Dog Barking: Some Do's and Don'ts

Barking, in addition to whining, howling and growling, is a dog's natural means of communication. Barking is characterized by a series of short, sharp sounds, that tend to vary little in tone or pitch. A dog's bark can signify territorial protection, exertion of dominance, or expression of some need. Typically, barking is "a means of communication triggered by a state of excitement." Being a natural trait, barking is not considered a behavioural problem, until it is produced in excess.


Once you determine the cause of your dog's excessive barking, you can begin to control the behaviour. Below are the things to do as agreed by most pet owners and handlers alike regarding barking and resolving it. 


After getting your dog's attention, practice basic commands, like sit and down in order to shift her focus.

Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if possible.


Avoid punishments like shock collars. They are not only painful and unkind - many dogs will learn to test them and eventually work around them.


Consult your veterinarian and/or trainer if you continue to face barking issues despite your best efforts.


Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.


DO NOT let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason. You can hardly train her to stop barking by yelling at her across the yard. Plus, it is one of the fastest ways to turn neighbours into enemies and send an invitation to your local police.


Do not punish your dog for barking at certain sounds, like car doors slamming and kids playing in the street, but then encourage him to bark at other sounds, like people at the door. You must be consistent!


Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so there is not as much pent-up energy to burn by barking.


Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when she is barking for attention or out of anxiety - that would be rewarding the behaviour, thus encouraging it.


Never tie your dog’s muzzle closed with rope, cord, rubber bands or anything else. Doing this is dangerous, painful and inhumane.


Never use a muzzle or Husher to keep your dog quiet for long periods of time or when you’re not actively supervising him. Dogs can’t eat, drink or pant to cool themselves while wearing muzzles, so making your dog wear one for long periods of time would be inhumane.


Shouting at your dog to stop barking does not help. It may actually cause her to bark even more.


Train your dog to Be Quiet.

Try to get her attention with a clap or whistle. Once she is quiet, redirect her attention to something productive and rewarding - like a toy or treat. One more thing is to provide your dog with chewable playthings and other playthings that can keep him occupied. Many dogs bark merely for the reason that they are fed up. Give him something to keep him busy. A Kong stuffed with kibble is one inventive plaything you can make use of to keep your dog amused if used in the approved manner.


Unless a Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist or veterinary behaviourist advises you to do otherwise, never use punishment procedures if your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety. This could make him feel worse and, as a result, its barking might increase.


Love for dogs and being responsible are two different things. We need to have both. As responsible pet owners, we train our dogs to be well behaved in a loving and positive manner. It is very advisable that owners must have well behaved if not well trained dogs. Such dogs are the delight to the society. But of course just because they are well trained it doesn’t mean they are no longer playful.


It is always emphasized that patience with our dogs is the key. One must take time reading as much information as one can on the topic. Dog barking has a long list of reasons as to why it happens. Try to keep a keen eye as to how your dogs are behaving.