Dogs bark for many different reasons. Figuring out the why behind your barking dog is the first step to treating the problem. Here’s a list to start with:
- Is your dog suffering from boredom?
- Does your dog have anxiety being alone?
- Is your dog fearful?
- Is your dog attention-seeking?
- Is your dog a ‘watchdog’?
1.) Boredom barking
Feed him with smart toys. Make sure he’s getting exercise and mental stimulation.
2.) Anxiety barking
See your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment plan.
Find more information in our fact sheet Separation anxiety – Preventing and reducing dog anxiety when alone (PDF).
3.) Fear barking
Teach your dog that the things he’s afraid of are fantastic and predict fantastic things. Choose a humane trainer to help you and your dog.
Did you know the BC SPCA has standards (PDF) for humane dog training? We can help you find a good dog trainer through our AnimalKind program.
4.) Attention-seeking barking
Many dogs bark to get attention or to make their guardian do something such as take them out or play with them.
To stop attention-seeking barking, stop rewarding him for it.
Don’t throw the ball, open the door or let him out of his crate if he is barking. These are all rewards to your dog.
He barks = ball goes away
He’s quiet = ball gets thrown
5.) Watchdog barking
Teach him to do something that isn’t compatible with barking. Teach him to get his toy so he can’t bark because he has his toy in his mouth.
Give him a time out
Teach him any time he barks more than a few times it results in him going in the penalty box.
- After he barks say “quiet”
- Next bark say “too bad” and immediately put him in another room
Eventually he’ll learn his barking causes him to be removed from the action.
Veterinary help for barking dogs
Deaf, geriatric and dogs suffering from separation anxiety may all bark excessively. Check with your veterinarian to see if there are any health reasons for the excessive barking.
Do not use any tools or techniques that cause physical or emotional distress, such as electronic shock collars. Learn why your dog is barking and then train him or provide enrichment. Barking is a natural dog behaviour.
BC SPCA Position Statement Animal Training
Barking – Preventing or reducing excessive dog barking (PDF)