calm.
Why is Your Dog Barking Excessively?
The first step to stopping your dog from barking constantly is to figure out the cause. It’s important to note that barking doesn’t have to be a sign of aggression. Dogs use barking to communicate, so you first must learn how to speak their language.
Here are a few common reasons that dogs bark excessively:
Anxiety and Stress
Many dogs will bark if something has scared them or if something in their environment is causing them stress. Many different triggers could cause anxiety in your dog, so it’s important to watch your dog’s body language and identify the source of their anxiety.
A scared dog will stiffen their body, fold its ears back, and tuck its tail while they’re barking. Other signs of anxiety, especially separation anxiety, are needy and clingy behaviours, like following you from room to room.
Common triggers of anxiety in dogs include:
- Thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises
- Being left alone
- People or dogs walking near their home (territorial barking)
- Car rides
- Changes to their environment
For a closer look at separation anxiety, please read Separation Anxiety: Tips for Pet Parents with Clingy Dogs.
Boredom or Frustration
Dogs need exercise and mental enrichment every day to burn off excess energy. Without proper stimulation, dogs will get restless and find other outlets for their energy, like barking.
Dogs will also bark out of frustration. If they want to be let outside or if they’re ready for playtime. They’re barking to let you know that there’s something they want.
These barks are often short, low-pitched sounds and are typically paired with straight tails and drawn back ears.
Like a boredom bark, your dog could be barking because they know it gets your attention. If your dog barks for attention and you respond in any way, even to say “quiet,” you reinforce the behaviour in your pup’s mind.
The more you respond, the more they bark because you’re giving them the thing that they want: attention. Dogs might also use this bark if they want a specific toy or if they think it’s time for dinner.
Excitement and Play Barking
Barking is a common way for dogs to greet other dogs or people, and it’s one way that your dog can let you know they’re excited to see you. Yapping is common in packs of dogs to communicate excitement to each other.
These barks are typically paired with a happy, wagging tail and perked-up ears. These barks also normally accompany jumping, which is another common way for dogs to greet.
While these behaviours aren’t necessarily negative, they are poor manners, especially when the company comes over, so it’s natural to want to train these behaviours away.
5 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Yapping
The method you use to stop your dog from barking will depend on what’s causing your dog to bark in the first place.
Once you’ve figured out your dog’s triggers, here are a few ways to stop the barking.
1. Provide Sufficient Exercise
If your dog is barking out of frustration or boredom, increasing the amount of exercise they get every day can quickly solve your barking issue.
While adding a longer or additional walk to your dog’s routine may be the answer, remember that exercise doesn’t always have to be physical. In fact, 10-15 minutes of mental exercise can also help tire your dog.
Fun ways to add mental exercise to your dog’s day include:
- Puzzle toys and interactive feeders
- Snuffle mats
- Trick training
- Scent work like “find it” or hide-and-seek
2. Desensitize Your Dog to the Trigger
If your dog is barking as a reaction to seeing or hearing something, the best way to stop it is to slowly desensitise them to the trigger. This can be a long process, but working with your dog to improve their quality of life is important.
If possible, start with your trigger at a distance far enough from your dog that they won’t bark. When your dog is relaxed and not barking, this is known as being “under the threshold.” As the trigger comes close, your dog’s stress level will inch closer and closer to its threshold.
This training aims to reward your dog with high-value treats as you get closer to the trigger without ever putting your dog over the threshold. The more positive interactions that they can “bank” in the presence of their trigger, the less they will bark the next time they encounter their trigger.
3. Teach “Place” Training
Another great way to quiet the barking is to teach your dog an incompatible behaviour. Many people choose “place” for this training, but you can choose any behaviour you like.
When your dog starts to bark, you’ll give them a command to do something else, like go to their designated place in this example. Your dog’s focus will be forced to shift from barking to complying with your command.
4. Ignore the Barking
If your dog is barking for attention or food, the best thing you can do is ignore them. Your dog will associate any response from you as a sign that their barking works.
Don’t look at or acknowledge your dog when they bark. That can be tough, especially if they’re barking in the middle of a work call or when you have some company, but it’s essential to be consistent.
When they stop barking, reward their quiet behaviour as quickly as possible.
5. Dietary Hemp Seed Oil
If you have an anxious or stressed dog, hemp seed oil could help naturally manage your dog’s stress responses. Hemp seed oil like BUDDYPET Marley can help regulate various functions such as sleep, mood and pain, and many owners report that it helps reduce stress and anxiety symptoms in their pets.
With daily supplementation of hemp seed oil mixed with their food or placed on their tongue, you can help regulate your dog’s response to stress in conjunction with the above techniques to reduce barking and help your dog stay calm.
For more information on the health benefits of hemp seed oil, please read Hemp Seed Oil Benefits.
Another great product derived from hemp is hemp CBD oil. Extracted from the leaves and flowers of the plant, hemp CBD oil can be very helpful in managing the symptoms of severe anxiety and PTSD symptoms. More on CBD in our Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil.
Support Your Dog’s Health and Happiness with Natural Supplements
At BUDDYPET, we bring the powerful healing benefits of hemp to your four-legged friend.
Hemp seed is rich in fatty acids and protein and an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals that can help ease anxiety and support your dog’s overall health.
Shop our selection of 100% Australian grown hemp products to promote a healthier, happier life for your dog today.